SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCGRASSROOTS SOLUTIONS TO YOUTH CRIME
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:09 p.m., in room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Henry J. Hyde, Bill McCollum, Howard Coble, Lamar Smith, Charles T. Canady, Bob Inglis, Bob Goodlatte, Ed Bryant, Bob Barr, William L. Jenkins, Asa Hutchinson, Edward A. Pease, John Conyers, Jr., Robert C. Scott, Zoe Lofgren, and Sheila Jackson Lee.
Also present: Rick Filkins, counsel; Patricia Katyoka, staff assistant; Kenneth Prater, clerk; and Melanie Sloan, minority counsel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HYDE
Mr. HYDE. The committee will come to order. Good afternoon, and welcome to what promises to be a very interesting and lively discussion of one of the most serious problems facing our Nation today, the scourge of youth crime and violence. It is a plague that hits the inner cities of America the hardest and part of a larger crisis that threatens to create a permanent underclass in our Nation. Many social commentators have thrown their hands up in despair declaring the problem unsolvable. But we only need to look around to see there are wonderful people making a difference here in Washington and across America.
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Today we will hear of a number of inner-city success stories from the people who are fighting block by block, soul by soul, to save the young people of America. These men and women epitomize what last week's volunteer summit in Philadelphia was all about. All across the Nation, idealistic and hard-working citizens are banding together to take back their streets from gangs and drugs and despair. They are negotiating cease-fires between street gangs. They are painting over graffiti and restoring abandoned buildings. They are offering disadvantaged young people hope that they can lead meaningful lives.
These nonprofit groups, like the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise based in Washington, DC, are succeeding largely on their own with private donations and hard work. They are not making any money. They accept public funds when they are offered, which is all too seldom, but their success is premised on the conviction that America's inner cities will be saved only by the people who live there, and they will be saved only by emphasizing the virtues of personal responsibility and self-reliance.
We will hear today from men like Robert Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC. I might add it is very important to hear firsthand the influence of a sense of the presence of God and religious influence that has moved these people from total despair to a position of hope. And that, unfortunately, runs into the separation of church and state, and that means the private organizations can do so much more, really, than we let our public and government institutions do. But more of that later.
Since 1981, Mr. Woodson has acted as a catalyst to bring people to attack the inner city's most pressing problems, gang violence, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and fatherless children. One of his most remarkable successes occurred earlier this year just blocks from the Capitol, where Mr. Woodson helped broker a truce between warring gangs that had turned the Benning Terrace neighborhood into a combat zone. It all started when Mr. Woodson was approached by another grassroots organization, the Alliance for Concerned Men, that asked for his help in ending the gang violence that had so devastated their neighborhood. This was no easy task.
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At the start of the negotiations--they were held in Mr. Woodson's sparsely furnished offices near Dupont Circle--gang members so distressed one another they wore bulletproof vests and carried cell phones to call for reinforcements in case of an ambush, but by the end the warring parties all laid down their weapons and set off together to improve their neighborhood. Together they now remove graffiti, clear trash from streets and plan for a better future. The peace has held now for 3 1/2 months, and it has allowed parents to return to the streets and children to return to the playgrounds.
The Benning Terrace truce showcases the elements that have made Mr. Woodson a local hero. Faced with a seemingly intractable problem, he stepped in, tapped a grassroots group that understood the problem, and helped the young men recognize their mutual interests. Most important, he inspired these young men to take responsibility for their communities and for themselves.
The committee will hear the details of the Benning Terrace breakthrough from the key players, including the Alliance for Concerned Men and several former gang members.
Mr. Woodson's latest project is Hands Across D.C., an umbrella group of eight local grassroots organizations dedicated to fighting urban ills. Its mission is to pool ideas and resources while Mr. Woodson helps find private resources to finance their efforts. If it works, he plans to take it nationwide.
The high-energy grassroots example set by Bob Woodson is not confined to Washington, DC. The phenomenon is spreading across the country, with prominent examples in Los Angeles, Hartford, San Antonio, Dallas, and New York. What unites these groups is an emphasis on homegrown solutions to local problems. As Mr. Woodson likes to say, the people who do the most good share the same zip code as the people who need the help.
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This does not mean the Government can't play a crucial role in helping local nonprofit groups who are trying to rescue teens. The exact numbers are unclear, but the best available statistics show that the Federal Government spends up to $4 million a year to deal with delinquent children. Not all of this money is available to groups like those that will appear today before the committee. Some groups have received some Federal funding, but they all rely primarily on private donations to survive. Most of them say they could use more money, public or private.
The committee should use this hearing to educate itself on some of the extraordinary efforts being made by private citizens across America to confront some of this country's most intractable social ills. It may also want to consider the role of the Federal Government in supporting these remarkable individuals.
I now ask our ranking member, Congressman John Conyers of Detroit, for an opening statement and announce that there is a vote for an open rule now pending on the flood bill. So do you suggest, John, we adjourn for that vote, or do you want to proceed?
Mr. CONYERS. I would rather vote.
Mr. HYDE. All right. We will stand in recess for a few moments while Mr. Conyers and I dash over to the floor and vote and come back.
Mr. HYDE. The committee will come to order.
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The Chair wants to announce that the microphones, at least up here on the top row, are live because of the television feed, so just a word to the wise.
It is my pleasure to inquire of Congressman John Conyers, the ranking Democrat, if he has an opening statement.
Mr. CONYERS. Yes, sir, I do.
Thank you, Chairman Hyde, and good afternoon to our distinguished witnesses, and I welcome you all here joining Henry Hyde, chairman of this committee, whose concern about the subject matter has been very similar to mine.
You should know, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Woodson's activities go way back beyond 1981. He has been working in this area for quite a while. I was with him in Philadelphia with Congressman Chaka Fattah's father and mother, back in, I guess it was the 1970's, working on the innovative projects in terms of how to rebuild a community and how to turn despair into hope. And so it is, I think, fortuitous that now a Member of Congress, Mr. Fattah now sits at the witness table in the Judiciary Committee along with Bob Woodson.
We are here because the problems of juvenile justice and juvenile crime have been around for a long time. We want to commend everyone who is participating in an examination anew of this issue. You sometimes have to turn complex issues over and over again. I am not where I was when Bob Woodson and I first met, and he is not where he was, and Chaka Fattah is not where he was.
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So we look at this problem as human beings of reasonable intelligence. We take into recognition what we see happening in our communities, what we see happening to our young people, and some not so young people, and we think about what we can do about it.
So this hearing becomes very important, because this is the committee that the laws on juveniles emanate from. We make the Federal laws on juvenile justice right here in this room. So we want to invite everybody that can to join us whenever this subject comes up to give us your ideas, not just at this hearing, but around the year. It is important because there is a lot of rethinking going on in this area, and I think that it is not to go unnoticed or unremarked that the juvenile justice bill for 1997 comes up today and tomorrow, right here in the House of Representatives. And if this was timed that way, Mr. Chairman, I commend you for bringing these events in sequence.
We are going to be talking on the floor this evening and tomorrow about the same subject that you are talking about today. So it would behoove those of us who are going to be talking on the subject, to listen to you before we go on the floor and talk. Not everybody is going to follow that advice, but those who will, I think, will be instructed.
Likewise, it behooves all of you who are going to talk to us this afternoon to listen to what we are saying on the floor, because you have got to get the feedback, and we have got to figure this thing out together.
There are certain longstanding issues with which we have wrestled. There are some new issues that are now up for discussion and resolution. But just remember this: We have a situation now where nationally crime is going down statistically, and I don't want to dismiss that out of hand. If you know in your neighborhood you better be in when it is dark, the fact that national statistics show that crime is going down doesn't mean a thing. It ain't going down in your neighborhood, and that is the only place you come home to every night. Drug use is going down, but not with kids it isn't. It is going up.
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So what do we have here? There are many new plans afoot to incarcerate youngsters with adults. Yes, that is correct, incarcerate youngsters with adults. Now, it is true, we have been there before, but we may be going back.
There is a considerable amount of money in this legislation. This may be the first hearing we have had in Judiciary that didn't have any money or judicial appointments connected to it. I don't remember coming to a hearing where there wasn't somewhere in there let's spend several hundred million dollars for something or other. What is wrong here, you guys don't want anything? Nothing; not a red dime? I mean, it is your money that we are passing out here. We haven't been passing it out too well. We are $5.3 trillion short. We passed out more than we had, and we sure didn't send it to you. And so if anybody here happens to get the notion that maybe some of the Government's budget could go to some purpose, I wouldn't feel offended if somebody made that suggestion, because the money is going to go somewhere anyway. I mean, if you don't want it, it is cool, because there are a whole lot of people who do.
So here we are, about to begin the proceedings, and I am glad to see Mr. Gilmore, Mr. Woodson and Congressman Fattah.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. HYDE. I would beg the cooperation from the committee that we confine opening statements to myself and Mr. Conyers. If you have an opening statement, it will be made a part of the record, but we have an enormous panel. We have all sorts of people. Mr. Scott is looking at me plaintively. If you could hold it to a couple of minutes, I don't want to foreclose anybody, but I want to accommodate our panel.
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Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate the opportunity to just say a word. I won't abuse the opportunity. We are going to see today programs that can do a lot with very little. Our juvenile justice bill I think has been, as we have debated before--lots of people lock juveniles up with adults in increasing numbers, but if we invest in the programs we are going to hear about today, we could make a lot more progress toward reducing juvenile crime. I only wish we had had this hearing before we reported the juvenile justice bill, and hopefully we can accommodate some of what we will hear today in our votes this afternoon and tomorrow.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. I thank the gentleman.
Does Mr. Smith have an opening statement or wish to say something?
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, I do not have a formal opening statement. I will simply note in 15 seconds or less that the writers of the book we have on our desks, Outcry Barrio, are from San Antonio, as am I, and I would like to thank the chairman for inviting Rev. Juan Rivera, who is with the Victory Fellowship in San Antonio, as a witness on the last panel today. I appreciate that very much.
I yield back.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much. Does the gentlelady from California have an opening statement?
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Ms. LOFGREN. I would very briefly say that I am eager to hear as much of these panels as I can. As with Mr. Scott, I wish that we had had a chance to do this before the McCollum bill was reported out. And I am pretty sure what we are going to hear from this panel has to do with efforts to invest in young people and give them a future. The bill which we will be voting on likely tonight or tomorrow would spend $1.5 billion to try 13- and 14-year-olds as adults, but not one penny for prevention, and I think that is a terrible shame.
Mr. HYDE. I thank the gentlelady.
The gentleman from Florida, the gentleman from South Carolina, the gentleman from Tennessee, the gentleman from Tennessee, the gentleman from Arkansas, the gentleman from Indiana. You have certainly set the right tone.
And now, the gentleman from Massachusetts.
Mr. DELAHUNT. The pressure is on me; is that right?
Mr. HYDE. That is correct.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I will pass, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. My undying gratitude to all of you.
We begin our testimony with our good friend and colleague Chaka Fattah, who represents the Second District of Pennsylvania. He is in a unique position to tell the committee about the gang intervention and prevention work of Philadelphia's House of Umoja, which was founded by his mother Sister Falaka Fattah. The House of Umoja is an exemplary program that has inspired the work of many grassroots efforts nationwide to promote positive youth alternatives.
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Congressman, I am going to ask that you do your best to contain your oral presentation to 5 minutes. Your written testimony will be inserted in the record in its entirety. Congressman Fattah.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHAKA FATTAH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. FATTAH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I do take note of the obedience of the members of your committee when you requested no opening statement. Maybe you could share that with the other Members in the House.
Mr. HYDE. We restrict their bathroom privileges.
Mr. FATTAH. Yes. I never noticed so many of my colleagues being silent when they had an opportunity to speak.
Let me thank you and the Ranking Member for the opportunity to appear before the Judiciary Committee. I would take note that you have been at this for a while, and I would tell people in the audience that decades ago I sat in this auditorium at a hearing quite similar to this in which you and Congressman Conyers and my good friend Bob Woodson were involved in similar dialogues at that time. So for those in the audience, there is not that much difference, just a little bit of time, and they could be sitting in the position I am in now.
Let me try to be as brief as possible. The program that is run by my family is one that has been recognized nationally by Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton; has received numerous awards. It is not unique, however; that is to say it is essentially, at its core, people who are committed to trying to improve the life chances of young people, to intervene positively in their lives, and to help them overcome, in many instances, obstacles that would be unimaginable for Members of Congress to even be able to comprehend in their day-to-day lives.
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We are, as has been noted, going to be dealing with the juvenile justice bill later on today on the floor. It is more than ironic that we would have this hearing today because that bill moves in the direction of more and more harsh punishment, but no effort at prevention. When I think all of the evidence, it really is to the contrary. That is to say, if our Nation would want to do something to decrease the amount of juvenile antisocial behavior, what we need to do is to have more efforts at prevention.
The House of Umoja in its facilities in Philadelphia has had thousands of young people and has the lowest recidivism rate that you could imagine in terms of young people being reincarcerated. It came into existence at a time when Philadelphia was experiencing a significant gang problem, but it got its first real leg up when the State, following other States, Massachusetts in particular, decided to move juveniles out of adult facilities and to reenter them into the community, and the House of Umoja was used as a facility, for lack of a better term, a halfway transition point for community reentry.
But I don't want to dwell too much on my own family's experience, because again, I don't think it is unique. I have traveled this country and seen examples throughout where people, in almost any set of circumstances concerned about young people, can have a positive effect.
I think we need to think a little bit more about what we are doing when we are willing to spend two and three and four times as much to incarcerate a kid as to educate. I think as a society, when we know that the sooner a young person enters the juvenile justice system, the longer they are going to stay in it, the more violent their crimes are going to become. In essence these are training grounds for young people to go off on a career path that would have this committee's attention for a longer period in their lives. The idea that we would move to incarcerate more juveniles with adults flies in the face of any evidence that I am aware of that that is a policy that is worth pursuing.
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I do want to state that Bob Woodson, Robert Woodson, and I want to thank him publicly for all of his help to assist neighborhood organizations, like the one run by my family and others around the country, to be able to think their way through some of the critical policy decisions that have to be made, especially as these organizations think about engaging in broader partnerships with the public or private sector. Many of these community-based organizations at times lack the sophistication, even though they have the sincerity, to be able to engage in these transactions that require them to grow up a lot sooner in terms of their administrative capacities and the like. So I want to thank Bob Woodson for his assistance in that regard.
I want to thank the committee for its interest. I do want to mention that I appreciate the work of my colleagues, Congressman Scott and Congresswoman Lofgren, on their substitute that would be considered, I hope, today on this juvenile justice bill, and I do want to thank the chairman and the ranking member, because again, I am aware personally, having seen you at this for a very long time, that this really is a search for answers.
And it is not that we won't spend effort and resources on juveniles who go astray. The problem is seemingly that we won't use those resources in a way that will help those young people not get off the main road in life. We only want to intervene seemingly as a society once they have done the damage to themselves and to others, and we should think maybe a little more clearly about how we could get on the front end of that approach.
I want to thank the chairman. I note the red light and follow the example of my colleagues, and want to close within the time allotted. Thank you.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Congressman.
We are delighted next to have with us Robert L. Woodson, Sr., of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a nonprofit self-help search and demonstration organization founded 16 years ago to empower low-income Americans. Mr. Woodson's organization has played a major role in providing technical support to many of the youth intervention organizations we will hear from today, including the Alliance of Concerned Men here in Washington.
Mr. Woodson's distinguished career in this field also included directing the youth crime component of the American Enterprise Institute's mediating structures project that resulted in publication of ''A Summons to Life: Mediating Structures and the Prevention of Youth Crime and Youth and Urban Policy.'' He formerly served as director of the National Urban League's Administration of Justice Division.
David Gilmore is the court-appointed receiver for the District of Columbia Housing Authority, which has been designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as one of the most troubled housing authorities in the Nation. Mr. Gilmore is a veteran of housing administration, having served in leadership positions in San Francisco, Boston, and other cities prior to receiving his present appointment. During his first year as court receiver, he has already earned a reputation for strong commitment to managerial reform that is combined with strong outreach to community organizations addressing crime, and the innovative housing opportunities.
Gentlemen, I ask you to try to contain your oral presentations to 5 minutes. Your written testimony will be inserted in the record in its entirety.
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STATEMENT OF ROBERT L. WOODSON, SR., PRESIDENT, NATIONAL CENTER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD ENTERPRISE
Mr. WOODSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to just say that all of what I know about intervention in the lives of young people I learned at the feet of Sister Falaka Fattah, and my book, ''A Summons to Life,'' is really a chronicle of her experience and the experience of the House of Umoja. Gang deaths, which were of epidemic proportions, were reduced in Philadelphia from about 48 a year down to 2 because of the dedication of Congressman Fattah's parents. And I think Chaka Fattah is a reflection of the kind of values of Sister Fattah.
But I want to correct the record. I didn't reduce the gang violence as a consequence of writing that book, just as I didn't bring about the peace of Washington as a result of assisting the Alliance of Concerned Men. Ninety-five percent of the real work in bringing about peace in the Benning Terrace area should be given to the Alliance of Concerned Men and the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace. I really provided a facility, I merely provided guidance and assistance, and I think that is most important for us to emphasize. They did the work, they took the risk, and therefore they deserve the credit and the reward. And we played a minor role.
So with that, I would just like to say that often we have to understand how do the conditions get created of a Benning Terrace, and I think public policy played a role. It is not solely responsible. We must understand that in Washington, DC, for instance, back in 1965, Southwest Washington and Maine Avenue was the subject of urban renewal. We moved thousands of residents on Alabama Avenue, and with public money we built a boat marina. We also built the parking facilities, and we gave generous subsidies to all the businesses along Maine Avenue. So for the past 30 years, they paid less than $100,000 collectively to the city, with a stipulation that in 1995 they could purchase all those properties for the 1965 price, while providing no support for residents who were placed in public housing on Alabama Avenue, and thus concentrated, with no parking facilities, no business, no infrastructure, no jobs.
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And so, it has created a breeding ground for the kind of problems that we have today. It is the same in the Columbia Heights area where after the riots of Dr. King, 4,000 homes, 270 businesses, were replaced by 3,500 units of assisted housing. So we have to understand that public policy contributed to injury with the helping hand.
But the remedy to these problems cannot be found by continuing to invest in incarceration and increased police activity. Nor will remedies be found in prevention, if you define prevention as giving more money to social workers, psychologists and people who are outside of the community who respond only to the agendas of the funding sources. The real remedies can be found by investing in these indigenous healing agents like the Alliance of Concerned Men and the other presenters that you will see here today.
What distinguishes these indigenous healing agents from conventional providers of service to the poor? Well, for one thing, they didn't wait for a grant application to start their work. The Alliance of Concerned Men started 6 years ago using their own money and their own time, often with tremendous sacrifice to their families. They build bridges to the men in prison, helping them to understand because they are an inmate doesn't mean they cease being a father.
So it is the people that have already made the investment themselves that are the ones that earn the trust and confidence of the young people, and that is why they are able to go into those neighborhoods in times of trouble and persuade these young people that they are sincere. That is why these young people have the confidence to get in their vans and come to my office and listen to the guidance of the alliance, because they had the trust and the confidence.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And what also was important is it is not enough to tell young people what they should cease doing, but you should give them an alternative. And when guns are removed from people's hands, they should be replaced with hammers and paintbrushes and computers, and young people should be put to work rebuilding their neighborhoods so they have a sense of ownership. And that is what we have not only at Benning Terrace, but in Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, all over this Nation, and you will hear from some of these healing agents. The very qualities that makes them effective in healing their neighborhoods are the same qualities that renders them invisible to those outside, because they don't seek the public attention. They are not chasing grants, they are not challenging institutions. Instead, they are diverting all their energies to solving problems. And also they are innovative.
