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Community 2020 Forum

Strengthening Communities, Increasing Public Safety
Old Values, New Strategies

Background Agenda Speakers Transcript


This Community 2020 forum focused on how to foster safer, more secure streets and neighborhoods. Few issues are more important to the quality of life in our nation�s metropolitan areas - in central cities and suburbs alike. The past decade has seen unprecedented declines in reported crime, especially violent crime. Nowhere has this been more evident than in our cities, where, from 1993 to 1997 the drop in violent crime averaged almost 20 percent. There are any number of reasons for the decline: the sustained economic recovery; the slow- down of crack and other dangerous drugs; strengthened families and increased opportunity; alternative community policing and crime prevention strategies; and new partnerships with faith-based and other community organizations. This forum focused on how these new approaches are changing the face of urban America - what role they are playing, how they can be sustained, and how they can provide the foundation for strong, sustainable communities in the 21st century.




Andrew Cuomo
Secretary, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


Reverend Eugene F. Rivers, III
Co-Chair, National Ten Point Leadership Foundation

William J. Bratton
Former Police Commissioner, New York City and Boston
President, CARCO Group, Inc.

Dr. Cornel West
Professor of Religion and Afro-American Studies
Harvard University

Moderated by Secretary Cuomo


Reverend Eugene F. Rivers, III
Co-Chair, National Ten Point Leadership Foundation

The Reverend Eugene F. Rivers, III is a product of the streets of inner-city Philadelphia. Born in Boston, but raised in Philadelphia, he returned to his birthplace to combat the desolation and poverty confronting the black and latino population of Boston. Joining with other Harvard, MIT, and Boston-based university students, Reverend Rivers focused his efforts on a sixty-two block area of North Dorchester known as Four Corners.

In response to the culture of violence, drugs, and poverty in inner-city Boston, Reverend Rivers has developed several programs and ministries - notably the nationally-recognized Ten Point Coalition, a group of African American churches that organized against gangs and drugs in their community. As a result of their efforts, Boston�s juvenile crime rate has dropped dramatically. Under the headline "God vs. Gangs" the Coalition�s work was featured as the cover story in a recent issue of Newsweek Magazine.

With his wife Jacqueline, Reverend Rivers has created a non-profit organization to bring his years of church-anchored, street-level work with some of America�s most at-risk children to the national stage. The National Ten Point Leadership Foundation�s primary mission is to help provide African American churches with the strategic vision, program- matic structure, and financial resources needed to work with inner city youth.

WILLIAM J. BRATTONFormer Police Commissioner, New York City and BostonPresident, CARCO Group, Inc.

Since 1983, Commissioner Bratton has managed five police agencies, accomplishing major reforms in each department, as well as significant declines in crime. He began his career in Boston, rising to the highest sworn rank of Superintendent. He won national recognition for his leadership of the New York City Transit Police, initiating reforms and strategies that eventually cut subway crime by nearly 50 percent.

As New York City Police Commissioner under Mayor Giuliani, he achieved the largest crime reduction in New York City history - an overall 33 percent decline in reported felony crime, and a 50 percent reduction in homicides. In 1993, he returned to Boston as Police Commissioner where he developed a plan of action and a program of cultural diversity training that guided the department toward full implementation of community policing.

Commissioner Bratton has served on many national commissions and task forces, including the National Crime Commission, to which he was appointed by President Clinton in 1996. He served as President of the Police Executive Research Forum, a national research and police policy think tank, and in 1996 was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard�s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He currently is President and Chief Operating Officer of the CARCO Group, Inc., a New York based information services firm.

Dr. Cornel West
Professor of Religion and Afro-American Studies
Harvard University

Dr. Cornel West has been described as "one of America�s most vital and eloquent public intellectuals." In numerous ground-breaking articles and twelve books, he teaches how growing divisions in our society fosters despair and distrust that undermine our democratic process. His books include Race Matters, Restoring Hope, Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin, and his latest, The War Against Parents, co-written with Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

Recently promoted to university professor, a title held by only 14 of Harvard�s 2,200 faculty members, he is one of the first black scholars to be appointed to the university�s highest faculty post. Influenced by traditions as diverse as the Baptist church, American transcendentalism, the Black Panthers, and European philosophy, he confronts in his work the "monumental eclipse of hope and the unprecedented collapse of meaning" in America.

His current interests include problems facing the African-American urban underclass in America; the development of an ongoing dialogue between Blacks and Jews; and the creation of a nationwide parents movement across race and class. West is currently part of President Clinton�s National Conversation on Race.



Content Archived: April 15, 2011

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