By Sheikh Musa Drammeh
Bronx, New York, Thursday, March 14, 2019 –“I am a Bronx girl; born and raised in the Housing Developments (we now call The Projects), and went to public schools,” said Hon. Darcel Clark, Bronx District Attorney, during her opening remarks at the standing room only at Al Shaibi Community Center on Westchester Avenue this evening.
Muslim New Yorkers, angered by President Trumps’ xenophobic attitude towards them and others, have mobilized in an unprecedented level to be more fully active in the civic and political affairs of their communities since the election of President Trump. Mr. Nagi Almontaser, whose organization, Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA) was born after the president’s Muslim ban, stated that over four thousand six hundred (4600) Yemeni immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens have registered and voted in their local elections for the first time just in the last two years alone and they are directing their political focus to the Bronx now.
This is the reason why Al Shaibi Community Center has been a go-to by political, community and law enforcement leaders lately for meet and greet, because through these gatherings helpful information is shared, connections establish and relations build.
One of the initiatives of Arab immigrants at Al Shaibi Community Center is hosting monthly Community Peace Dinners on the first Friday of each month. Among the speakers during these dinners are former gang members who talk to the youth about crime and violence and how to avoid being involved in illegal activities that would get them entangled in the web of criminal justice system or worst yet being killed. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
This evening’s chief guest, Bronx District Attorney, spoke about her office’s initiatives and programs in fighting crime and maintaining law and order in the most dignified manner in the Bronx. She said not only the victims but also the accused deserve to be treated with fairness afforded to them by the Constitution and the rule law. One of the questions from the audience was why folks accused of crimes sit in Rikers Island for months and years without trial. She said there aren’t enough Judges in the Bronx. Because Bronx has about eighteen percent (18%) of the City’s population and thirty percent (30%) of it criminal cases. This is why I appreciate what you’ve been doing here by bringing former gang members to talk to the youth. As a lifelong Bronxite, I encourage all residents to participate in crime prevention programs such as yours in their neighborhoods, she added.
Muhammad Mujumder of Bangladeshi American Community Council also shared similar strong political participations within the Bangladeshi immigrant communities in the city.
Mr. Marion Frampton, founder of TBS New Direction and a former gang member, expressed his organization’s appreciation for the generosity of South Yemeni business leaders and he stressed the need for more interactions among the diverse Bronx residents for the sake of greater public safety and the quality of life in every neighborhood of the Bronx.
The meeting ended with the usual Sumptuous Yemeni dinner and a voiced commitment to support the District Attorney’s upcoming reelection.
Nagi Almontaser of Yemeni American Merchants Association, Bronx District Attorney, Hon. Darcel Clark, Yaseen Shaibi, President, Al Shaibi Community Center.
Muhammed Mujumder, founder, Bangladeshi American Community Council spreaking.
Sheikh Musa Drammeh, Community Peacebuilding Commission, Bronx District Attorney, Hon. Darcel Clark, Marion Frampton, founder, TBS New Direction.