One quick example from Philadelphia. In 1983, Philadelphia was plagued by attacks that the press labeled ''Wolf Pack Attacks.'' Increased police patrols didn't stop them. Civic centers closed down. Movies closed down. The whole community was paralyzed. We increased expenditures on police to no avail. We increased expenditures on conventional social services to no avail.
It was only when four young men came to the House of Umoja and suggested a unique approach did peace prevail. They went to the young men in prison, the house of corrections. They were called ''old heads,'' OG's, and 125 signed up on the Crime Prevention Task Force and said, give us the names; get the names of these young brothers on our corners and bring them to us and let us have the opportunity to counsel them.
So we raised some money and brought these about 300 young people to the house of corrections where the older inmates had an opportunity to counsel these young men, and the Wolf Pack attacks stopped immediately in Philadelphia. And yet when we tried to say to the public officials that these young men have demonstrated that they can dramatically change a situation that others couldn't, we should invest with them, they received a lot of plaques, a lot of press, but no money. They wanted support to sustain their efforts in other areas, but instead, we went back to supporting the conventional approaches that failed.
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And I hope, Mr. Chairman, and members of this committee, that perhaps this hearing at this time will convince you and the public that we should redirect our energies and support to the groups that have demonstrated that they have effective remedies to the problems, and we should, as Congressman Conyers said, seek their counsel when we are drafting legislation about how best to control and prevent youth crime, and the National Center is blessed to have a modest role in assisting in this process. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Woodson.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Woodson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ROBERT L. WOODSON, SR., PRESIDENT, NATIONAL CENTER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD ENTERPRISE
At a time when the homicide rates for children under fourteen years old have doubled in a seven-year period, it is clear that one of the most critical problems facing the nation is youth come and violence. The individuals testifying before you today have one important message: Solutions exist. In virtually every region of the country, neighborhood healers, working with meager resources, have committed themselves to reaching the lives of young people, awakening in them vision and values, and, ultimately, changing their descries as well as the futures of their families, neighborhoods, and communities.
As legislators, you should be aware that, to some extent, failed and misdirected public policy has contributed to the rise of crime and hopelessness among our nation's youth. The crime that plagued neighborhoods such as Benning Terrace did not rise out of the blue. Regardless of intention, throughout the past three decades, urban policy has created breeding grounds for violence by contributing to the dissolution of families, communities, and the values they generate.
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In Washington, D.C., for example, three waves of catastrophic urban planning contributed to a rise of social dysfunction:
1. Urban renewal policies that did not place a value on community cohesiveness;
2. Freeway construction that displaced the residents of longstanding neighborhoods; and
3. A misguided response to the destruction of the riots that followed the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington was the site of the first urban renewal project in the country, titled ''UR 1.'' Part of this project focused on the waterfront district along Maine Avenue. Residents of that area were summarily moved out to Southeast DC along Alabama Avenue. To attract businesses to the area, a considerable amount of public investment was made. A boat marina and expanded public parking were constructed with public dollars. Many families were uprooted with the promise that they would be resettled in renewal areas. Restaurant owners leased all those properties at a combined cost of only $100,000. When those leases terminated after thirty years in 1995, the restaurants had the option to purchase the properties at their 1962 estimated value. No such generosity was shown to the new residents of Southeast Washington. No businesses, no commercial investment, no parking lots were located in their vicinity. Only public housing.
Because federal law dictates that no real estate taxes can be charged for public housing, cities have either located public housing developments in the least valuable kind on their fringes, such as DC's Kenilworth, or they have piled the units on top of each other in developments such as Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes. This strategy created pockets of poverty with no opportunity. This was the environment that the kids of ''Simple City'' were born into in Southeast DC.
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In another area of the city, Columbia Heights, the 1968 riots destroyed 4,000 houses and 270 businesses. Some 3,500 units of assisted housing were built in their place, again with no businesses, stores or job opportunities. These complexes were owned by absentee landlords who lived as far away as North Carolina and California. The government has paid $20 million in subsidies for these properties, yet not one dime circulates in the community or is invested in improving conditions in the neighborhood. The owner of one assisted housing complex, Clifton Terrace, receives subsidies that range from $850 a month for an efficiency to $1,398 a month for a four-bedroom unit, for a total of $3.5 million a year for 285 units of housing. Six hundred children live in that housing complex, yet there is no playground, no play ''space,'' no youth program, and no day care center. These young people are spending their childhoods surrounded by a virtual desert of public and assisted housing, including 72 vacant HUD properties, some of which were abandoned as many as 12 years ago.
The government, trying to help, hasn't looked at how much it has hurt. It could change its policies to create new opportunities for the people who live in those areas. In one area of Washington, the efforts of one NCNE affiliate, the Alliance of Concerned Men, and an enlightened public housing official, David Gilmore, have proven that the trends toward destruction in such areas can be halted and even reversed.
Representatives of the District's police department will testify today that this neighborhood, once a notorious area of rampant homicide, now appears on crime maps as an oasis of calm. Residents will testify that the laughter of children now rings from play areas that had once been deserted ''killing fields.'' The Alliance Concerned Men worked this miracle as volunteers on their own time using their own resources.
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The success of the Alliance of Concerned Men in reaching and redirecting young people, even in an environment where the odds against success are the greatest, deserves all the support and resources we can offer. And their success is echoed by other grassroots organizations throughout the country who have proven that, where there is a will to salvage the lives of our young people--regardless of the sacrifices this may entail--a way will be discovered. In cities including Hartford, CT; Los Angeles, CA; and San Antonio and Dallas, TX: Indianapolis, IN; and Milwaukee, WI; leaders of neighborhood groups and faith-based organizations have shown that the job can be done and they are here today to tell us how.
Also with us are the young men who turned from lives of violence to productive, positive activities. Although skeptics may pronounce that young people would never give up the profits of drug dealing or their status on the streets to work for an hourly wage or to work to uplift their neighborhoods, the young men who will speak today will tell you why youths in such circumstances did just that. They chose to make that change because the monetary pay came also with an investment of heart provided by the Alliance of Concerned Men, and because the men who encouraged them to do something positive with their lives came from committed individuals whose own lives were examples of how that can be done.
One additional ingredient was necessary to make the Benning Terrace transformation possible: opportunity. The court-appointed receiver of the District's Public Housing Authority, David Gilmore, understood how crucial it was to provide opportunity for productive work and advancement when the youths were ready and willing to embrace those opportunities. His wise use of resources and swift action made it possible for the young people to put down guns and take up paint brushes, hammers, and gardening tools.
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The powerful impact that the commitment and guidance of a concerned adult can have on the life of a young person cannot be stressed enough. Today, one individual from the halls of Congress will tell the story of the impact of a grassroots program for young gang members which was founded by his parents. At a time when Philadelphia's newspapers printed lists of gang-related homicides on the same page as the death toll of the Viet Nam war, Chaka Fattah's mother, Sister Falaka Fattah, and her husband David reached out to the gang members in her neighborhood. Initially they invited the youths into their home, providing not only a place to stay and food to eat but the guidance and standards that could change their lives. In the course of three years, this outreach expanded to become a virtual boys town. A number of buildings were restored through the labor of these young people for this program.
This example of neighborhood-based youth intervention has been replicated with the same success in many other cities throughout the country. Regardless of the personal risk involved, Carl Hardrick, who will testify today, has invested more than twenty years to reach out to young gang members in Hartford, Connecticut. His earliest protégé was the leader of one of the city's most notorious gangs, Steve Halter, who had more than 300 members at his command. Today, Steve is the successful co-owner of a bonded construction company who offers training and employment opportunities to at-risk youths in Hartford, and Carl is working with a second generation of young people--former gang members who have redirected their lives and urge others to do the same.
At a time when youth violence and the self-destructive behavior of young people looms as one of the nation's greatest crises, we must invest all we can in promoting and supporting neighborhood-based responses that have proven they can effectively address these problems. Legislation and public policy must be evaluated with regard to how it affects such grassroots initiatives which can play a crucial role in the destiny of our nation.
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More resources, both public and private, must be invested in neighborhood-based strategies to salvage the lives of our young people. This effective outreach has proven that many youths who are on a pathway to destruction and self-destruction do not need a jailer as much as they need a ''father.'' The testimony we hear today should impact the way in which research on youth crime is conducted. Massive funds are channeled to conventional social service agencies, in spite of their past failures, because we do not know how to define ''prevention.''
Our legislators and policy makers should be meeting with groups such as those that are represented here today, to define the qualities that are common to effective responses to youth crime and to support the groups that exhibit these qualities. If alternative strategies prove to be more effective than the nation has been using, we should invest all we can to support them. In Washington, D.C.'s Benning Terrace neighborhood, crime has been reduced and a cycle of violence has been broken. If we had one group like the Alliance in every city of this country, we could substantially impact youth crime.
Young people respect and respond to individuals who come from the same backgrounds that they do, understand them, and have made a long-term commitment to help them. The value of the Alliance is evidenced in its impact. Young men whom others had given up on are healed. They can look to the future with hope rather than resignation. Crime has decreased not only in the immediate neighborhood but in the surrounding communities as well. This stands in sharp contrast to conventional responses in which stronger police control often just pushes a ''bubble'' of criminal activity to a different location.
Any resources, public or private, that are invested to address youth crone and violence should be channeled through the indigenous healing agents of the community whose investment is long-term, who are consistently available to the young people they serve, and who understand how and why it is important to give the young people a stake in their community. Like misdirected public policy, private volunteers from the outside can also injure with their helping hand if they do not take into account the value of the neighborhood-based outreach. In Philadelphia we recently witnessed a clean-up campaign that descended upon Germantown Avenue. I can assure you that the graffiti will appear again on that street while, in contrast, the walls that were cleaned by the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace will remain graffiti-free. Here, the young people had a sense of investment and ownership in the refurbishment of their neighborhood. The graffiti they removed included the names of friends who had died in street violence. To erase the names from the walls was a symbol of their changed hearts and a part of a process of healing--a statement that it was time to go beyond the violence and to end the retaliating.
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RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT GRASSROOTS INITIATIVES
A Call for Private-Sector Support
As a model of how private-sector support can provide well directed vital support to the healing agents within low-income communities, the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise has launched a ''Hands-Across'' campaign in Washington D.C. This effort will link sources of financial support, training, and technical assistance outside of the communities with the indigenous grassroots groups within the neighborhoods. A next step will be to expand this model to include cities such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Hartford, CT, San Antonio, and Los Angeles, and ultimately, in every city of the nation.
Hands-Across will provide the support that is critical to the continuation and expansion of our nation's most effective community revitalization initiatives and can allow grassroots healing agents such as the Alliance to work full-time on their transforming missions.
Crucial Public-Sector Support
The remarkable successes of the grassroots organizations that testify before you today have been won with meager resources--often only the personal funds of the neighborhood service providers. With adequate support and funding, their impact could be replicated and expanded in addressing many of the most critical problems that face our nation.
For a number of years, the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has offered a very effective mini-grant program that could provide a model of the way public funds could support the work of effective grassroots organizations. Through this mini-grant program, neighborhood groups are able to receive financial support in increments that are suited to their needs. In this program, a facilitator has identified effective grassroots organizations as grant recipients and has assisted them in documenting the use of funds received. Hundreds of neighborhood-based substance-abuse programs have used these minigrant for public assistance to increase their programmatic capacities in areas including youth drug education, computer literacy, job readiness training, and financial management.
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We recommend that Congress and the Justice Department explore implementation options for current prevention funds that would provide flexibility for states to consider setting up similar voucher programs to support grassroots initiatives.
Include the Input of Those Who Have First-Hand Experience of the Problems in the Design and Implementation of Their Solutions
During the 104th Congress, NCNE helped to coordinate a special task force of neighborhood leaders who provided policy recommendations that would facilitate their efforts and eliminate unnecessary regulatory barriers. Many of the recommendations made by this task force on Grassroots Alternatives for Public Policy (GAPP) were subsequently included in the Community Renewal Act that received support from both political parties. Among the grassroots recommendations included in the legislation were the following:
Charitable Tax Credits, through which citizens could direct a portion of their tax payments to neighborhood-based initiatives working within low-income communities.
Enterprise incentives such as job-creation and equity-expensing measures for small businesses in ''renewal communities'' and enterprise zones.
Prohibition of discrimination against faith-based initiatives which are effectively addressing many of societies most entrenched problems.
The Community Renewal Act, like the Congressional Hearing that we witness today, is evidence of willingness on both sides of the aisle to go beyond ideological or political differences to pursue viable solutions to our nation's most critical problems and to put our communities on the path of true and lasting revitalization. With this spirit and determination, we can ensure that the transforming power of the neighborhood healers who have spoken today can be expanded, strengthened and replicated throughout the nation. We thank you for this extraordinary opportunity to highlight the works of some people who we truly believe hold the key to the healing of our troubled society.
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Mr. HYDE. Mr. Gilmore.
STATEMENT OF DAVID GILMORE, RECEIVER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY
Mr. GILMORE. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Conyers, members of the committee. My name is David Gilmore, and as you said, I am the court-appointed receiver overseeing the recovery of the District of Columbia Housing Authority, one of the most notoriously distressed public housing agencies in the country.
I am honored and privileged to be here to be allowed to participate in this hearing today, but I must say that my feelings of honor and privilege are matched easily by those that I feel for having been allowed to be a participant and a partner along with Bob Woodson and the Alliance of Concerned Men and the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace, with whom I am day by day falling more deeply in love. It is hard for me to imagine that I have lived any days of my life without knowing these young men, and I think of them much the same way I think of my own children. They are through and through some of the finest human beings I have ever met, and I don't know that that won't come as a big surprise to hear some big-city bureaucrat talk about these young men in this way.
You are going to hear a lot this afternoon about the human side of this effort, and indeed, that is the most important. But all too often it is the case that when we think about programs like this, we think in terms of the economic benefits that we derive from supporting them. And so I thought I would just simply share some of that information with you, again from the bureaucrat's perspective, and then if I do have any time left over, I will slip back into my human side and talk about that.
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On the very first day that I arrived here in the District of Columbia, I was taken on a bus tour to see some of the developments for which I was now responsible. And amongst the locations that I passed was Benning Terrace. And the vehicle would not go into the circle at Benning Terrace, but passed slowly by it, and I saw what has been the case on a day-to-day basis for many, many months, perhaps even years. I don't need to describe it. I think everybody in this room is familiar with it. It is the typical, perhaps stereotypical, image of a very distressed public housing community in the midst of what I should tell you is an extraordinarily viable and stable neighborhood, but in a cul-de-sac, ill-maintained, filthy, ill-equipped, not friendly at all, not a friendly area, and guarded there by some young men that looked fairly fierce to me.
I said to myself and to my colleagues, I don't know how I am going to deal with this, but the first idea that came to mind, and the idea that has persisted in my mind up until January of this year, has been the only thing we can think to do is to take these buildings down. We will demolish the buildings, we will disperse the folks that live in it, and in the process we will have moved the violence somewhere else.
Not a particularly creative approach, perhaps one that gets born mostly out of frustration, but let me tell you, a costly approach to say the least. We estimate it would have cost us $1 million to demolish these buildings. That says nothing about the cost of rebuilding some other facility in its place. We estimate that we would have lost approximately 100 dwelling units for low-income families to the stock in this city, and in addition to that, we would have lost thousands upon thousands of additional dollars in lost rental income; the cost to us in this instance in the millions.
I pay these young men, I am their employer, and I guess that is part of the reason why I am here. When we began this program and we began the training effort at Benning Terrace, these young men came to work in this program for $6.50. I have dedicated about $300,000 in Housing Authority funds to keep this program alive. So in the process, the simple calculation of arithmetic would tell you that the effort we have put forth already today has saved this agency, which is supported by Federal dollars, already in the millions of dollars.
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Let us not even forget that when we pay these young men $6.50 an hour, at the same time we are paying the police officers that have been dispatched to the hot spots in the city $30 an hour. As the police chief has told me in the District of Columbia, because of the peace these young men have forged in the community, he is now able to take that $30-an-hour policeman and move him to another area of the city which has a greater need at this point. The arithmetic is simple: $6.50 an hour for these young fellows versus $30 an hour for a police officer.
The tale goes on. We are in the position where we need to do something to beef up the fire safety equipment in this development. We haven't been able to maintain the fire alarms in the common hallways because they have been vandalized. We estimate it will take us $10,000, only $10,000, to repair the system, but we wouldn't have thought up until then to spend that $10,000. Instead we were prepared to spend upwards of $200,000 to move the pull stations into the apartments where they theoretically would have been safe. The young men have made it possible for us to save about $190,000 in funds, because I am now confident that we can go back and repair those fire stations.
I haven't even begun to touch upon the issue of the value of human life. I don't know how one puts a dollar value on that. But I can tell you, as I was asked by a reporter at one point how much money I had devoted to this program, and when I responded by saying, I don't know quite yet how much I am going to spend, and was asked whether that meant a blank check, my response was, you tell me the value of one of these young men's life, and I will do the arithmetic, and then we will have a number, and we will figure out what it will cost.
I want to point out in my closing moments here to tell you, members of the committee, and to my colleagues as well, that this is not an issue of dollars, in fact, though I have concentrated most of my testimony on that issue. The money we are spending at Benning Terrace we would have spent anyway. This is not a question of a group like the Alliance of Concerned Men coming to me and asking for a grant. As a matter of fact, they didn't come to me at all. They just went ahead and did their business, and I only got involved by the grace of a newspaper article which I saw, which had Bob and the alliance talking about this peace that they were working with these young men to forge, and I felt compelled to call Bob and say we needed to have a place in this program.
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This isn't about that, because the fact is that my colleagues need to understand when they think about this not to look at this as though it were an addition to an already burdened budget, but the fact is we are spending money on these young folks that we would have spent anyway, but receiving, I think, clearly more dollars than we spend. We are getting back, but just in terms of the human benefit.
Let me close by saying, if I may, we tend to think about these young men in the stereotypical fashion as though they were empty shells with no heart beating in them. I only wish to call everyone's attention to the fact that just yesterday, the day before yesterday, there was a serious fire in one of the apartments at Benning Terrace not far from the circle, as a matter of fact in the circle, and one of these young men, Donnie Jackson, pulled babies out of that burning apartment. It takes courage, it takes heart, and it is that kind of thing which describes what these young men are really made of. And so when we begin to think of them as heartless, empty shells, let's remember that they are human beings. They are young people who have been looking for someone to say: ''I believe in you, I care about you, and I trust you''. And I have the honor and the privilege at this committee to repeat to them: ''I care about you, I trust you'', and I honor my association with them.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much.
Mr. Conyers, do you have any questions?
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
Ms. Lofgren, you don't have any questions, do you?
Ms. LOFGREN. Just one question, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
I feel honored to have been able to listen to you. And I guess I have a question for you, Mr. Woodson, or anyone else.
But as I listened to you, I was thinking that some of us--all of the time, not just in public life but in life generally--are posed with what appear to be false choices that are not false choices. And I wanted to get your take on this. Often I have heard the choice is either to spend some funds in prevention or to allow innovative citizen grassroots efforts to do magical and wonderful things. And what I think I was hearing from you is that those are not mutually exclusive alternatives, that we will get nowhere without the kind of intelligent, knowledge-based, self-started activities that you have described and been involved in, but that doesn't mean that we don't need to make some investment with those folks. Is that accurate?
