Local and State Officials and Leaders Gather at Saint Peter’s for Anti-Violence Summit

Several local and state officials and leaders in government, corrections, judicial and public safety recently gathered in McIntyre Conference Center for the Anti-Violence Youth Summit.

Co-sponsored by The Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership,  Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement (JCACM), North Jersey Chapter of the National Action Network (NAN) and Citizens Against Violence (CAV), the summit served to shed light and raise awareness  about violence, gangs, public safety and citizen engagement in Jersey City.

“It’s important to start this conversation and for students to get accurate information from the right people,” said Pamela Johnson, executive director of JCACM. “We need to get moving in a new direction and this is the start of an important conversation to help our youths move forward in life.”

The summit was moderated by Kari Larson, chair and associate professor of criminal justice at Saint Peter’s, and included the following panelists: Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, Hon. Kevin Callahan ’69, professor of criminal justice, Hon. Esther Suarez, Hudson County prosecutor, Joyce Watterman, Jersey City councilwoman-at-large, James Shea, Jersey City public safety director, Darren Rivers, Jersey City fire chief, Ralph Green, former director of the Hudson County Correctional Facility, James Waiters, Jersey City police officer and Peter Barnes, owner of Barnes Construction. The discussion also featured personal stories and thoughts from local Jersey City youths.

The panelists discussed ideas to help prevent youth incarceration and gang activities, shared inspiring stories and words of advice and explained their roles and efforts in combating violence.

“I get the opportunity to visit throughout the whole city and connect to the community and I really listen to the people who live there,” said Councilwoman Watterman. “It puts things into perspective on how I can better their community.”