credit: Stephen Yang


Shneaqua “Cocopuff” Purvis, first joined the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center as a founding member of the S.O.S. Bed-Stuy team. Having lived in Bed-Stuy for her entire life, Coco was well prepared to be a credible messenger about issues of gun violence in her community.

Coco emphasized the excitement of joining S.O.S. from the very beginning. She shared, “An organization just starting and you’re one of those starting five. That was interesting, but you know it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because, you know, it not only showed organization, it also showed family. And we all…it showed team, and it showed me that not only am I compassionate about what happens in my neighborhood, I got a team of people that’s behind me, that feel the same way. So that was incredible, I’m not going to lie to you, that was like a great thing.”

Since the founding of S.O.S. Bed-Stuy, Coco has noticed significant changes in her community. She noted the ways that conflicts have been resolved without gun violence. Community members, through their partnership with S.O.S., “…come to us saying we ain’t gonna shoot nobody, because we know y’all here…And then, the statistics alone will let you know that it’s going down. At certain holidays, at certain functions, that you would normally hear someone getting shot, you don’t hear that no more, getting killed, you don’t hear that no more.” From the efforts of the S.O.S. Bed-Stuy team and the hard work of the community, Bed-Stuy is safer for all.

Over the course of November, we’ll be using this space to highlight the stories of the Crown Heights Mediation Center staff, interns, volunteers, participants, and community members. If you’d like to share your story, please email or reach out to us on any of our social media platforms. If these stories inspire you to support our work, please visit our website,, to join us.