Mr. WOODSON. Absolutely. We do need to make investments. As Congressman Fattah said, a lot of the groups need the investment of technical support so that they can learn how to account for funds, they need support in terms of developing strategic plans, they need to know how to set up a board of governance and make reports, and to do all of this without destroying their qualities. We are not trying to make them minibureaucrats, but there is need for investment in the infrastructure of these groups.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want also to distinguish between the kind of volunteerism that is becoming popular, where we look at low-income neighborhoods as cesspools with few redeeming qualities, where people have to be rescued by somebody from the outside; where volunteers are going to march in with paintbrushes and tutors as if there are not people already there.
Experts need to learn how to be on tap and not on top, and if any assistance is to be given, we should ask the people already doing it what they need and what we can do to help them in a way that is what they want, rather than us coming and imposing on them what we believe they need, and that is the difference.
Ms. LOFGREN. If I may----
Mr. HYDE. Now, really, we have a ton of witnesses. Some of them have come from long distances. And I would love to be liberal in terms of giving everyone an opportunity to ask extensive questions. I would like to ask the members' indulgence to maybe ask one question----
Ms. LOFGREN. I can take a hint, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you. Thank you.
Does anybody on this side have a question? Thank you.
Now, Ms. Jackson Lee. One question, please.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and let me applaud the presenters and ask my question to Mr. Woodson.
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Since the two of us have possibly some similar background, if nothing else, that we have the same ethnic heritage and that there are many in this room that have come forward who are expressing your viewpoint that we are in the community, we know and can do--and I appreciate and applaud that--help me understand from your perspective then what role, if any, that you would want this Congress, this Federal Government--generically, because there are many Federal Governments, those under Republican administrations, those under Democratic administrations--where would they fit in, embracing or networking with this concept that you are representing today?
Mr. WOODSON. Two very simple ones. A lot of our groups are encumbered by Federal, State, and local policies that only permit providers of service to low-income people to be people with masters' degrees or meet other stringent educational requirements. For example a lot of our programs provide treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, but they use faith as the principal instrument of rescuing people. But a lot of the laws are hostile to faith-based providers and even require people with masters' degrees or nursing degrees as counselors to drug addicts. The provision of funding is often associated with those kind of requirements.
So the Federal Government could give some leadership in recognizing that we ought to be supporting people who have demonstrated success. For instance, a lot of our groups that are faith-based cost $50 a day with an 80 percent success rate in transforming drug addicts and alcoholics. Some conventional government programs cost $600 a day and have only a 6- to 10-percent success rate. So that is one area.
The second area is support for the Community Renewal Act that will allow for tax credits. We don't want to make these groups dependent upon government, but we think we ought to empower taxpayers through the tax system and so individual taxpayers could donate their money directly to these groups. These groups could appeal to individual taxpayers to send the money to them instead of sending it to the Federal Government and have it come back through grants to Health and Human Services.
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So if those two provisions alone were passed, I think it would do a lot to empower the groups that we are representing.
Mr. HYDE. I thank the gentleman and gentlelady.
Does the gentleman from North Carolina have a brief question or comment?
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, about 5 seconds.
Mr. Woodson, you are a hero. I am familiar with what you have done. You are an unassuming hero, which makes it even better.
Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to put that on the record and tell these folks that we are glad to have them with us today.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you.
I really appreciate your testimony, and I would say this. My own experience is, it has to be community based and it has to be a partnership if it is going to work. I think we know that.
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But I was interested, Mr. Woodson, in a comment that I think you made, that incarceration, particularly of younger and younger juveniles, that is not the answer either, and we are considering a piece of legislation later on today that would, in fact, do that. I only wish that you had been here earlier to testify so that we could have received the benefit of your wisdom.
I guess that is more of a statement. But I want you to know that I certainly appreciate what you are doing. And it is interesting, you don't want Washington to tell you what to do, do you?
Mr. WOODSON. No, no.
Mr. DELAHUNT. You don't want that, because we don't have the answers. Is that what you are saying, Mr. Woodson?
Mr. WOODSON. That is right.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you very much.
Mr. HYDE. Not only that, but Washington won't let God into the picture.
Well, I want to thank this panel. This has been a very auspicious beginning to a fascinating afternoon. I thank you, Mr. Woodson, and you, Mr. Gilmore.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On our third panel we have an excellent group of individuals who can speak to how the Metropolitan Police Department has worked closely with grassroots organizations and public housing officials to reduce crime here in Washington.
Commander John Daniels and Sgt. Elliott Taylor are assigned to the Sixth Police District, one of the most crime-prone areas in the District, which includes the Benning Terrace neighborhood. Commander Daniels and Sergeant Taylor have been praised for working closely with community-based efforts to restore order in the Sixth District, and we will hear what they have accomplished on their watch.
Lt. Lowell Duckett, retired, served as director of the Metropolitan Police Department Delta Unit, which focused on gangs, street violence, and armed felons. He also served as commander of the Narcotics Strike Force Unit. Following his retirement after nearly three decades of service, he has remained active in youth intervention and related ministries. He will tell us about those efforts today.
We will also hear from Officer William Mack, who is also with the Metropolitan Police Department and assigned to its Housing Division. Officer Mack is a beat officer who has forged cooperation among the police, the housing authority, and community organizations.
Gentlemen, I ask that you try to contain your oral presentations to 5 minutes each. Your written testimony will be inserted into the record in its entirety.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF JOHN C. DANIELS, COMMANDER, SIXTH DISTRICT, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC
Commander DANIELS. Good afternoon, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Department. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman----
Mr. HYDE. Would you flip the little switch on your microphone there. Thank you.
Commander DANIELS. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Department, I want to thank you for extending the opportunity to speak before the Committee on the Judiciary on the subject of grassroots solutions to youth crime.
As commanding officer for the Sixth District, I am responsible for the delivery of police services to the residents and general inhabitants of the Benning Terrace community. Police Chief Larry B. Soulsby could not be here today. With me are Lt. Robert Horsley, field programmer for the Benning Terrace area, and, as you spoke of, Sergeant Taylor who is the beat supervisor.
By way of background and in brief, Benning Terrace is a public housing community consisting of low-income and government assistance residents. While there are many residents who are decent, law-abiding citizens, there were some individuals who were prone to commit crimes and prey on the unsuspecting will of the overall community.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Narcotics distribution and associated violence produced an omnipresence of fear and distrust that extended on the Benning Terrace housing community and into the surrounding neighborhoods. For instance, the process we call urban decay has occurred for centuries in every city. Now more than ever, it is critical that we return to the view that we must protect communities as well as individuals.
Crime statistics and victimization surveys measure individual losses but do not measure communal losses, and by this I mean the negative impact on the cohesiveness of the community itself. The unique dynamics of the Benning Terrace area, its extensive public housing, combined with critical economic issues in the neighborhood, the city, and society in general highlight the fact that a combined and cohesive response is required.
Recognizing that the community perception was that crime was out of control, the appropriate response had to be able to address the actual statistical crimes and the fear that existed within the community, notwithstanding the statistical facts. To this end, an endeavor to create a more cohesive government and community response was put into motion.
The stakeholders: While the police must address quality of life issues, it also underscores the fact that the police play only a part in the equation of the Government and community response to improving the quality of life for citizens in the community. The quality of life issues are placed in the hands of the Department of Public Housing, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Education, law enforcement agencies, the U.S. attorney, and Corporation Counsel Offices for the District of Columbia, local religious and church groups, and the community itself.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While it is the Government agencies', which I refer to as external forces, responsibility to eradicate undesirable and unhealthy elements--abandoned buildings, rodents, abandoned automobiles, trash, and normal decay--it is the community stakeholders, which are referred to as internal forces, that must set the standards of behavior that are acceptable for everyone who lives, works, and visits their communities.
Following years of neglect and deterioration, reversing this trend will not be an easy undertaking, but it is a must if we are going to enjoy the true meaning of a peaceful, family neighborhood.
Results of our combined efforts: Recently Chief Larry Soulsby implemented a new mission for the Metropolitan Police Department. In keeping with that mission--ways to eliminate crime, the fear of crime, and general disorder by establishing a respect and trust within the community--our combined government and community response has proved that our analysis and predictions are correct. The effects of our efforts have resulted in an unprecedented reduction in the perception and fear of crime and disorder in the Benning Terrace community.
The Metropolitan Police Department would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the contributions of the community-based Alliance of Concerned Men and the Brothers of Benning Terrace toward achieving this success.
Initially, the Brothers of Benning Terrace and their associates were directly responsible for contributing to the crime and negative perception--or, in other words the fear--that helped to destroy the Benning Terrace neighborhood. However, under the guidance and direction of the Alliance of Concerned Men working with these young individuals, a positive change has been realized in the Benning Terrace area.
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By offering a valuable alternative--and again, we must remember that value is in the eyes of the beholder, it is only valuable to the individual that is being affected--these men and women of the Benning Terrace community have stopped the violence and engaged in more respected and community value supporting work.
What we recommend: This type of effort and redirection must continue at all costs. No community should become an occupied community of government forces. A community must be given the resources and opportunity to maintain itself with minimal intervention from outside forces.
[The prepared statement of Commander Daniels follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN C. DANIELS, COMMANDER, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 1 TO 5 HERE
Mr. HYDE. Thank you.
Next, Sgt. Elliott Taylor of the Sixth District, Metropolitan Police Department.
STATEMENT OF ELLIOTT TAYLOR, SERGEANT, SIXTH DISTRICT, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC
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Sergeant TAYLOR. Good afternoon, Chairman Hyde, members of the committee. I am Sgt. Elliott Taylor of the Metropolitan Police Department assigned to the Sixth District.
This past November, I was assigned to the brief sergeant, scout car beat 52, which encompasses the Benning Terrace housing complex. For the past 60 days, I have been part of the coordinated enhanced enforcement effort and have had the opportunity to interact with the citizens and organizations which are striving to make a positive difference in the Benning Terrace area.
For the past 2 1/2 months, there have been increased efforts to address the perceived conditions as well as the actual problems which plague and negatively affect the quality of life and the residents of the Benning Terrace. These efforts have been led and supported by several organizations, from governmental agencies to private organizations to the very citizens of Benning Terrace.
These efforts have made a visible difference in the Benning Terrace community to progress from the community which no longer tolerates graffiti-covered buildings, a community in which the citizens who previously locked themselves behind closed doors now enjoy family outings in the evening. A community which in the past was deafened by the sounds of gunfire, now is enriched by the sounds of children playing. Benning Terrace within a short period of time has moved from a community oppressed by drugs, violence, and turmoil, to a community on the brink of empowerment.
These changes have been fostered by organizations such as the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. This organization, with the combined efforts of others, has provided opportunities for the youth of Benning Terrace, opportunities which have exposed them to positive activities.
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Although the changes made thus far have been positive, they have only been cosmetic in nature, and the efforts to address problems have only scratched the surface. Benning Terrace is a community with social and economic problems. It is a community with low-income and governmental-assisted families, some headed by single parents. It is a community whose citizens lack job training and formal education.
The efforts made by all thus far have been focused on eliminating open-air drug markets and the problems they create, but these efforts have fallen short of addressing the root causes. Part of the success of these efforts must be attributed to the fact that those who had indulged in a criminal life-style decided to be removed from the criminal activity. This desire to stop the violence and better themselves along with increased police presence and aggressive law enforcement has created the opportunity in which other organizations, such as the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, have been able to institute their programs with relative acceptance.
While programs like the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise are making great strides, in determining the success of many of the programs, I would caution to examine the progress made thus far very carefully. I believe it is too early to declare what has been totally successful and what has not. Thus far, only the combined efforts of many have been successful. Until the shortcomings have been addressed, Benning Terrace will remain a community bordering on decay.
The summer will bring many people out of doors as well as many youth with idle time. This will bring increased opportunity for incidents that will test the progress that has been made. However, if progress continues, then and only then can we state what has been successful.
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Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Sergeant Taylor.
I might mention that the testimony we are hearing today from the previous panel, this panel, and the succeeding panels is being recorded and will be published in a volume that we will not only disseminate throughout Congress, but throughout the country, for I think what you all have to say today has national interest, and I just wanted to mention that.
Officer William Mack of the Metropolitan Police Department assigned to the Housing Division.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM MACK, OFFICER, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, HOUSING DIVISION, WASHINGTON, DC
Officer MACK. Good afternoon. Once again, my name is Officer William Mack. I am assigned to the Public Housing Division and have been assigned there since August 1996.
The sergeant brought up a very interesting concept. He said ''combined efforts.'' Basically, that is what has been going on in the area. Back in 1996, once I was assigned to Benning Terrace, I was previously part of the Sixth District for 6 years, and Benning Terrace had a reputation bar none throughout the city, nothing really positive.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What my job was to do was to help improve the quality of life. By doing that, the sergeant said, I will state again, combined efforts; this could not have been done without the work from the Alliance, the Housing Division, the Sixth District, and, last but not least, the community. None of this can be accomplished without all the efforts from all.
We, as a unit, are trying to keep things going in a positive manner in that we need help from everyone, and that is why we are here right now, to get help where we can do what we can to continue the quality of life. Everything is good; we would like to see things get better; and, once again, combined efforts.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Officer Mack.
Now retired Lt. Lowell Duckett of the Metropolitan Police Department. Lieutenant.
STATEMENT OF LOWELL DUCKETT, LIEUTENANT, RETIRED, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, DC
Lieutenant DUCKETT. Thank you.
I am Lowell Duckett, in my 28 1/2 years with the Metropolitan Police Department, what occurred in Benning Terrace was a first. For the last decade, I have commanded the Special Emphasis Unit, commonly referred to as the Delta Unit; it is the antigang unit of the Metropolitan Police Department.
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Many of the men sitting behind me in the alliance, only through the grace of God were we able to come to the table to offer the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Department when it was requested in securing the so-called truce, what I would call a peace treaty between brothers in Benning Terrace.
Many men in the alliance and I over 20 years ago were bitter enemies. I was in the robbery squad, and they were notorious bank robbers. But through the grace of God and the transformation in their lives and the spiritual base, they are here today and doing very positive work in the community in restoring some of these young men back to their full fellowship with God and humanity.
The Special Emphasis Unit was called to the Benning Terrace Public Housing Project area at the death of Darryl Hall. The chief of police, Larry Soulsby, dispatched four units from the NSID and special support branches to combat what had occurred; a 12-year-old young man had been murdered.
After developing the crimefighting strategy which we were going to use, which was very aggressive in nature, I received a phone call in regards to a truce in the Benning Terrace area in regards to the young men stopping the war and stopping the violence, and that was a first.
Chief Soulsby dispatched me to that meeting as his representative to find out what we could do, and basically what we found we could do, Mr. Delahunt stated, was to allow them to build their own truce and peace treaty, and that was a major step forward, for the police department to take a wait and see attitude. It didn't mean we weren't going to be aggressive in going after the young people responsible for the murder, but it did mean we have allowed the opportunity for a truce.
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I have attended several meetings with the young men; they refused to call themselves a gang or a crew; and I honor that and build a spiritual base. Many of these young men didn't have the opportunity of having a well balanced home. They were from dysfunctional homes where no men were present. They were being raised by mothers, grandmothers, three or four brothers and sisters in the house, and some were forced into crime because of social or economic issues.
However, by developing the spiritual base and encouraging these young men to go back to school and stop selling drugs, that community is being restored even as we speak now. But above all, in the community itself, if you go there and look at it for yourself, you have public housing, in 3 or 4 blocks you have $75,000 to $100,000 homes. The fear of crime in this community has been diminished.
The fear of crime is something no chief of police or FBI can measure; there is no statistical data on it. But when you fear to move about your community to go to stores, everybody suffers. You suffer from the fact that the economic development in that community was going down, the movement of the community, people weren't moving about in their own backyards and playground. But because these young men have put down their violent behavior and taken up a posture of being productive citizens, now you have activity in the community, and I am very proud of the Alliance and proud of these young men for coming to the realization that they are more than just the gang bangers, that they are children of God.
As I prepared this report called ''Strategy for Youth Violence Intervention,'' which I believe Mr. Woodson will make a part of my written testimony, I looked with great concern in terms of the data in terms of crime statistics in that particular area.
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I think that the American people are becoming data junkies when it comes to crime: It is up; it is down. I am tired of looking at it. The bottom line: Is there crime? Is there fear of crime? And can we abate the problem? We can with a well balanced approach: Prevention, intervention, and enforcement.
Some young men are not going to put the guns and gang behaviors down, and it is going to take special units to go in and root them out and lock them up. But when you look at the intervention side approach balanced with the business community, the spiritual community, government, the educational community, and a special thanks to Mr. Gilmore and his Directive Security, and to Commander Daniels, and one of my previous colleagues I am glad to see at the table, Lieutenant Horsley, we have been fighting gangs in that community for over 10 years. But this is the first we haven't had to go in there with heavy-handed police tactics, and, as you know, the D.C. Police Department has lost 8 officers in the last 16 months. We cannot continue the level of violence in this country and in this city without everyone pulling together and helping to achieve a desirable goal of zero crime in the Nation's Capital.
That is the end of my verbal testimony.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Lieutenant Duckett. If it were within my power, I would unretire you.
Officer Robert Horsley, who has worked with Lieutenant Duckett for so many years.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT HORSLEY, LIEUTENANT, FIELD PROGRAMMER, BENNING TERRACE
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Lieutenant HORSLEY. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee.
I am not here to make a statement. My appearance here was to assist the committee with answering questions. My part has been working in that area for the past several years.
Mr. HYDE. Very well. Thank you very much.
Congressman Conyers. No questions.
Does anybody on this side have a question? I don't see anybody raising their hand, and so we will thank this panel--very instructive and very helpful. Thank you.
For our fourth panel, we have a group of men and women who have been instrumental in restoring peace to the Benning Terrace neighborhood. First, we will hear from Pete Jackson, president of the Alliance of Concerned Men. The alliance worked with rival youth factions in the Benning Terrace public housing community to forge a peace pact that was announced earlier this year. Mr. Jackson also serves as deputy warden for programs with the D.C. Department of Corrections at Lorton Prison. He is the recipient of the 1997 Achievement Against the Odds Award.
Following his testimony, Mr. Jackson will introduce Rico Rush and Tyrone Parker, also of the alliance. Mr. Rush has presented motivational speeches on substance abuse to numerous audiences. Mr. Parker is a founding member of the alliance and serves as a parole officer with the D.C. Parole Board.
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Next, we will hear from two members of the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace, Wayne Lee and Demetrius Pendarvis. The Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace is an organization devoted to securing peace in the community, expanding employment, recreational and other positive opportunities for youth.
Finally, we will hear from Ellen Mundaray. She has been a resident of the Benning Terrace neighborhood for 20 years and serves as secretary of the Benning Terrace Resident Council.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my understanding that this panel has a primary spokesman who will introduce the remainder of the panel and everyone will be available to answer questions which may be posed by members of the committee.
Given the large number of witnesses testifying at today's hearing, it is important that we move along as quickly as possible, so everybody at the table has an opportunity to be heard. Any written testimony will be inserted into the record.
Mr. Jackson, you are the master of ceremonies; is that correct?
Mr. JACKSON. Actually, it is Rico Rush.
STATEMENT OF ARTHUR ''RICO'' RUSH, JR., ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN, WASHINGTON, DC
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RUSH. Let me say good afternoon to everyone in here. Good afternoon.
