For Eric Cumberbatch, the program director of anti-violence initiatives at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, it’s important to pay attention to the people, places and network.
Cumberbatch works with organizations like LIFE Camp throughout the city in an effort to reduce violence in specific neighborhoods. He believes the media should highlight the people who do the work on the streets.
“I want you to reflect who the people are who do this work, who the people are on the ground doing this in East New York, in Southeast Queens, in Staten Island, in Crown Heights,” Cumberbatch said. “These young people that are surrounding us today are some of the bravest, strongest, most intelligent young people in the city that have put their lives on the line to improve and save other young people across the city.”
Cumberbatch also wants people to pay attention to these neighborhoods. He said 17 neighborhoods account for more than half of the city’s shootings.
He pointed out the importance of having a network, what he calls the crisis management system. He said this network of community-based organizations, city agencies and residents provide services including, job placement and training, conflict resolution and legal services.
“Looking at root causes, and looking at individuals who are directly impacted. Look at anything that may be an issue in someone’s life and how we remove that obstacle and barrier,” he said. “How do we empower young people so they see they have a place in this world and that people care about them? That’s the work that we all do.”