Initially, when we start out, we ask everybody to give a hug, but we know for the sake of time we cannot do that today. We start off with hugs and start off with prayer. We want to thank everybody for the comments and the support we got from the police department, and we feel warm and touched that we are making a difference and they acknowledge what we have done.
I would just like to start off by saying that for the group of the Alliance of Concerned Men--and we have some more in the audience; Eric Johnson--can you stand up, Eric--because one thing we do is kind of feed off each other--Deron Alston, and Scott Little back there. And one thing about us is, we look at ours as a winning team. All of us had our own personal experience, and we brought together all that was personal to help us with the effort that we made in Benning Terrace.
We have taken all our personal experience and our commitment because we care about the young people, we care about the violence, and, most of all, care about Washington, DC.
What we have done, we meet together, been together for 6 years, and we have been doing this work for a long time. What made us successful in Benning Terrace is the fact that we have been doing things in the community for some time, each one individually and as a group, and people have recognized some of the things we have done. We have taken people off the street before.
But the one ingredient that we didn't have: The means and the support that Robert Woodson had given us and even Mr. Gilmore. With their help and the commitment that we have had, we didn't have any commitment to just go to Benning Terrace because we were just touched by Darryl Hall's death. That morning--let me explain it to you.
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We had a meeting that Sunday. That Monday morning, we couldn't sleep. Mr. Parker called me up and said, ''I couldn't sleep,'' and I couldn't sleep, and I think it was God that moved us. Ironically, it was the date of the Inauguration that we went over to Benning Terrace, where everybody was celebrating the election of the President. I am not putting him down or anything like that. There were other people hostage in their house; they couldn't come out. It wasn't a celebration to them.
So we went to the neighborhood, and because of our experiences and the people we know--and you are going to hear from Ms. Mundaray. We didn't have any idea where she lived, but because she is a grassroots person, we asked the kids. We kind of described her, and they took us right to her house. And we said, ''We are here because we are concerned about the violence in this community.'' And she almost raised up, ''Thank you, Jesus. Lord, have mercy. My prayers have been answered.'' And we hadn't started, we just made the commitment to show up.
She took us to a part of Benning Terrace called the Avenue and to a house, and we didn't identify any players or anything to do with any of the beatings or any shooting or anything like that; it was just some people she knew in the neighborhood.
Our approach then and still now is that we hug people. The first thing we did was, went to the brothers there and hugged them, and we said, ''What is going on here?'' We didn't say we came here on rescue here, we didn't come with a program, we just said, ''What is up? What is going on?'' And they told us that they were tired of the violence. It is like an intervention, like people were waiting for someone to come.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They said, they told us--I am not going to go into details for the sake of time, but they said they are tired of it too. So we asked if they would be willing to come with us to a meeting, and they said, ''Yeah, but we don't know about the other side; they might not come.'' We said, ''We will get back to you later.'' We came back the next day.
And that is how we do it. We are like a pit bull approach; we grab on you and don't let you go. We came back the next day and met Ms. Mundaray, and she introduced us to another resident manager in Benning Terrace, and she had taken us to the other side which is known as the Circle. And, strangely enough, those guys said the same thing the other side was saying.
We got their phone numbers and contacted Mr. Woodson, and asked him, because we had already had a relationship with him anyway, could we use this facility to take us--take guys from both sides to have a mediation in this facility? He agreed. He helped us, and we made a conference call with one of the members from another place in Connecticut and Texas. We had a phone conference as to how to go about settling a mediation and getting advice from people who had already gone through the same thing we were experiencing now.
We went back and contacted the young men and picked them up, and it was said earlier it was a partnership. So here we are, a grassroots organization. And one of the members on our team who works for Pohanka, and because of his stature there and credibility, his sales manager allowed us to take vans, two brandnew vans, and go to both sides of the neighborhood and pick up the young men and take them to Bob Woodson's office. There we commenced to do a mediation.
Now, we didn't do go there with the attitude that we knew the answers. We talked to them about what could we do to resolve the situation. They came up with the solutions. And when we did, we put that on the board, on the flip chart. I used the flip chart, I am not going to do it today for time, but we put things on the flip chart and talked about what the solutions were.
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First was the ground rules: No cussing, and thing like that, and prayer. And then the other thing was, we talked about Darryl Hall, and I think that was the spirit, and Wayne could probably tell you about that. We looked at Darryl Hall's death not in vain, sometimes we look at things for reason, and even though a lot of people suffered because of his death, we were trying to say let's just look at what kind of blessings, solution, can we come up with because of his death, what kind of message was Darryl sending us.
And Wayne said, ''I think Darryl wanted us to put down the guns.'' And we started from there, and, as mentioned earlier, we began to meet several weeks. It was twice a week at Bob's office. And one of the things that we found out was, a good mediation solution is food. You know, when people are around food, they seem to get along better.
I see you laughing, because you were laughing when we had lunch soon, too. We asked each one of them the next week to bring somebody else, and they brought somebody else with them the next week. And then we started to have--and this young man you are going to hear from next to me, who I am so so proud to be sitting here with, you know, here at this hearing, he had a vision.
He said, you know, I care about my neighborhood, and what I see is, the neighborhood needs some--some development here. It needs some landscaping here.
And he had this vision. And when he went out there and walked on the property for both sides, he had walked around and talked about everything that he wanted to see happen in the community.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And Congressman Hyde, before I end, and Congress, we want to invite you all to Benning Terrace. We have got some tennis shoes for you and outfits. And we want to invite you out there to see some of the progress that we have made in just a 3-month period of time.
Mr. JACKSON. I have got my own tennis shoes.
Mr. RUSH. We have got a paint brush for you, too. But I think the transition that happened so rapidly is because these guys had already had it in them. They already wanted to change. They already wanted to become solutions; they had solutions in them. They just didn't have the vehicles or the means to do it. All we have done was provided the support that we offer.
This morning I feel good, because this is a small thing for some people, but it is big to me. This morning, when I picked up Derrick, he didn't have his tie ready. You know, he said, ''Rico, can you tie my tie?'' And I felt like a father tying my son's tie. That is the kind of commitment that we have made to these guys. We will take them with us.
And, you know, the one thing we found out, this is where we tell other organizations, they told us a lot of people are seen coming and going, they come and go. But we told them that we were going to stick with them to the end. And we have made that commitment.
They committed to us that they are going to continue to do what they are doing. And as a result here, just last week, I did a presentation in a conference, a youth conference with kids from all over Chicago and Detroit. And I took a couple guys with me. It was amazing. It was on conflict resolution and conflict management. And you know, this--I stepped back. Two of the guys here now went to the flip chart and started talking about how conflict management worked in their own community.
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And they also did a skit, came up with their own skit. So they are already ready to give back to other communities, already ready to give back to the youth, already ready to show other people how to work for them. And this only in the 3-month period of time.
I am not going to take up a lot of the time. My son is telling me it's my third time saying it.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rush follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ARTHUR ''RICO'' RUSH, JR., ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN, WASHINGTON, DC
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 6 TO 9 HERE
Mr. RUSH. I want to turn it back over to--I think we are going to have our president, Pete Jackson, maybe tell you a little bit more about our group.
STATEMENT OF PETER L. JACKSON, PRESIDENT, ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN, LAUREL, MD
Mr. JACKSON. I thank Almighty God for this opportunity to be here today. I know that it's within his grace that he orchestrated all of this for us to be here. I thank you, Chairman Hyde.
There is a lot of thinking going on about our children. This is true for the Alliance of Concerned Men, and the other groups that are here today.
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We have a great concern. And our great concern comes from down deep. As Lieutenant Duckett had said, many, many times he had chased many of us down to lock us up and do things when we weren't doing the right thing, so to speak.
We have been blessed to overcome a lot of obstacles. We have been blessed to remember how God has graced us and taken us out of the neighborhoods and the projects and raised us up after jail terms and other things.
And that grace that he bestowed upon us is the commitment that we have to do this work. It's not how--it's many are called, but few are chosen. Many are qualified, but who will go? So you have got to have the heart and the will and not just the credentials.
Many of us have earned the credentials. I have a degree myself. I am an ex-offender. I am a deputy warden at the same institution that imprisoned me.
I feel that we have something to offer, because we all are champions in our heart. And that when we asked the young men, what did they want, they said they want a family, a job, and an opportunity. Just like everybody else in America, they wanted the American dream.
It was just that it was ripped from their grasp, because when they looked around, they saw decay. They didn't see anybody there to care for them. And it's not that they didn't care. Yes, they cared.
But when you look at a problem from afar, you can only see the hostility and the ravaging of the community. And you can only identify people by what you perceive from afar off.
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But when you live there, and when you come into the community, then you begin to see and understand that there's some warm-hearted, loving, caring people that just want a chance to be developed.
And the Alliance of Concerned Men, among others, Bob Woodson, who I thank God for, the housing receiver who took the path not of least resistance, but took the path to be revolutionary and step out and do something that was different and said I will employ these young men.
And with all those elements coming together, men who have been there, men and women who have been in trouble with the law--I am not saying that that is a prerequisition; I am saying that is a part of the commitment that grassroot organizations bring to the table.
We don't have to be told there is a problem. We know what the problems are, because we have already experienced it. And because of, like I said, the grace of God that brought us out of it, we want to go back in. We don't claim to have all of the solutions, but we do have a card. It's just as this badge that I have as a deputy warden. That is a calling card. Everybody knows me as a deputy warden.
I am a brother to the police force or all the other forces because of my badge. Well, my calling card is my life. My calling card is my understanding that I bring to severe problems when I see young men killing one another, when I used to have a pistol in my hand ready to take somebody's money and whop them myself and then do a little life.
So I am saying my calling card is knowing that I was out in left field, and someone, a 20-year vet, a 20-year man doing life in the prison turned me around. It wasn't the social worker; it wasn't my CMP officer. It wasn't all the things that were happening during my incarceration.
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It was a 20-year vet--a guy who had done almost 18 years who pulled up on me and got me straight. And then I began to listen to some people.
So the grassroot individuals are the ones who have the calling card, who can go in the community and make things right. So we just want to continue. We know that we are doing things just out of blood and guts, out of our cause. The Alliance of Concerned Men, have ridden down to Lorton on many a night, many a holiday. We have taken the babies down to see their fathers. It's called our bridging program.
And we understand that just because a man is incarcerated, that does not mean that he does not have an impact on his family. And so we have taken the kids, and they have done workshops, plays, and have called the school and found out about their grades. They are stopping problems right in the community, because we are able to bridge that gap.
And so we not only have done that, we have a program throughout the city called a Belief Program--Belief, Values, Images and Fears. And when the Alliance of Concerned Men take that program in to the youth, they listen, because we know whatever they are is determined by their belief, the images that they see on TV, the fears that they have within their community, and also the values that they learn.
And that is one of the things that we always start our meetings off with prayer. And they have become preachers. We have a few men in the Concerned Brothers that--and they close it out with prayer. And we are beginning to show them there is a spiritual side to this life, not just one that is for BMW's, looting, and robbing, and drug addiction, and all that. But there is a spiritual side to this life that is hiding in all of us.
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And I just thank the committee this day that we are able to play a part in being able to come here and say that grassroot groups do work. And we are working, and we are going to continue to do that.
And at this time, I will turn it over.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Jackson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PETER L. JACKSON, PRESIDENT, ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN, LAUREL, MD
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 10 TO 13 HERE
Mr. RUSH. Thank you. Turn it over to Tyrone, Tyrone Parker, who is our treasurer.
Mr. PARKER. Good afternoon, Chairman Hyde.
Mr. HYDE. Would you turn the switch?
STATEMENT OF TYRONE PARKER, PAROLE OFFICER, D.C. PAROLE BOARD, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. PARKER. Got you.
Good afternoon, Chairman Hyde, Mr. Conyers. My name is Tyrone Parker. I am the treasurer of the Alliance of Concerned Men. It's almost like we don't get to say it's going to be somewhat repetitious in the sense of what Rico has said and Pete Jackson, but the repetitious commitment of us as individuals, a grassroot organization, has allowed for the transition to transpire.
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We constantly go back to the kids who are on the corners and the group homes and the shelter homes. We are constantly going to the jails where the fathers--as Pete said, where a father's responsibility is not relinquished simply because he's confined.
We understand the direct connection of a man in the jail or a man that is--that is involved in some type illegal activity as to the transition of our community. It becomes our obligation as community persons and concerned individuals to begin to bridge this gap.
As we said, when we first went up to that particular area, these people were under house arrest. In their own homes, they had fears about doing certain things. This is not right, and it was not right. But it became our obligation to show the young men that had placed this situation into that--what they were doing to their community, what they were doing to their families.
And that was the most single factor, that you had community individuals, people that had concerns to go back to these communities and begin to teach and show these young brothers as to what their direction should be. And they were waiting for someone to come.
It wasn't like we just transpired a miracle overnight. God sent us in this direction. But they were there waiting. And this is the single factor that we must begin to teach other individuals that seem to believe that their community doesn't feel. They can't speak to the kids. They have reluctancies.
If they can begin to teach and begin to reach out and begin to understand that we have a commitment as a whole, then we can get rid of this particular image that our kids--our kids are a lost generation or they don't want anything.
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This is no more than a hoax that has been played on us as a people that's keeping us under a banner of being fearful, of being reluctant to reach out.
Grassroots organizations are the common denominator to help bridge this particular gap. Pete Jackson and Rico, our lives, our common experiences are testimonials to what can transpire.
Pete, who was in Lorton Youth Center 27 years ago, doing time, he now comes back as assistant warden. I, myself, who was in Lorton as a bank robber now come back as a probation officer in the interstate compact office.
When you look at Arthur Rico, who was a drug addict on the corner, now goes around the world working and saving people. These are commitments that everyday people can do if they've got the commitment to do it.
And we cannot sit back and let this situation of human lives go down the drain and say that this is not our problem. This is our problem on the whole. And we can solve our problem if we come together.
It's the unification of every component working together. As the spokes on the wheel, everybody has a part to play. And we can play this part, and we will play this part because the Alliance of Concerned Men will be there by our children's side when there are times of need. We will guide them out of this path of hell. And we will turn these brothers into what we know they can and will be--good, law-abiding citizens able to say, don't step on that grass, because I placed it there. This is what we can do.
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Mr. HYDE. Are there anymore----
Mr. RUSH. Oh, yeah. We haven't finished now.
Mr. HYDE. All right.
Mr. RUSH. Tyrone--like I said, you can see the spirit in here. I'm going to go with Wayne--we are going to go to the young men who----
Mr. HYDE. I just want to say this is powerful, heavy stuff. And I really don't want to turn this into a church meeting, I might violate some law or something, but God is at work with you, all of you. I've never felt his presence so much in any cathedral in the world as I have here today.
Mr. RUSH. Amen. Thank you, Congressman. Thank you very much.
I next give you Wayne Lee, who is the vice president of the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace.
STATEMENT OF WAYNE LEE, VICE PRESIDENT, ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED MEN OF BENNING TERRACE
Mr. LEE. Good afternoon, Members of the Congress. Alliance of Concerned Men, Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace, and all the visitors we have here this evening.
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I would like to first thank God for sending someone to see Darryl's vision that I didn't see until I got there. But I thank them for that. And, like I said, Lord, Darryl was the messenger to tell us to put our guns down. Maybe, if it weren't for Darryl's death, we probably still--I don't know where I would probably be right now.
Who would think that I would be in school, soon to graduate on July 3 and going to--and going to--and going to the telecommunications industry. Like I said, who else would think that I would be sitting before Congress to tell you all, you know, some of the things we went through and why I am happy to be here. Dang.
Mr. PARKER. Take your time. Take your time.
Mr. LEE. I would like to thank you all for allowing us to be here and let you all know that I won't let you all down.
The Alliance of Concerned Men and Mr. Bob Woodson were some of the key players in this little organization, telling us to put our guns down. And you all need more people like them around. Thank you.
Mr. RUSH. Next, we have Derrick, who is the president and visionary.
Mr. ROSS. Hello, everybody. I am not a good talker. I can talk, but I don't do it well.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We went through a lot, and we had done--changed a lot. The first thought in everybody's eyes or the media's eyes was, they can't do it. We have got people like media, police, all telling us: ''you all ain't going to do it.'' You all ain't going to do this.
We don't need negative impact like that. We need people like the Alliance of the Concerned Men to come in and help us. They came in when the police didn't even want to come in. They came in and helped us better ourselves.
But all we can do is help the little kids better themselves, because if they see us doing right, they're going to want to do right. If they see us doing wrong, they're going to want to do wrong. That's how the problem started. And it went down to the little kids now. It was time to stop. We had to change that. So I am going to go ahead and end it with that.
Mr. RUSH. OK. Next we will have one of our youngest--we have two young members here. He's the second youngest member of the Concerned Brothers in Benning Terrace, and that's Demetrius Pendarvis.
STATEMENT OF DEMETRIUS PENDARVIS, CONCERNED BROTHERS OF BENNING TERRACE
Mr. PENDARVIS. Good evening, Mr. Hyde, Chairman Hyde, and Members of Congress. I know living in the fast lane or whatever, I know you live for the day. And I never knew that doing good and being courteous to people that it would get me in front of Congress. And it feels good. It feels great.
And it just--you all should just come out and see it, because when--when all of the confusion and mayhem was going on and the destruction, you couldn't see no more than 10 people out in the whole complex. And it's like a six-block--six- or seven-block complex. And you see like 20 people on the whole complex.
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And now that everything is over, it's no more beef in there. Everybody got sense and put them guns down and put--picked up a tool.
It seems like it's kids I have never seen before just popping up. It seemed like, at first, I ain't never know there was that many kids. At first, it was like I may see 10, maybe 5, something like that kids. Now it seem like I see like a thousand of them. They just still popping up, still coming.
And it's really not--it's really the little rec we have, the facility that we have, it's not really big enough to hold that many kids. So they don't have nowhere to go to, but just be outside.
So we try to come out--to take them on the course to play basketball, play football. Let's go to the ice cream truck and stuff like that. But they need more--more places they can go to to have fun. They don't need to be on the streets. The streets ain't for--ain't for no--no one. That kind of gang right there ain't for no one; it ain't.
I wish I knew I had the chances they got now. I wish I had them. It's not--it's--it's just--it feels good to be--just to be here in front of a live Congress. It feels good, great. But thank you all. And we won't let you all down, like my brother Wayne said.
Mr. RUSH. Last, but not least, who really was the first with us, we have saved her for last is Ms. Ellen Mundaray, who is a lady that we've contacted, Tyrone and myself, went over and talked to to start the whole process. And she's a part of the Concerned Brothers, too. She's--we said the Concerned Brothers, but we do have two females working there. She's a secretary for the group. Ellen Mundaray.
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STATEMENT OF ELLEN MUNDARAY, SECRETARY, CONCERNED BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Ms. MUNDARAY. Good afternoon, Chairman Hyde and members. My name is Ellen Mundaray. I am the secretary of the Concerned Brothers and Sisters. I am also the secretary of Benning Terrace Resident Council and have held that position for 9 years.
I have lived in Benning Terrace for 10 years. And when I first moved there, Benning Terrace was really nice. In fact, it was beautiful. But over the past 3 years, we have had numerous killings in Benning Terrace, which has caused the property to deteriorate.
In January of this year, Arthur ''Rico'' Rush and Tyrone Parker from the Alliance of Concerned Men came to me asking what they could do, what is going on. These were their exact words. What can we do?
I, in turn, took them to meet with the guys on the avenue. That was the day of Darryl Hall's funeral. The next day, they came back to my house, and I took them to meet with the guys in the circle.
From there, they began to meet regularly. And they formed a truce. From this truce, they became the Concerned Brothers who have done tremendous work in our neighborhood. They have cleaned the graffiti off of the buildings. They do the painting. They have done the landscaping. Benning Terrace is really getting beautiful.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My concern and my hope is that you all will find the means to fund these organizations so that the Concerned Brothers can go on doing the good job that they are doing in our community, so that they will be able to hold their jobs.
I also would like to know that there will be enough funds so that these organizations of Concerned Brothers and the Alliances of Concerned Men can go on to other communities to help them bring their communities back together.
Anything else I need to say?
Mr. PARKER. No.
Mr. MUNDARAY. Thank you.
At one point, over the past 3 years, the community was so bad, little kids could not go out and play. Gunshots were fired all day long, during the time when the kids were coming home from school. The Concerned Brothers have done a wonderful job. They have given the children of the community two picnics. What else did they do? They have had two picnics for the children. They're doing nice things for the kids.
Now the kids can come outside and play. I can walk from my apartment building to the rental office during the day, excuse me, which at one time, I was unable to do because of gunshots.
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[The prepared statement of Ms. Mundaray follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ELLEN MUNDARAY, SECRETARY, CONCERNED BROTHERS AND SISTERS
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 14 TO 15 HERE
Mr. RUSH. Congressman Hyde, in closing, I would like to say that we have 30 people working because of Mr. Gilmore. And out of that 30, already we have two guys who have gone on to full-time employment with the Housing Authority in landscaping--already, two guys. We have four guys on laborer apprenticeship program who are about to graduate in a week. And we've got 6 months more to roll into that program. And we have got two guys who are in the telecommunication program. And Wayne is one, and he'll be graduating, as we mentioned.
The other thing is that not only has our group brought together the peace with the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace, but we have a whole community involvement, a whole community development. We have over 100 applications. People are walking up to us, even the members here, and saying I don't want to go to jail. I don't want to sell drugs. Give me a job. Please give me a job. Please let me be a part of this.
So we see a whole movement taking place. And now with Mr. Gilmore, who has come to the table with us, we were able to--we have gotten 6 months more people that we're getting ready to bring on board from the community who are going to be working with us. And the other people are going to be rolling out. So as they turn out--but we need more resources to help us continue this movement.
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We want to thank you, thank you very much for everything, and the time and effort. And we still want to invite you all out. Can we get a commitment from you guys to come out?
Mr. PARKER. Yes.
Mr. RUSH. Can we get a commitment?
Mr. PARKER. Come on out.
Mr. RUSH. Because, see, when we start out, we have a team, and our team has grown. And we have got so many people on the team. And these young guys see the results. And that's the part that they see. Everybody loves a winning team.
Mr. HYDE. If John will drive out, I will go with them.
Mr. CONYERS. If you've got tennis shoes, I will take you.
Mr. RUSH. I hope this is being recorded.
Mr. JACKSON. We will feed them when when they come out.
Mr. RUSH. We will feed you. Don't worry about the food.
Mr. HYDE. OK. Before----
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Mr. RUSH. Demetrius says, I hope they're good athletes, because they want to challenge you to a basketball game as well or maybe some golf.
Mr. HYDE. I invented a famous basketball phrase years ago. It's called: Get my men.
Before we call the last panel, Ms. Jackson Lee would like to address the panel.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to make sure that the gentlemen and lady in the front would recognize that there are some women here as well who may want to come out and visit. So I will wait on my invitation and be able to come out and join you.
I just simply want to say, this is a spiritual occasion. And I want to affirm the comments of the chairman that there is a beautiful spirit here.
Allow me, Mr. Chairman, just a moment, because I realize that there is another panel. I don't want us to get betwixt and between about faith-based versus government programs, because as you well may be aware, this whole concept of Federal funds and the separation between church and state is a totally different perspective from not giving you deference on what you do.
And I think there is no reason not to celebrate the spirit that you have in this, but understand, as we begin to look at funding programs, it is not in any way a negative comment on you that we are concerned that the churches can't do everything, and that it must be a partnership between government and community.
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And I want you to be aware of that when we begin to start looking at legislation when others may say, give it all to the church and the Government does nothing. I think we need to work together. That is my first point.
My second point is: In your discussions with these young brothers, and I am so very impressed, do you also add the history of their culture and community----
Mr. PARKER. Definitely.
Ms. JACKSON LEE [continuing]. Meaning that, all those who went before them, that they can be very proud.
I will ask the questions, and I will let you go ahead. Do you also talk about political involvement, and I would like to say governmental involvement or citizenship involvement, because they have so much to offer us.
Lastly, I understand you all have been incarcerated some. When I go to my district, I hear brothers say, we have been incarcerated, we have done our time, why can't we vote? Why do we get asked the questions when we come for applications, and they say, oh, you've been in jail, and their heads and their face drains, and they turn the other way. I am interested in offering legislation to take away the liability. If you've paid your time, you need to be able to vote.
Mr. PARKER. That's right.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. And I hope that someone will join me on this. And how we can help you help employers not look negatively--maybe somebody's been in the juvenile detention; maybe somebody's been in, like you've been in--that the employer does not look at you and say, oh, I can't hire you, you've been in jail.
If you would, help me answer those questions and help me work with those issues. I certainly want to applaud you for what you've done.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you.
Mr. RUSH. One of the things that we forgot to mention, too, that the First Rock Church that is in the community that we have our meetings, we still have meetings outside of the employment time, just on their own time, where they meet on Thursdays. So we still have meetings there at the church. And we have gotten involved with that. Tomorrow, in fact.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Just answer about the----
Mr. RUSH. What was the question now?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Political, cultural, and the thing about not voting.
Mr. RUSH. One of the things about--we have life skills classes as well.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. You have what kind of classes?
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RUSH. Life skills. Life skills, that we talk about a variety of subjects.
One of the things about the incarceration, I mean political part is, like we are saying--and I didn't mention the different phases of the program--is that we have the Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace where we are working on them getting incorporated. We have a president, vice president and treasurer.
And Tyrone has met with them the other day to talk about bylaws and talk about some of the same things that are run--the way the Congress is run, the way business is run. So we are giving it to them like in increments.
The other thing about the cultural thing, this program is still relatively new. And it's, as Demetrius said, we are just getting to working on the behaviors, you know, the attitudes and things like that. And then we are going to incorporate other things as we go along.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. The voting? Does anyone want to comment on the voting if you go to jail?
Mr. JACKSON. Well, I would say that, most certainly, that we are a viable resource. Being an ex-offender, I know the hardships of being an ex-offender. That is why my heart goes out to many of the men that come out, pay their dues, and can't get a job. They suffer very badly. Then we want to know, why are the men going back to jail? They are going to back to jail because either their family won't accept them, their community won't accept them, or they don't have anybody that wants to take a chance on them.
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And one of the reasons why I am so thankful today, that we are here today, that we can have Bob Woodson and others in the grassroots here across America, that we know that there is a definite need for advocacy for ex-offenders, that we know that we need transition homes where people can stop by and get some services and be able to prevent things like what happened to Terrence Johnson, who was out here, lost his grant to go to college or law school, got some bad advice from somebody, took the bad advice instead of reaching out to a grassroots group that could have assisted him or helped him, took some bad advice from his brother, and ended up killing himself. He didn't really mean any harm to the establishment, but he was so embarrassed--embarrassed that he had let down everybody that believed in him.
Ex-offenders, just like people coming back from the Vietnam war, need somebody to advocate for them, need society to open doors for them, business people to take a chance on them.
I have been working in the government for 27 years, 27 years and 6 months, getting ready to retire. And I have received all accolades and praise. And I know other ex-offenders just like me. All we need is a chance.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence. And I would like to see Mr. Conyers' bill come to a hearing in this committee. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you for making that point.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to thank you, gentlemen. This has been a great afternoon. Thank you. And gentlelady, too; excuse me.
For our final panel, we're going to hear about successful neighborhood-based youth intervention programs in Hartford, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Antonio, and New York.
Our first witness will be Carl Hardwick, a long-time volunteer youth counselor and gang intervention leader from Hartford, CT. Over the last three decades, Mr. Hardwick has negotiated truces in dozens of gang incidents and turned violent youths toward productive lives.
We will next hear from Deputy Chief Deborah Hawes-Brown of the Hartford Police Department, who has worked hard to bring law enforcement and community-based intervention programs together to attack the problems of our inner cities more effectively.
Omar Jahwar will testify about his experiences as a gang intervention counselor in Dallas, TX. Although only 23, he's credited with helping dozens of troubled and violent young people lead peaceful, more productive lives. He was recently honored by President Clinton for his efforts and is the recipient of a 1997 Achievement Against the Odds Award.
Next is Leon Watkins, founder of the Family Help-Line in Los Angeles, a program that assists inner-city youth by expanding their employment opportunities. He formerly served as a program coordinator for cities in schools in Los Angeles and advised the President's task force convened in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots.
Following Mr. Watkins' remarks, we will hear from Rev. Juan Rivera. He is copastor of Victory Fellowship, a ministry in San Antonio, TX. Victory Fellowship has received national acclaim for its success in helping more than 13,000 hardcore drug addict and alcoholics turn their lives around.
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And, finally, Christopher Griffin is a big brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York. He's here today with his little brother Denver Pearson. Mr. Griffin will tell us about a special Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for children referred by the police to family court. He and Denver will tell us how Denver went from being a chronic truant to a good student.
At the conclusion of this panel's testimony, Robert Woodson of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise will share his final thoughts with us about today's hearing.
And I expect in a few minutes, we will have a visit also from the Speaker of the House.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you try to limit your oral presentations to 5-minutes so we may get to everybody. Your written testimony will be inserted in the record in its entirety and will ultimately be published.
And so, Mr. Hardwick, you'll be recognized first. Welcome, sir.
STATEMENT OF CARL HARDWICK, LEADER, HARTFORD YOUTH CRIME PREVENTION, HARTFORD, CT
Mr. HARDWICK. Good evening, Chairperson. My name is Carl Hardwick. I am from Hartford, CT. And before I begin, I do want to recognize some individuals that I brought in that--and I would ask them to stand up: Jeanie Case, Ken Nohardy. Herman Santron. Linda Brush. And Aquile Hardwick. Aquile Hardwick happens to be my son.
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One of the things I learned when Bob mentioned the commercial--commercial, you can spend more time with other folks. And when I find my son bopping around, and I've got to find out how do I spend time with him, what's the balancing act in that? This is important.
What happened in Hartford is very significant. I have been in this particular area since 1978. In fact, I started with Bob in the Urban League with the first gang workshop with Shock Fattah and Sister Falaka Fattah, Fat Rob. And we moved to Leon with Crips and Bloods.
And we asked ourselves, what happened? What are the things that we learned from the Magnificent Twenties to the Los Solidos to the Latin Kings to the Twenty Loves. What have we learned?
We have seen gangs come about from a thousand. And then I seen them reemerge in Connecticut. Several murders that happened. What worked and what--what happened. What was the prediction that we didn't listen to that we are bringing you today. What do you have to pay attention to?
Because what we said, we said in the 1970's, it wasn't heard. We said it in the 1980's. They didn't hear it. And here we are in the 1990's, and the problem had grown a lot bigger than what we can ever imagine. It was predicted.
The people that I mentioned have a lot to do with success. And what we say is that those problems, those solutions lie in the community.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Hartford, we had a severe gang problem. Los Solidos, Latin King, very strong. Los Solidos probably 13,000 strong. Twenty Love, 8,000. Numbers were growing rapidly.
We asked ourselves what was attracting young people to that kind of activity? What was missing in the community? What was missing in the community was the family, the extended family. And they found that they had to find other families. And those families became negative, even though the intent was to be positive.
The question was: What was the solution? As I work with young people, what I found out was that, in terms of doing mediation, how do we get them to bring it to the table rather than bring it to the street. Once the actions start and there was a murder, there was a reaction, and there was several more. And no one wanted to go to the table. What were the solutions out there?
In 1994, there was a murder in Belleview Square public housing. Jackson died. Right after that, there was another murder. And there were five murders back to back. What happened? And for the first time, the police realized that there was a problem, and they could not solve it.
We had to bring the individual leadership to the table. And in bringing that leadership to the table, we were able to turn that community around, to stop the murders.
We made a commitment to do that. And how do we do that? We have individuals that were enforcers in the gang that we turned into peacemakers. Why did they do that? What were they looking for? What were the solutions that they had? What are the things that they brought? What are the things that we brought to the table? And as we bring things to the table, we asked them, whatever happens here you bring back to the street.
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What we found out was that, in doing--reaching the individuals in the gang, because we could not break up gangs, what we had to do, and what I found that worked, was you changed the solution of gangs. You change it from a negative to a positive. It is always like 20, 60, and 20. Sixty percent is going to go in for drugs, and negative drive-by shootings, I don't care what you do. Twenty percent. Sixty percent are going to go in and out for sneakers and going to be down. There's another 20 percent that is going to be down, but they are going to be doing positive things.
How do you take that 60 that is in and out and move it over to the positive and then you can influence the rest? You can't wipe it out, we find out, but you can change the behavior. And that is what we attempted to do in Hartford.
How did we do that? There was a collective effort. And that collective effort was looking at what are the skills that members have? Well, we knew gang members were entrepreneurs. And we knew they were just selling the wrong thing.
So how do we get them to sell the right thing? And that was that they had beautiful skills. And Jeanie Case wanted to open up a laundromat. Bookman, who cut hair, wanted to have a barber shop. Bird wanted to do a bakery. And they went about their business plans. Unfortunately, they did the plans. They did the homework. Because what we said to the community was that, I don't care what you build on the street. You can put $40 million here. If there is a drive-by shooting, nobody is going to go. A bullet doesn't have a phone number, address, or a name. Wherever it penetrates, that stops businesses.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We said that we had to save young people. My job is, how do we stop them from going to jail. We looked at the head of those gangs. One of them received 1,300 years in jail. The other one talked to the Latin King Sunday, got 45--47 years underneath the jail and got to do connective life. It's a gross use.
In the State of Connecticut, we spend $57,000 a year to lock them up. We spend more to send people to jail than we do to send them to Yale.
My question is: How do we curb it? How do we save our young people? That is our future. What are we talking about? Right now, young people that are coming behind them think the rights of passage is to go to jail. That is the rights of passages. How do we change that? We change the behavior of those that is doing negative into something positive.
All I do is work with those and go into the streets when there is a beef and try to negotiate them to the table. If I can get them to the table, then I can be successful.
Linda Brush has worked very hard, moved from the suburbs, talked like she wanted to help people. But she didn't only talk, she put an action behind it. Opened her house up. We looked at Sister Fattah and what she did. So we know what worked. We know what Fat Rob did. We know what Steven Holter did. The fact that he was a gang member, head of the biggest gang at one point, Magnificent Twenties, 1,000 strong, then turned around, and we look at where the gangs came out of the community, now we see them going out of the institutions.
So what was the Magnificent Twenty became Twenty Love. What was the Ghetto Brothers became--and the Park Street Posse began to be the Los Solidos. And we watched them grow.
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And what we had to do was change the behavior. And in doing that, we found out that, in working through them, and as they believed in us, because they did it themselves, they were the ones that came to the table, we said, look, stop it, just like that. Like that light there, you know, you've got red, caution, and green. Green means go. Yellow means caution. Put the stop on the violence out there.
And they did that. And they were committed to do that. What we found out in the process of doing that, is that we need other help. The resources were not there. There was loss of family. The extended family did not exist. The church was not running to the problem. A lot of cases, they were running from the problem.
So what we had to do was take what we had and get people to believe that they were the future, they were the future of our country. And that, if we incarcerate you, what kind of future did we have?
My kid had to walk the street, and I knew that. And when there were gang plague in the Hartford, even individuals that weren't in the gang, you find a drop in the population of going to school, because people were--didn't want to get associated with a drive-by shooting. That was my man. I am not down, but they might think I am down. And they might blow me away, too. So people were actually hiding. When we got the peace, then the attendance in school went sky high.
What we do now is we try to work through the GED. We recognize that people cannot work in what we call structure programs. And we need alternative programs through the learning center. We are constantly fighting the battle of trying to get what Bird and them do, the leaders of the gangs, to go back to the street, to turn this image around. Because, somehow, it is fashionable to belong to something, to belong to something that is negative. But if they see Bird, they see Bookman, they see Jeanie doing something positive, he can have effect on thousands of kids that I can't help, because the tone has been set. This tone has been set in a very negative way.
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In the process of doing that, what happened was, we found out that there was some successes that we couldn't deal with. There were problems that they couldn't deal with. We had to put our trust in someone else. We had to trust the police. They recognized that there were violence that were coming about. And as they brought those things to me, I would bring it to someone else in the police department.
At that point, I would turn to the deputy chief. They recognized that it had to be a collective effort, that they could not solve those individual problems by themself. When it came to violence that they could not control, that they had to bring those to someone else that they know that they could get good results.
So, in short, I am saying this to say that, that the solutions that we had came from the grassroot neighborhoods. It came from a collective effort, not just the gang members recognizing that, if they want peace, that they had to work with anybody in the community, including the police.
And once we established that relationship, we still got problems. But we know that what we tell them, before you take it to the street, bring it to the table. And if we can get it at the table, we won't have any drive-by shootings. And that is what we are attempting to do. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hardwick follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CARL HARDWICK, LEADER, HARTFORD YOUTH CRIME PREVENTION, HARTFORD, CT
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INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 16 TO 20 HERE
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Hardwick.
Next, Deborah Hawes-Brown--I hate to step on a fellow's applause. I am sorry.
Next, Deborah Hawes-Brown, the deputy chief of police of the Hartford Police Department, Hartford, CT.
Deputy Chief Hawes-Brown.
STATEMENT OF DEBORAH HAWES-BROWN, DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE, HARTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT, HARTFORD, CT
Ms. HAWES-BROWN. Good afternoon, everyone, Chairman Hyde, Speaker of the House, Mr. Gingrich, Members of Congress, and distinguished guests and friends.
I have been employed by the Hartford Police Department for over 23 years, serving in numerous capacities. Gang violence, gang activity, youth violence, numerous drive-by shootings paralyzed the city of Hartford approximately 6 years ago. The police response to it was to put together a task force involving numerous police agencies. This had some results. But far more effective results were those that involved collaborations by grassroot, community-based agencies and individuals in the community.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you thought that I was going to sit and tell you that law enforcement has all the answers, well, I am not. If you thought that I was going to tell that the answer is what I have been brainwashed to hear over 23 years--build more prisons, hire more police--well, let me tell you, it's not the answer. It is a very small part of a larger problem.
What I will tell you, as the highest ranking law enforcement person in the State of Connecticut, what I will tell you as an advocate and a strong supporter of community-oriented policing, which calls for partnerships, what I will tell you, as a single parent of three children, having adopted two as a single parent through the State of Connecticut, what we call those at-risk children, what I will tell you, after visiting numerous law enforcement agencies in the country and being asked to speak, I don't know what a gang youth looks like. I don't know what a youth at risk looks like. I don't know any bad children. But I do know that there are a lot of young people out there that we have failed to embrace, that we have not taken responsibility for, that we have gone home, closed our doors, shut the blinders, and said, ''my kids are safe. It is not my problem.''
The solution, the responsibility is for each and every one of us to go out and embrace those youth. It is to channel the technical support and the financial resources into those community-based programs that work.
When it all started for me probably or when it peaked was about 6 years ago. There was a young girl that was seated in the back of her family car. Her name was Marcelina Delgato. She was 9 years old at the time. Her sister, Rosanna, was seated on the right side. Her sister, Marie, was on the left side. Her father, Angel, was driving the car. Her mother was a passenger on the front seat.
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They were going to deliver milk to their mother. The car was mistaken for a rival gang car. Someone shot a barrage of bullets from some gun I can't even tell you the name of. Her father ended up taking two or three bullets in the stomach. Marcelina ended up taking a bullet to the head.
I stayed at the hospital with the family from the time that it happened until 2 o'clock that morning. When I went home, I couldn't sleep. The next week, I couldn't function. I knew that at that time the police could not do anything.
We could not begin to stabilize this family. I could not promise her sisters when I met with them the next day that it is going to be OK, that when they go back to their mother's house, the same thing won't happen. I couldn't make those promises.
So what it--what it did for me is to reach out inside myself and to realize that the most effective tool to stabilizing our neighborhood is collaborations that involve Carl and Jeanie and Book and those individuals who are in the communities and community based agencies. It is the whole collaboration.
There isn't a week that goes by that I am not asked to go to a particular school and speak to a group of youth, whether it is conflict resolution or anger management or policing. And I have their attention, but only to a little degree. But when Book or Jeanie or Big Bird goes up and speaks to them, they listen, because they have been there. They have seen it. And they have done it.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So if Big Bird and the other individuals can go out and do some of that, and the police can do it, and the churches and the ministers, and all the testimony that I have heard here today, and if we do what we are supposed to do and channel those resources into those entities, then I know we can save our youth. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Hawes-Brown follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DEBORAH HAWES-BROWN, DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE, HARTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT, HARTFORD, CT
I have been employed by the Hartford Police Department for 23 years. Gang activity in Hartford peaked about 4 years ago when we were plagued by many drive-by shootings and senseless acts of violence. The response was a collaborative effort by the FBI, police and city agencies, and also--and this had most tangible results--efforts within the community by mentors and ''coaches'' which could gear the young people to positive activities. One of the most important times for the children was after school, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
A coordinated effort was launched involving community based agencies, the police department, and grassroots leaders such as Carl Hardrick an the people he worked with. When an incident of violence occurred or was about to occur a team was sent into that section of the community, talking about the incident, bringing the people past it, and bringing peace to the area. Most of the coaches came from the communities they worked with and Carl Hardrick had a lot to do with the hiring of the coaches. Many of the coaches are former family gang members.
The goal of the police was to arrest the offenders whenever it was possible, but there was also an important goal of this collaborative effort to reach the young people who were being recruited by the gangs and to turn them around and to see that that was not the life that was most productive for them. This was the function of the coaches.
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In addition, one other collaborative program including community leaders, health officials, and the police was launched, a violence-intervention program which was created to identify, work with and assist children who had witnessed violence. The need for this program came to national attention 3 or 4 years ago when a young girl traveling in her family's car with her sisters and parents was shot and killed by gang members who mistook the vehicle for a rival gangs'. Community people who knew the people and the families in the neighborhood were available to work with the witnesses and to find out what could be done on a community level to stop this violence.
In addition to block watches, one of the responses that were developed on the community level were safehavens. In many of the areas adults volunteered who would be home to watch out for the children. The children were told that if any danger should arise they could flee to the homes of these neighbors. Volunteers worked to make sure that libraries and schools would be open in the evenings so that the children would have a place to go. Finally, the community provided positive role models who would go to the schools and volunteer their time.
Guidance was also provided for young people who wanted to leave gangs. The churches, community groups and social and civic organizations also set up programs for the youth in conflict resolution and anger management.
Young people who have had personal experiences with gangs are one of the most valuable resources in this effort and the effort to turn other youths in a positive direction. As a police officer, I can go into a school and talk about the importance of staying out of gangs and listening to your parents and the kids will listen to me somewhat. But if a former gang person goes in there and says ''I've been there, done that. That's not the life you want to lead. It's not as glorious as it appears on TV,'' they will have the complete and undivided attention of the kids.
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It takes all of the pieces. And if we are all giving the same message we can have an impact. Crime in the city has dropped nearly 20 percent since last year.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Chief Hawes-Brown.
Next Omar Jahwar, gang intervention counselor from Lancaster, TX. Mr. Jahwar.
STATEMENT OF OMAR JAHWAR, GANG INTERVENTION COUNSELOR, LANCASTER, TX
Mr. JAHWAR. I want to say good afternoon to Chairman Hyde and Speaker Gingrich. And I would like to thank the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprises for allowing me an opportunity to speak before this subcommittee. And I would like those who accompanied me from Vision Regeneration to stand. These are the constituents here. Gary Scott, and Pamela Weevey, and our two young people, Vincent Acunia and Juan Ventura, who I now work with. And I just wanted them to know that I appreciate them, also.
In order to be effective in deterring a child from becoming involved in criminal activity, our intervening in their lives once they have already become involved, it is necessary to pursue the core of the problem. There are a number of variables that are often cited as the root of youth crime, ranging from economic disparity, cultural insensitivity, the lack of social identity.
But intervention or reform cannot be a cookie-cutter process. It can't be a blanket solution to each category of dysfunction. The resocialization of human life is as individualized as fingerprints. And it's a mistake to only look to institutional structures to hound the rehabilitation of children involved in the criminal justice system.
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A grassroots worker gets to know the family, they get to know the neighborhood, and the individual that he or she is working with. The youthful offender, instead of being labeled as the standard young Hispanic male or the standard young black male in a gang, as the institution sometimes does, becomes an individual with a personality, with a life, with a history.
And once you get to know that personality or get to know that person as an individual, you ask start dealing with that person in a more substantial way and in a way that works for that individual. That is the only way that reform would take place on a personal and individual basis.
I can say that, because I stand today as one of three young men, as Vincent and Juan, for which incarceration contained, but it could not cure me. It was only when time was given by people who were not funded, but they were faithful, people who were not licensed, but they listened, people in the neighborhood who took interests in me, people like my brother, Amand Rashidi, who sits in the front row, who took time to look beyond what was I was doing and looked at my potential and saw what I could be. People who loved me for who I was.
They epitomized the diligence and the effectiveness of grassroots work. And as a 24-year-old man--I said I am 23, but I just had a birthday, so I am 24 now. But as a 24-year-old man, I stand, as well as these young man stand, and I can say truly that I am cured from the disease of criminal behavior. And, thankfully, there were people who took an interest in my life, people who were not legislated to take an interest, they just took the interest.
And the tatoos that used to imprison my potential, they now serve as scars from healed wounds, closed lifestyles, and from former allegiances. I know that sometimes that giants standing in the holes, these giants are people that I saw, like the Alliance of Concerned Men, our brother here, and so many others who spoke, sometimes giants who stand in holes look small, while midgets who sit and stand on hills look tall.
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But I urge you not to allow lobbying agents, don't allow degrees, don't allow democratic structure to stop the real progression of grassroots agency.
I want to say to Bob Woodson, I thank him for his fate--his faith that created the faithfulness that brought about the change in so many of these young people's lives. I thank him for that. And I urge you and those who sit here, those who can listen, and those who can make a difference to support grassroots intervention, because I am a living witness that it works. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Jahwar follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF OMAR JAHWAR, GANG INTERVENTION COUNSELOR, LANCASTER, TX
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIO 21 HERE
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Jahwar.
Next, Leon Watkins, founder and president of Family Helpline, Los Angeles, CA.
STATEMENT OF LEON WATKINS, DIRECTOR, FAMILY HELPLINE, LOS ANGELES, CA
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WATKINS. Good afternoon, Chairman Hyde, Speaker Gingrich, Congressman Conyers, and all the distinguished Members of the Congress.
I started working with gang members in the early 1970's. I used to come home from my job before I--I would like to give honor to God before I start--finish this, for saving my life. Because he took me from where I was going and turned me around and brought me here and allowed me to meet a Mr. Bob Woodson and his family. I thank God for that. And I thank God for his son, Jesus Christ.
As I was saying, I came home from work, and I saw these young people standing on the corner, and it reminded me of me when I was young. As some of you can see, I am a relatively large man. And I see some of these kids who are large in stature, but their hearts are small. Somebody had to reach out. Nobody reached out to me.
But I began to reach out to them, because I found out that, if you don't go to them, they are not coming to you. So what I did, I had a vision, literally. I wrote a proposal. It wasn't for money. It was for me to give to the local politician, because I believe what Congressman Lee said. We need to be a partnership. There is no way we can do this without everybody doing what they are supposed to do.
And I gave it to him. And he told--all I wanted him to do was to give me permission to tell the community that we were in partnership, and here's what I wanted to do.
So what I did, I had a plan. I went out and put reward posters up all over the community. And the reward poster said, we have a $200 reward for arson, murder, drive-by shooting, whatever, whatever. And I put the number down. And it was a phone booth. But what it did, it got the attention of the neighborhood, the young people.
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They began to tear the posters down. And we had--I had formed the Saint Pedro Street Business Association by the way. It was a group--I found out that, in the community, you have got to form the businesses to give. That is another part of the partnership.
So we put them up. They tear them down. My goal was to meet the leader of the gang. You cannot work with any community without working with some of the leaders. So I met the leader of the gang. One day, I was in the alley, paying off Dirty Red for working some things he was doing for us. And then Quake and his boys pulled up in a car. I never saw Quake before. And he said--well, by the way, you can imagine what he looked like, because I didn't never--I never saw him before. And he pulled up, and he said, ''I heard you were looking for me.'' And I said, ''Who are you?'' He said, ''I'm Quake.'' I said, ''Yeah, I want to find out what you want to do with the rest of your life.''
And we began to dialog from there. And from that one--that one association began to affect--it was an infection that affected that gang in that area. And they--it wasn't a gang. They're my brothers. I am their big brother. And I--see everybody has a problem at one time or another. Some people can pay for psychiatrists and stuff and you go to them. Some need us to infect each other.
That gang--I am not a gang buster. I never have been. I never will be. There is no such thing as gang busters. The gangs have to implode from within from their own volition. What we did is put an infection in from the leader. He, in turn, did the rest. He accepted Christ in his life, which affected 17 others. That broke the back of that gang.
And during that time period, it's heavy. I have the distinction of coming from the gang capital of the world. What do you do? What do you do? So I began to look and see how these kids reacted to when someone gave them a little attention.
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We did the first graffiti removal with a gang in the city of Los Angeles. They got all the media attention. Everybody came. Everybody saw. They couldn't believe it. They gave every one of them, it was 62 of them, they gave them all certificates. And that was it.
And during that time period, people didn't have the vision to understand that you have to come on and see--see, once you take something away from somebody, you've got to replace it with something that is positive.
I didn't have the resources. All I had was my life and my family's life to give. We did that. We did that. We kept going on and kept going. I had a vision. I still have it.
I went on. In my neighborhood now, the gang has imploded. It's not as strong as it could have been. Some neighborhoods, the gangs take over the neighborhood. This one, they couldn't get it together because it--it stopped.
But I had another vision. It is--I did it in my neighborhood. What about the city? So the vision was to have a day of peace. This happened in the 1980's. I know that you hear about the treaties they got now. This is way before that. I worked 6 months with the radio station and a few people, some folks that were interested. And we wanted to get a day of peace in Los Angeles, just 1 day.
So we took 6 months to do that, one day of peace. We put it on the radio where the gang members could call in, we could--that's what the Family Helpline does, by the way. They can call in, we can talk to them with people there.
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And you would be surprised, the phone--this--I have already given my honor to God. I tell you the truth. The phone system blew up. So many calls came through. They had to go get and replace it because the kids wanted to talk. They wanted to get out. They wanted to do this. Mothers brought their kids down to the radio station. Gang leaders came down. It would seem to me, at that time, somebody should have rushed in and said, OK, let's build on this thing. We got something going here. Nothing. It was like it didn't happen. It was like--it is like now, when you hear all these things going on now about what grassroot people can do, who's going to do something now? We are here. We are here. We have proven that there are solutions to these things.
So we did a season of peace. We got 500 kids to come, 500. They came. So we went to the peace thing, peace--and, now, finally, the peace came, and then people want to jump on it. But the kids said, look, we did all this peace things. Now you--you come to us, and nobody wants to help.
And all I am saying is to you is that peace is its own reward. If you save one child, you're saving the world. It is not just in the neighborhoods. We are talking about--see, a spirit goes all across the universe to me. Negativity has no bounds, it's just something positive stops it.
What can we do? Right now, I address seven, 800 kids where I am at. I have some influence over those kids. I, too, write plays. I think that plays have an important role in a kid's life. But they want something more. They believe in what you say. I have the gift, God has given me a gift to affect kids. It is not me. It is not me. It is God has given me a gift to affect these kids' lives.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I need help. I came here today looking for some assistance from you. That is all. I am not asking for any money. Although I did it for 8 years for no money. Eight years, I was in a basement working out--and always said there was no windows. And when I get a window, I don't know what I will do. But I worked 8 years in a basement.
Bob would come and help me. Bob would come down in the basement, he came down--see he came down, Bob, with this kind of guy. In the neighborhood where I live, you can't wear--you couldn't wear a lot of red. Bob Woodson, I looked up in the neighborhood one day, Bob Woodson came down in my neighborhood wearing a red shirt, brightest red shirt as you can find. That is the kind of person he is. But I had to quickly get him and take him.
But my point of it is, he helped us, he helped me with technical assistance. And I'm not able--all the accolades go to Bob. Bob is doing what God told him to do. I have a lot of respect for Bob Woodson. We need more.
One more thing I want to say right quick, the political divisions that we have from high up, here on the Hill and on the--in the low lands and whatever, it filters down to local things, to people. Because, sometimes, all the bickering and arguing that goes on, it comes down to local people. People--the kids that--one of the kids told me, said, look, you've got your politicians, and they are not helping you, and you can't even help us, because they are always at each other's throat. That causes a lot of conflict.
This is a people problem. It is time for us to give people solutions. If you got some people in this room that really want to go out and do what they say, and they are doing it, and you can see they are doing it, to me, it seems like somebody should want to take credit for it. I would.
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If I was sitting on the other side, hearing this, I would be trying to find out what could I do to take some credit, to see, you know, maybe, I can get something out of it, if I was that kind of person. But the credit shouldn't be for a negative. It should be for something that has to be done.
We are a dying society. You are watching the beginning of the end. I am here to warn you. And I am not warning you on the--on the riots and all of that. I am talking about the moral decay. We are on the--we are in the beginning.
If you don't come and do something now and put aside all of our differences, it is like an invasion of somebody coming from out of space. That Independence Day, everybody--they came together when that came. You remember all those people always come together to get--to get the aliens. Then they go back to fighting again or whatever.
But in this case, the people are already here, they are not going anywhere. We have to come together in that same sort of sense of urgency, to begin to see and do what we can to help one another.
And before I leave, I have got two gentlemen here that came. Now, these are gentlemen from different factions. One comes from the Blood neighborhood and one is from a Cuz neighborhood. They they have been working with me. One has his own program, called the Four Seasons. That is David Hurrell. He has started his own program to help kids. And Tiwan Franklin. I wanted to start a basketball team. I think sports are important, but that is not everything. I wanted to start, and I needed a coach. Tiwan Franklin became the coach of the team. And I told Bob, I wrote a play, I am a playwright, I can write a good play, I can write the play. But he is an actor. I found the kid can act. So they have got a lot of things they can do if you would take time to really give some of us--some of us older fellows that didn't get a chance to do when we were younger, we can help.
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Why don't you just partnership? I like what Congresswoman Lee said. It has to be a partnership, but I think everybody needs to know their role. Sometimes we need to try to get into things we shouldn't be in. I am not here to politic. I am here to do what I do from the grassroots level and just to show what we show you we could do. I am so proud to be around these people. Aren't you proud to see these people that come here? I am so proud to be a part of this, I could just sing. But you don't want to hear me do that.
I want to close right here by saying how good it has been to be here, and I hope something comes out of this. I think with the welfare reform, we tried to do some things, and we are still waiting on that. That welfare reform thing is still going on, but we got problems here. But we need to begin to take some of these positive solutions, and let's do something with it as a group. Let's give them a hand for a change.
It is time, and I am going for real, but I see all you guys on TV all of the time. I look at CSPAN, and I said one of these days, and the vision came through. Here we are together, and I said, I wonder what I am going to say, and it is good seeing you again. You need us, and we need you. Let's work together. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Watkins.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Watkins follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF LEON WATKINS, DIRECTOR, FAMILY HELPLINE, LOS ANGELES, CA
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I first became active in gang intervention and work with at-risk youths in 1979. I got involved because I saw young men and girls just hanging out on the corner and it reminded me of my youth when I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. When I saw them, I felt in my heart that I should do something about their situation.
My first step was to engage the business community in the neighborhood. I started the San Pedro Street Business Association to work with these kids, with a goal of finding them jobs and preparing them for life. I wanted to get them back in school and show them another way by using the community itself. I went business to business, and then had a big meeting with the businesses, residents and the kids. The neighborhood responded and, to me, that was very important because I believe that the community is a key element in addressing our nation's youth problem. The people have to understand how important their contribution can be and you have to get them involved.
In addition to the kids who were just loitering on the corners, there was an active gang problem in the neighborhood as well. Through extortion, the young gang members would force shop keepers to put food and money out in the back of their stores for them every week so they could go on picnics. If they didn't do it, they would threaten to burn the store down or rob the store. They would put their clothes in the dry cleaners on Monday and then break in to get them out on Wednesday. They were terrorizing the neighborhood with drive by shootings. The situation was terrible.
To reach those gang members I sought out their leader, a youth named Quake. I knew that he would be an essential part of the solution. It took a while to locate him, but one day I came face to face with him in an alley and he said that he heard I'd been looking for him. I said I had and I wanted to talk about what he wanted to do with his life. In time we developed a friendship and a mutual trust developed. He was an intelligent guy and he saw what we were trying to do. At that time we wanted to launch a central project to get the gang working positively together. There was graffiti throughout the neighborhood and I suggested a project to clean up those buildings. They agreed to the project, and all they asked for in return was a dance. We got all the gang members involved, the active ones and the ones on the fringes. We were the first community group to do graffiti removal in Los Angeles--with Quake and his 62nd Street East Coast Crips.
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You cannot work with a gang without contacting the leader. You at least have to let him say yes or no and then you'll know what to do. The association put ''reward'' posters up through the neighborhood for witnesses of drug sales, burglaries, arson and other destructive activities. It was all part of the process. That caught attention and it helped with the process. The graffiti stayed off the walls.
In spite of the cooperation of the kids, I found it difficult to create the opportunities that I needed. Many people in the neighborhood and police department didn't believe that the kids could change.
I needed to do what they are doing now, setting up a program of job training and educational training. We needed resources especially to get the older kids into a work-readiness program or a GED program. But people were too skeptical to offer the resources we needed. After a while it was difficult to keep hold of the kids. We could do just enough to keep them from causing destruction.
A lasting transformation is difficult to bring about without the cooperation of the community and the powers that be. I wanted to refurbish an abandoned fire house as a central facility but the city wouldn't allow us to do that. Many times the government can't see what is needed. Some city officials backed out because it was not a popular thing to do, to support gang members. Government entities have resources and they can do certain things that are needed--and they should. I am not saying that the government should do everything, but that we should be partners.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When Quake came with me, some of his gang members followed him, but he had to go against other members. When some of the guys came out of jail they would attack him. But he stood by me. Most of those who opposed him are now dead or in jail, and because of that internal break the gang could never get the foothold it had. Quake is an important person. He played an important role. And he benefited from that process too. He was a notorious person who probably would have been dead by now. But I didn't have the resources that were necessary to provide those kids with the opportunities they needed. Quake is 36 now and he is homeless.
I think that what we did in Los Angeles helped to establish a model of what it takes to work with a gang. It takes personal investment over a period of time, and it takes community involvement. We even got calls from other gang members throughout the city who asked us to come and work in their neighborhoods. There's a concept that nothing can compete with gangs, but with personal commitment and investment many of the kids will respond. You have to know what you're looking for. I'm not a ''gang buster,'' but I want to reach the youths who want to change and give them an opportunity. In every gang there are different levels of activity. There are probably 60 percent of the members of every gang who are just involved because they don't see any other way, and those are the ones I am trying to reach. If you set up a situation to show them how they clan benefit, most of them will take it. The heavier the entrenchment, the harder it is to get out. As new gangs spring up they are not as entrenched and you have to try to reach them before they get deeply engaged in that life style. You have guys that want to work and want to go to school but they don't see how they can do it. That's why it is important for everything to work in concert--communities, schools, and government officials--with grassroots leaders who know the neighborhood in the lead. A city youth gang service project once tried to do intervention in Los Angeles, but the project failed because they didn't understand how to approach the situation. They hired kids who were still involved with gang activity. The city ultimately cut the project. It failed because it lacked vision. You have to have vision and understanding of a situation before you can address a problem. You have to know what to do, how to do it and who to do it with. You just can't come in and announce ''This is what we're going to do.'' You have to get people who live in the neighborhood and know what's happening, people who have been in it and have changed their mind and heart, people who are committed to the kids and have respect from the community.
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There are a lot of experts In our nation's low-income communities that no one on the outside recognizes. The problem that we are facing will determine the future of our youth. We cannot afford to let elitism get in the way, or to allow political affiliation or ideology to block us from working together to forge a solution. There is no question that we need to work together, for the sake of our communities and our young people.
Mr. HYDE. Second, the Rev. Juan Rivera, the assistant pastor, San Antonio, TX.
Reverend Rivera, few of these folks were at the luncheon. Your remarks were very inspirational, so if you want to repeat them, that is all right with me. Whatever you want to say.
STATEMENT OF REV. JUAN RIVERA, ASSISTANT PASTOR, VICTORY FELLOWSHIP, SAN ANTONIO, TX
Reverend RIVERA. I am just glad to be here, first of all, and I would like to thank you, Chairman Hyde, for giving us an opportunity come and share and bring to the table the experience that we have accumulated throughout the years.
And also, I just briefly want to say that 24 years ago I was a heroin addict in the city of San Antonio and had been involved with drugs and crime for many years, and I ran into a man by the name of Freddie Garcia in 1972, early November 1972. And it was then that he told me about the program that he had and gave me one of his business cards and said, if you ever wind up in a situation where you need some help, he said, come to my program.
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And I went to his program early that next year, February 1973, and not to expound again on everything I said at the lunch, but on the 19th of February 1973, when I walked into this man's house, I saw him behind a pulpit preaching. He didn't tell me he was a minister, he just told me he was a Christian, and I heard the gospel preached for the first time in my life.
And he made a statement after he got through that if any one of us was tired of living the life that we were living, that Jesus Christ could change our life. And I didn't know whether I was ready to get involved with Christianity. I didn't think that was a route that I wanted to choose to find a solution to my problems, but I made a commitment that morning to Jesus Christ, and it has been now over 24 years that I have not gone back to drugs. I have since, from that morning, Tuesday morning, the 19th of February 1973, stopped smoking, drinking, cursing, committing crimes. I never again have abused any kind of drugs, been completely and totally drug-and alcohol-free, and I have dedicated my life to doing the same kind of work that he has been doing now for more than 24 years.
And I have got something that I would like to just share briefly of one of the fundamental solutions that we bring to this problem of gang warfare, gang members, drug addicts, criminals, convicts, and that is something that Freddie and his wife Ninfa have installed within our hearts and within all the facets of our ministry. See, in 1970, Freddie and Ninfa returned to San Antonio from L.A., and when he returned from L.A., all he had was a desire to help heroin addicts because he had been a heroin addict himself. And what he did was he opened his home, and he removed all of the furniture out of his house other than his bedroom, and he put bunks in there and opened his home, where he still lives today since that time. It has been remodeled, it has been a little added on and stuff like that, but he still lives in basically the same room. And out of his home he began this work of Victory Fellowship, and it was in 1971 that he opened his home to heroin addicts.
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I got there in 1973, early in 1973, and today this man continues to work out of his home. His home is his office. He doesn't have an office. He works, he continues to work, out of his home. And there is a purpose and a reason for that, and that is what I would like to share with you this morning.
See, Victory Fellowship is an organization that believes very strongly in house parents, and we believe, and this is just something that I have not heard at all today, that one of the primary needs and vacuums in this country today are parents. For some reason or another that issue has been avoided and does not want to be addressed because of the controversy involved in it. And I just want this group to know that I am here because of several reasons, and one of them is because of my faith in Christ, and the second reason is because of the fact that Freddie and Ninfa brought me into their home, and they did not see me as a client. He did not pull out a manila folder every time he saw me, and he did not have a clock on the wall and limit his sessions with me to 10 or 15 minutes a day. He brought me to their home, and they both welcomed me and embraced me as a son, and I lived there with them. And because of that, I am here today almost 25 years later.
And so we have house parents in all of our Victory homes. We have homes now all over Texas and the Southwest United States. We have homes in Mexico; in Puerto Rico; in Cali, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; Lima, Peru; and Asuncion, Paraguay.
And these are individuals that we sent out as couples, and it is always a male and a female, and they are married, and they will open their home. They don't go into a place or into a community looking for a building or looking for some kind of facilities. They will always go into a community that is infested with crime and drugs and criminals and gang warfare, and they will do the same thing that Freddie and Ninfa did in 1970, and they will open their homes, and they will bring these people in, and they will assume the role of parents. He will assume the role of a father in this individual's life, and Ninfa will assume the role of a mother in their lives, and they will like reraise them once again, but with a proper male and female role model in front of them, living the life, not only talking the life. And we get to see these people; they are there for you 24 hours a day.
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And out of that, five things have come out of that that we implement. In every home, in order for a home to be successful, there has to be supervision, and that is what Freddie and Ninfa and our house parents bring into these individuals' lives. They need to be supervised.
And the second thing is they bring authority, and every criminal and drug addict and gang member out on the streets, they have no respect for it. And the reason why, or one of reasons why, they have no respect for authority is because more than likely they were not taught that in the environment where they were raised, whether it be a two-parent home or a single-parent home. And that led to criminal behavior, and eventually to drug addiction and so on and so forth. So there is an authority figure there, and that authority figure is taught to be respected, because without respect for authority, well, then the individual will always sidetrack and become involved in deviant behavior.
The third thing is there are always corrections. When authority doesn't work, well, then someone needs to be there to correct, to teach, to educate, and to let these individuals know that whenever a mistake is made, those house parents are there to correct.
And the fourth thing that is supplied is discipline. Whenever the other two don't work, well, then there has to be some form of discipline.
And the fourth thing--the fifth thing that embraces all of the other four is there has to be love. If there is no love, well, then the discipline becomes abusive and everything else is going to come apart.
And there was never any doubt that Freddie and Ninfa loved me because of the fact that they brought me into their home and raised me as a son, and they were willing to risk their relationship with me by bringing correction and discipline into my life.
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And one of the problems that we have had in San Antonio is that we have always wanted to do the same thing with gang members, but we have not been allowed to by the State of Texas because we are not accredited by the State, because we do not receive any funding by the State, and because we are not licensed by the State. They will not allow us to bring teenagers into our homes because of the fact that we, once again, do not have any license or funding or accreditation from them. So when these young kids come to us and they say, hey, man, we need help, we cannot help them. They will not allow us to bring them into our homes. We have to wait until they become adults and by that time they have killed 10 or 15 people, or have someone kill them. That is one of the major problems that we are having today.
We were told by the State that in order for us to continue to operate, that both Freddie Garcia and myself were going to be required to have Ph.D's. Now, I am a 44-year-old man with a GED in education. Freddie is a 58-year-old man with a GED in education. Now, how long is it going to take for him and me to get a Ph.D. to do the work that we have been doing for over 25 years and been successful at it? How much more successful could we be with Ph.D's?
The other thing is that they came in with all these other rules and regulations that we were not able to comply with, and that is where Mr. Robert Woodson came in and helped us with that problem and got them off our backs.
Now, I have here two men with me that I brought, and one of them is Steve Costel, who is a three-time loser in the Texas Department of Corrections, been to prison three times, and he was one of the original founders of the Mexican Mafia prison gangs in the State of Texas who have now spilled out into the community and taken control of all the drugs, extortion and everything else in the city of San Antonio. He has been with us now for 6 years, and he is now a Royal Ranger commander. In the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, he is one of the Eagle Scouts, or I don't know what they call them.
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Also, I brought Ernie Ererro, who is a younger member who along with his brothers founded the notorious and violent gangs in the southwest side of San Antonio. His brother is doing time in prison for first degree murder. He was able to come into our program and he has been with us for a year and a half. He is one of the members of our leadership academy and is working with a drama team that goes into the schools to do drama presentations on the gang life-style.
Now, I would just like to conclude with saying that, No. 1, I support Mr. Bob Woodson's efforts. We are standing behind him, and we support him 100 percent in whatever it is that he sees that needs to be done, because he is our ambassador from the hood. He is the only man that we know who can do that. If it were not for Bob Woodson, we would not be here today, and, you know, we would not be able to come and share with you what it is that we have been doing for years.
And the other thing is that I would pray that this committee would do something in talking to the people down in Texas and letting them know that we are not a fly-by-night organization. We have proved ourselves, and we did not start this organization 5 years ago, and we have been at it for years. What more do we have to do, raise someone from the dead, you know, to prove ourselves? And please work with us.
And I would just like to once again say thank you very much for this honor and this privilege to be here this afternoon.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Reverend Rivera.
[Sundry articles follow:]
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INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIOS 22 TO 37 HERE
Mr. HYDE. Before we get to our last witness, Mr. Griffin, and because you are last, remember at the wedding feast at Canaan they saved the best wine until last, so we don't mean to derogate you, but the Speaker has several people waiting for him in his office but did want to come by and did want to make a few remarks, and so with your permission, I will yield to the Speaker of the House Mr. Gingrich.
STATEMENT HON. NEWT GINGRICH, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. GINGRICH. Thank you. I do apologize. I would like to stay, and I have watched my staff up here, they have gotten increasingly agitated as I have refused to leave. This personal type of testimony is very helpful coming from people who are directly involved.
Let me first thank Chairman Hyde and John Conyers for the time they were putting in, and I think this is a very important hearing, and I think that it raises some extraordinarily important points.
And I want to say to Mr. Watkins that I remember our being together, and I want you to understand that I am almost as frustrated as you are, and I want to talk to that in a second.
But I want to say this whole country owes Bob Woodson and the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise a real round of thanks for the--I have worked with Bob for many years. He has for a long time been a voice in the wilderness, surrounded by many people in the wilderness, but in the bureaucracies and the professional hierarchies in this country, there is almost a systematic exclusion of the values and the patterns of success that Bob understands and studies. He is truly one of the great leaders of our time in trying to get people to understand modern social work. Modern government bureaucracy is like the drunk who insisted hunting for his keys under the light even though he had lost his keys in the alley on the grounds that there was light under the light, and rather than going into the dark to find the keys, he would keep walking in circles under the light.
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The fact is, if I can summarize a little of what I have heard today, all of you who have talked are in the business of real change. You are not in the business of maintaining people in misery, or maintaining people in violence, or maintaining people in drug addiction, or maintaining people in poverty. You are in the business of reaching out, and it almost always happens one by one. And if you can get to the leader, it happens faster, because if the leader changes, it tilts the organization, which, by the way, is not a new lesson. It was codified by the Department of Agriculture in the Iowa corn studies in the 1940's and is why agricultural agents are more successful if they go to the farmers who are leaders rather than the farmers who aren't, something we all know, excepting social work, government bureaucracies and structures that are hierarchical and have to obey rules rather than be effective.
Another point that was made, and I think it was Reverend Rivera who said, about the vulnerability of loving someone enough to bring them into your home. All of you are about passion. You are missionaries. This is real, it is personal, it is romantic in the sense that you are prepared to risk virtually everything in order to save virtually everything, and you know that is what life is really like.
And yet bureaucracies are antipassion, they are antimissionary. They are about routine, rote, regular, mechanical behavior, and one of the challenges we face is how do we encourage the missionary spirit in America? How do we encourage the passion in America? How do we encourage the focus of results and the willingness to be courageous and say to people things like, no, I won't help you if you insist on remaining an addict or an alcoholic, or you have to really change, which means, by the way, really changing? It doesn't mean having a new excuse for doing the same old thing. These are hard things.
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Let me suggest to you for a moment that we are trying, we are moving with the Community Renewal Act, with the enterprise initiative. We believe we should find ways to encourage people to give to charities. We should find ways to encourage people to be involved with charities.
Let me also suggest to you what I think are our challenges. And a point Peter Drucker made almost 30 years ago in a book called ''The Age of Discontinuity,'' he said the problem with government is that government can't afford corruption, and government can't afford massive waste, because it spreads like a cancer.
You can take risks in a private charity, or you can take risks in a private business, that you can't take in government. Just consider this: Let's set up a fund tomorrow morning, and we will provide money. The first question would be money to whom? To people who know Bob Woodson? Well, Bob Woodson and his immediate friends would like that, but now we have made Bob Woodson a kingmaker, and is it a question of how close you get. Do we provide money based on who has been successful? That strikes me as a rational way to do it, much like venture capital, venture capital in the human spirit, people whose programs work.
But who studies it? The reason we ended up with Ph.D's is we kept trying to find a way to validate in advance that this person had paid their dues. And, of course, it is nonsense because most of those Ph.D's had learned the wrong things and applied them in the wrong ways and are not effective at all.
Do we, in order to track the money, build some layers of paperwork and bureaucracy that we suffocate the thing we are trying to do? And if we set the program up this year and it works, but next year there is one scandal in one place, but it makes evening news--because your success stories will almost certainly not lead the evening news. I don't care how many people you save in America, you have a harder time getting on the evening news saving people than you have describing a problem, which is one of the biases and weaknesses of our current system.
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So one scandal occurs in one place, which leads us to pass a new law, because we are all antiscandal, and so the new law sets up a new layer of bureaucracy. Then we decide in order to make sure you fill out the regulations right, we hire someone to look over your shoulder to make sure you are filling out the paperwork, and now you have an inspector. And in 5 years we have recreated the very nightmare, only this time we have suffocated the people who are doing it right because the government didn't figure out how to stop them. And that is why it is hard.
I read the other day, and it saddens me, that Bob Woodson was quoted as pointing out that despite all the success, despite all the public testimony of the police in D.C., despite all the news coverage, there has not been a rush by corporations and foundations to come in and say, we ought to help finance this. Now, there is something wrong when every person who defines a new problem gets money and the people trying to solve the problem get starved. We can try to help with that, but again, I would be very hesitant to try to give them a government grant because the next stage will cripple the very thing we are now starting, as distinct from finding ways to help.
I think your testimony is very important. I think the direction you are focusing on is extraordinarily important. We are going to try to find ways, and as I say, some of this with the Community Renewal Act and the enterprise initiative begin to create that. I think a tax credit so individuals can give you the money helps.
Lastly, I want to say, Reverend Rivera, I am going to call Governor Bush again. I talked to him last time we discussed this, and I thought it had been solved. He is a great Governor, and he is doing very, very well, but the power of the credentialed union to block anybody who is uncredentialed from being able to do things just because they are competent is anti-American. This historically is a pragmatic, not a credential, country. This is a country where, if you can get the job done, we honor your achievement, not how many hours you sat in the classroom. And we have to be committed, whether it was social work or law enforcement or education, to returning authority and returning resources to people who succeed, not to people who sit. So we will go back specifically on your behalf and try to talk to the State of Texas fairly aggressively.
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For the rest of you, I want you to know your message is important today, and you are doing something to help your community and your country today, and I am grateful to you and to Chairman Hyde and Mr. Conyers for giving us this opportunity.
Mr. HYDE. And now Mr. Griffin, Christopher Griffin, of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York City. He is accompanied by Denver Pearson of Brooklyn and Mr. Pabone. Thank you very much, Mr. Griffin.
STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER GRIFFIN, VOLUNTEER, HIGH-RISK PROGRAM, BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS, NEW YORK, NY
Mr. GRIFFIN. Good afternoon. Thank you for letting us be here. My name again is Christopher Griffin. I am a volunteer with the High-Risk Program of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Big Brothers was created 90 years ago to meet the challenges of caring for New York City youngsters. With increases in crime and drug use, everyday life more than ever before has become a battle for youth across the country.
Last year in New York City alone, 12,000 city youngsters under the age of 16 were arrested. Currently there are 350,000 children living in poverty in single-parent homes. Right now Big Brothers and Big Sisters is serving over 1,200 children and their families. With crime in New York City achieving an abundance of press coverage for being on the decline, the press fails to keep us as informed about the rise in crime among youth.
I have been matched with my Little Brother Denver since September. In that time Denver and I have done many things and had a lot of fun. Not only have I become a mentor to Denver, but more importantly, I have become a friend. Denver and I may have had extremely different backgrounds and childhoods, but through spending time together, we have come to realize we have many common interests and goals. Some of these goals that we share I know Denver will accomplish.
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Denver and I have both been lucky for various reasons. First of all, I feel he is lucky enough to have a mother like Charlene who cares. Second of all, I believe he was lucky enough to get caught and get caught at a time when there was a program like this that existed. If Denver was not caught, he would not have people like Andre Pabone from Big Brothers and Ms. Jordan from the probation center. I am lucky that Denver got involved with Big Brothers because otherwise I would not have had the chance to meet him. I am not encouraging any children to go out and get in trouble with the law, but it is nice to know if they do, there are places like Big Brothers/Big Sisters that can help prevent some problems that lead to their criminal activity.
With the growing number of youngsters getting into trouble, it is important that we spend the time, money and effort in helping them. There are many other Denvers out there. We just need to find them. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Griffin.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Griffin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER GRIFFIN, HIGH-RISK PROGRAM, BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS, NEW YORK, NY
Good afternoon Mr. Chairman, Committee members and members of the audience.
My name is Chris Griffin and I'm a volunteer with the High-Risk Program at Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Big Brothers was created 90 years ago to meet the challenges of caring for NYC youngsters. With increases in crime and drug use, everyday life, more than ever before has become a battle for your across the country.
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Last year in NYC alone 12,000 city youngsters under the age of 16 were arrested. Currently there are 350,000 children living in poverty in single parent homes.
Right now Big Brothers/Big Sisters is now serving over 1,200 children and families. With crime in NYC receiving an abundance of press coverage for being on the decline the press fails to keep us as informed about the rise in crime among youth.
I've been matched with my Little Brother, Denver since September. In that time Denver and I have done many things together and had a lot of fun. Not only have I become a mentor to Denver, but also, and more importantly a friend. Denver and I may have had extremely different backgrounds and childhoods, but through spending time together we have come to realize we have many common interests and goals. Some of these goals that we share I know Denver will accomplish.
Denver and I have both been lucky for various reasons. First of all he is lucky enough to have a mother like Charlene who cares. Second of all, and I do believe this, he was lucky enough to get caught. If Denver was not caught he would not have people like Andre Pabone from Big brothers and Miss Jordan from the parole office in his corner. I'm lucky that Denver got involved with Big Brothers because otherwise I would not have had the chance to meet him. I'm not encouraging children to go out and get in trouble with the law, but it's nice to know that if they do there are places like Big Brothers/Big Sisters that can help prevent some problems that lead to their criminal activity.
With the growing number of youngsters getting in to trouble it is important that we spend the time, money and effort in helping them. There are many other Denver's out there, we just need to find them
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Mr. HYDE. Mr. Conyers.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I think Mr. Pabone and Mr. Pearson may have----
Mr. HYDE. Oh, I am sorry. Would you introduce them.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Denver Pearson is my little brother.
Mr. HYDE. I am sorry. Go ahead, Mr. Pearson.
STATEMENT OF DENVER PEARSON, HIGH-RISK PROGRAM, BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS, NEW YORK, NY
Mr. PEARSON. Good afternoon, members of the committee and members of the audience. My name is Denver Pearson. I am 15 years old. I live in Brooklyn, NY, with my mother Charlene Pearson. I am a student at John Jay High School in Brooklyn.
In early 1996, I was arrested and later charged with robbery. I am now on 2 years probation. I was referred to the Big Brother Mentor Program through the Department of Juvenile Justice Aftercare Program. I have been matched to my Big Brother Chris since September of last year.
Since I have been matched to Chris, my life has been so great. I have been able to do things that I never thought I would have a chance to do. Since eating is one of my favorite hobbies, I had a chance to eat at a real nice Japanese and Italian restaurant. Chris also took me to the famous All-Star Cafe. I had a chance to visit him at his job. He has also introduced me to some of his famous friends, people I only thought I would see on TV. I had a chance of a lifetime to spend an afternoon barbecuing and playing video games with one of the NBA Dream Team players.
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Being matched with Chris has helped me with my personality. This is something my mother comments on. Even though my grades in school need improvement, I understand the importance of an education, and I know that with people like Chris helping me along, my future looks brighter than it did a few years ago.
I have been arrested once. It is not going to happen a second time.
Being matched to Chris through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Mentor Program has given me a friend whom I hope to have for many years, but most of all it has provided me with someone who cares and is there for me. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Denver. That was great.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pearson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DENVER PEARSON, HIGH-RISK PROGRAM, BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS, NEW YORK, NY
INSERT OFFSET RING FOLIO 38 HERE
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Pabone.
STATEMENT OF ANDRE PABONE, SOCIAL WORKER AND MANAGER, HIGH-RISK PROGRAM, BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS, NEW YORK, NY
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Mr. PABONE. Last but not least, I think I will carry the wine from Canaan that you mentioned before.
At this point, I just want to say good evening, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Andre Pabone, and I am a social worker and manager of the High-Risk Program in Big Brothers/Big Sisters in New York City.
The High-Risk Program, formally called the Police Partnership Program, which began at the 84th precinct in downtown Brooklyn, matches troubled youths identified by the police with adult volunteers in an intense, long-term, one-to-one relationship. The police officers, who are often the first to know which youngsters are at risk of delinquency and more serious criminal offenses, help the agency identify the youth whom they believe could benefit from a supportive one-to-one relationship. We now work closely with probation officers, and we work closely with one youth court judge from Brooklyn and one from Manhattan.
This model was designed to address the following issues: No. 1, to help troubled youth before they commit more serious crimes and before it is too late to turn them around; and No. 2, to implement a primary intervention program at the community level, which everyone was talking about, I guess, for the past couple of hours, that takes youngsters out of the bureaucracy and puts them with an organization qualified to work with them; and No. 3, to identify those youngsters whose troubled life has a good chance of being turned around with a one-to-one relationship with a highly screened and trained volunteer.
Let me explain the High-Risk Program versus the traditional program. The High-Risk Program differs from the traditional Big Brother/Big Sister program because rather than waiting for the youngster or the guardian to apply for the program, the organization actively recruits. The program's success is based on the knowledge of the participating youngster's special needs, and along with the organizational capacity to address their needs in the following ways.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The young people who participate in antisocial and self-destructive behaviors usually come from families that are least likely to seek our services. Therefore, Big Brothers/Big Sisters recognizes that mentoring programs cannot wait for parents to call, but once the child is identified, the parent or guardian must be approached to win their involvement. And thirdly, the at-risk youth tend to come from homes with a greater incidence of drug- and alcohol-related problems and emotional, sexual and physical abuse. Big Brothers and Big Sisters has, therefore, developed family and individual counseling support groups for teens and parents, and ongoing and intensive supervision of the mentoring relationship. It is basically a family that we just keep going.
And finally, a major key element I would like to stress today is that as much as mentoring is a wonderful concept in which youth and volunteer are matched, one must have qualified social workers who supervise the match relationships and to provide supportive services to youth and their families. Programs such as ours are an incredibly cost-effective alternative to incarceration.
Members of the committee, if we really want to make an impact, we must reach more youngsters that need that one-to-one relationship. We must fund programs like the ones you heard about today, and such as ours, with experienced social work staff to supervise these relationships. We must find more volunteers to work with the youngsters, and we must expand the program to more prevention, more probation officers and more youth court judges. We must raise more funds to expand the staff to screen, to train, and supervise for matches. This is a challenge that we need your help to meet, and together it can be done. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much.
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Well, this has been an incredible afternoon, but we must--I am going to ask Bob Woodson to close it up, but before we get to you, are there any questions?
John Conyers. No. Ms. Jackson Lee, do you have any questions?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I heard a comment of no, but I do, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. I didn't know you could recognize my voice and Mr. Conyers' voice.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. That I can. I think it would be certainly of note in a negative fashion if we did not at least say that your words will not go unnoticed.
Reverend Rivera, I am from Texas, not from your area, and I think that the validity of grassroots activism has been the core of what America is about, and certainly as I look through the communities represented here, we have been grassroots for many, many years.
Let me pledge to work with you on getting through the maze of regulations. I may not always agree with some of the principles that may be characterized as one position or the other, but I can assure you that there are no disagreements in reaching out to the young men like Mr. Pearson and those we have heard about in all your stories. In that you have a commitment from me.
I yield back my time.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much. Mr. Pease is indicating to me he has no questions, and Mr. Scott, the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As I indicated before, we can't ignore the irony that in a few minutes we will leave here to go to the floor to consider the juvenile justice legislation, which will require us to try more juveniles as adults, increase mandatory minimums, and eliminate the confidentiality of juvenile records.
I wish we had had a lot of this testimony before because we can see what we can do with so little. We are aware of studies that show that when you give our young people constructive things to do with their time, with adult interaction, and empower them through better education and better job training opportunities so they have a future, then the crime rate will go down. We know that if you try more juveniles as adults, the violent crime rate will go up. We know that drug rehabilitation is not only cheaper, but more effective in reducing crime. We know that Virginia and other States are in the process of building more prisons, and even the supporters of that prison expansion will acknowledge that you get virtually no crime reduction by building additional prisons. Virginia is spending about $1 billion a year for the foreseeable future, and they only speculate that the crime rate will go down 3 percent. That is statistically insignificant. It is a national equivalent of about $40 billion a year, and yet the bill that we will consider this evening will provide for possibly more prison construction.
Perhaps if we had had these hearings before, we would not be considering the bill that we are considering today, but we would be considering spending more money on the kinds of programs that we have heard today.
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So I want to thank you for the testimony that you have brought us today, and hopefully as we consider the legislation that is before us now and legislation that will be before us in other forms in the future, that we will consider how much we can do with just a little bit of money if we spend it the right way.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you.
And now, the climax, the gentleman from Washington, Mr. Woodson.
Mr. WOODSON. Members of this committee, I just want to tell you how pleased I am that you provided this much time for our groups. Tomorrow morning between the hours of 9 and 4, our group will be meeting together in conference so we can learn more about strategies, how we can expand what they do in their own cities, and how we can put together a national collaborative so that we can begin to spread the success.
The National Center is putting together Hands Across D.C., and we are seeking support for this. Our goal is to reduce the youth violence by 50 percent in a year. What we want is for some of these men in the Alliance of Concerned Men who are having to work as volunteers to be able to work full time, and David Gilmore is helping us, and we are seeking support from others. Then we would set a specific goal against which all programs that purport to help young people should be measured whether they are faith-based or secular. It is not the faith that you need to support, but the secular outcomes that we ought to support. So we think that should be the standard against which all Federal, State, and local programs should be measured: Do they work? If they work, they deserve the money. If they do not, then they should not receive money.
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So we are suggesting several things by way of recommendations. One, the issue of money is an important issue. These groups need money. And I think one of the most effective ways to help them to get support is supporting charitable tax credits. Seventy percent of taxpayers pay between $300 and $500 each year. Lower-income people tend to give a larger percentage of their money to charity, but it is not cost-effective for them to take a tax deduction. So we think a charitable tax credit would empower the people closest to the people suffering the problems. So the programs in the local community could go out and recruit funders. With people's money comes their mouth, so we think we enhance accountability if people know their money is going into a program. It will help us get over this hangup we have of separation of church and state. It means individuals are empowered. They then have the option of choosing how they invest, and this is revolutionary in terms of providing the kind of long-term support that our groups need.
For the past 12 years, the National Center has received about $200,000 a year from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Seventy percent of it goes out into minigrants to neighborhood organizations that enables them to function, because they are the groups that cannot meet the qualifications of the United Way, or the Government funding, and we receive a compliance audit every year. Several foundations and others have copied this model because it enables larger institutions, be they foundations or corporations or government, to get small amounts of money into the hands of groups in a most cost-efficient, effective way. This program was evaluated by Northwestern University that found out of every dollar we invested in these groups, they were able to generate $3. So there is a return.
There are several things that Members of the Congress can do that don't require legislation, don't require money coming from taxpayers. One, you can have hearings in neighborhoods like Benning Terrace to call public attention to the positive things that are going on. You can organize tours. I used to take Jack Kemp, when he was the Secretary of HUD, to various cities where he invited corporate executives from around the country to come on tour with him, and this is another way of introducing potential private funders to grassroots organizations. They would not come if the invitation came from Juan Rivera, but if Mr. Henry Hyde said, ''I am going to be in Texas, would you join me,'' trust me, they would be here. Or if Congressman Conyers said, ''I am going to be touring, would you join me,'' they would be there.
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Also, I notice when a lot of Members of Congress withdraw from public office, they have leftover campaign funds. Perhaps you ought to encourage your colleagues to donate these funds, at least a portion, to grassroots organizations. You know, I love zoos and I love museums--love animals, but these groups need the support more than those institutions do. So that is something else you can do, because what has a financial payoff is the validation that comes when a Member of Congress comes and visits their program and invites the press. It serves as validation of what they are doing, or when you are referencing them in your speeches.
The other, finally, what you can do--and funding is important--is you can consider, as you raise funds for your own campaigns from the private sector, perhaps you could pledge to make two speeches a year in local cities on behalf of grassroots groups that will enable them to meet their budgets.
Mr. HYDE. If I can interrupt, it just seems to me you need a structured way of getting the money to the right groups. You need to know who these groups are. You need to know which ones are legitimate. There is great opportunity for fraud here, so there has to be a validating process and a means by which funds raised could be channeled to them.
Mr. WOODSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HYDE. And that is what is lacking.
Mr. WOODSON. Well, the National Center has in its 16 years' history developed a statement, a criteria, that now other foundations use to do exactly that.
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Just to give you a quick glance as to what kind of criteria we use, first of all, legitimate grassroots groups, their activities always predate funding. They did not begin as a consequence of a grant, but they began, as the alliance has, as people sacrificing their own time. Another one is the ZIP Code test; do they share the same ZIP Code, or do they have an office in the same ZIP Code as those they serve. Another thing we do in our minigrants program is we ask all the people applying for money to send us four letters from people who have been helped by them, and it cannot be typewritten. It has to be written by hand.
So there are specific standards which we have found to be very effective in screening out those who would exploit this, and I won't take the time of the committee to go through that, but the best way to establish standards is sit down as we have done with 50 grassroots leaders and say, how do you define who is hustling and who is legitimate, and then learn from them and take the standards of the people you already respect, and then let them sit on committees that make decisions about where money should go.
Mr. HYDE. If money were referred to your group, you would have a facility for distributing it among appropriate organizations?
Mr. WOODSON. Yes, we do, and we are establishing a foundation to do just that. And I think we are able to do it because we have the trust and confidence of grassroot organizations. They know that we are not going to take advantage of them.
One criteria that we use so that we are certain that we are not part of the problem, is that in the past 16 years the National Center has raised and spent approximately $15 million on salary and travel, but we have leveraged over $100 million for the groups that we serve that we can demonstrate. We are not a part of the problem. And I think anybody receiving funds in the name of helping poor people should be required to demonstrate that the people they serve, more value is added to these local organizations than has been added to them. A whole lot of folks wouldn't qualify under that criteria. Thank you.
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Mr. HYDE. I want to thank you, Bob Woodson and your colleagues. I listened to one speech, and I would say no one is going to top that, until the next one, and then the next one. I have never heard so many articulate, committed, sincere, effective, persuasive people about a cause that is transcendent. And I congratulate you, and this will not end here. We are going to worry about it and think about it and try to plot something that is going to be helpful, because this hearing has been a revelation to me and to all of us.
Mr. WOODSON. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you and good luck. God bless you all.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. May I, for the record, include my statement?
Mr. HYDE. Yes, the gentlelady's statement will be included.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that we are holding these hearings today to spotlight the extraordinary work that many in our country are doing to combat violence in their neighborhoods. I thank the witnesses who are here to share their success stories with us and applaud you all for your passion and your commitment.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have spent a great deal of time over the past months discussing the problem of juvenile crime and I have been troubled to see this discussion directed away from a balanced approach to this problem. If we really hope to reduce violence, we must address both parts of the equation--prevention and punishment.
Most public policy analysts confirm that early prevention programs offer the best hope to stem juvenile crime. They emphasize the importance of better schools and more job training, recreation and mentoring programs. Such initiatives provide children with positive role models and increase economic opportunities.
In fact, in a national poll of police chiefs conducted by Northeastern University's Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research, four times as more chiefs chose ''increasing investment in programs that help all children and youth get a good start'' as the ''most effective'' crime reduction strategy than chose ''trying more juveniles as adults'' or even ''hiring additional police officers.''
Prevention programs have been proven to work. Examples of this success abound.
A Columbia University study of Boys & Girls Clubs in public housing projects provides additional proof that prevention programs are effective. Crime in public housing projects with a Boys & Girls Club was 13 percent lower than in projects without a Club. Additionally, prevalence of drug activity was 22 percent lower in projects with a Club.
In Glenarden, Maryland, recreation facilities that combine recreation with life skills workshops are credited with reducing drug related crime by 60 percent.
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In Fort Wayne, Indiana, the YMCA Status Offender Court Alternatives Program is a counseling and community services program designed to provide assistance to status offenders, potential offenders, and their families. In an independent evaluation of the program, evaluators concluded that nearly 70 percent of program participants did not reenter the court system.
In the summertime, when Phoenix basketball courts and other recreation facilities are kept open until 2 a.m., police calls reporting juvenile crime drop by as much as 55 percent. While such programs are needed year-round, funding is not available. These programs are a bargain, however--with 170,000 participants in Phoenix, the cost is only sixty cents per youth.
These examples evidence that prevention programs not only work, but that they are cost-effective at reducing crime. The most comprehensive study done in this area recently concluded that prevention costs less than imprisonment. Early intervention programs that try to steer young people from wrongdoing can prevent as many as 250 crimes per $1 million spent. In contrast, the report said investing the same amount in prisons would prevent only 60 crimes a year.
Additionally, according to a study conducted by Vanderbilt University economist Marc Cohen, high risk youths who are kept out of trouble through intervention programs could save society as much as $2 million a youth per lifetime.
The answer to the juvenile crime problem will not be found in the building of more prisons or the imposition of harsher sentences. We will only be successful in our battle against this crisis when we stop the creation of these young criminals. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. And do we want to go forward with that juvenile bill tomorrow?
Mr. HYDE. The gentlelady is not recognized for that purpose. The committee adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:48 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
GRASSROOTS SOLUTIONS TO YOUTH CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
MAY 7, 1997
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSerial No. 18
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
SONNY BONO, California
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRISTOPHER B. CANNON, Utah
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
THOMAS E. MOONEY, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
May 7, 1997
Hyde, Hon. Henry J., a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
Daniels, John C., commander, Sixth District, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC
Duckett, Lowell, lieutenant, retired, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC
Fattah, Hon. Chaka, a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania
Gilmore, David, receiver, District of Columbia Housing Authority
Gingrich, Hon. Newt, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Griffin, Christopher, volunteer, High-Risk Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, New York, NY
Hardwick, Carl, leader, Hartford Youth Crime Prevention, Hartford, CT
Hawes-Brown, Deborah, deputy chief of police, Hartford Police Department, Hartford, CT
Horsley, Robert, lieutenant, field programmer, Benning Terrace
Jackson, Peter L., president, Alliance of Concerned Men, Laurel, MD
Jahwar, Omar, gang intervention counselor, Lancaster, TX
Lee, Wayne, vice president, Alliance of Concerned Men of Benning Terrace
Mack, William, officer, Metropolitan Police Department, Housing Division, Washington, DC
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mundaray, Ellen, secretary, Concerned Brothers and Sisters
Pabone, Andre, social worker and manager, High-Risk Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, New York, NY
Parker, Tyrone, parole officer, D.C. Parole Board, Washington, DC
Pearson, Denver, High-Risk Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, New York, NY
Pendarvis, Demetrius, Concerned Brothers of Benning Terrace
Rivera, Rev. Juan, assistant pastor, Victory Fellowship, San Antonio, TX
Rush, Arthur ''Rico,'' Jr., Alliance of Concerned Men, Washington, DC
Taylor, Elliott, sergeant, Sixth District, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC
Watkins, Leon, director, Family Helpline, Los Angeles, CA
Woodson, Robert L., Sr., president, National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Daniels, John C., commander, Sixth District, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC: Prepared statement
Griffin, Christopher, volunteer, High-Risk Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, New York, NY: Prepared statement
Hardwick, Carl, leader, Hartford Youth Crime Prevention, Hartford, CT: Prepared statement
Hawes-Brown, Deborah, deputy chief of police, Hartford Police Department, Hartford, CT: Prepared statement
Jackson Lee, Hon. Sheila, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas: Prepared statement
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Jackson, Peter L., president, Alliance of Concerned Men, Laurel, MD: Prepared statement
Jahwar, Omar, gang intervention counselor, Lancaster, TX: Prepared statement
Mundaray, Ellen, secretary, Concerned Brothers and Sisters: Prepared statement
Pearson, Denver, High-Risk Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, New York, NY: Prepared statement
Rivera, Rev. Juan, assistant pastor, Victory Fellowship, San Antonio, TX: Sundry articles
Rush, Arthur ''Rico,'' Jr., Alliance of Concerned Men, Washington, DC: Prepared statement
Watkins, Leon, director, Family Helpline, Los Angeles, CA: Prepared statement
Woodson, Robert L., Sr., president, National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise: Prepared statement