On the last day of school before summer break, 250 students of P.S. 284 Gregory Jackson School in Brownsville participated in a "Stop the Violence and Bullying" bike rally, taking their message of peace and non-violence to the streets of their neighborhood.
The anti-bullying rally was initiated by Detective Walter "Wally" Brant of Police Service Area 2 (PSA2) in partnership with Keva Pitts, the principal of P.S. 284, and Giavanni Barnett, the school's community liaison. As part of the campaign, which launched last year, the students were asked to write essays on the subject of anti-bullying and non-violence for a chance to win a bike and to participate in the bike rally. Little did they know that were all chosen to participate -- and they all would get to keep the bikes!
"It's about seeing the joy in the faces of the kids," said Brant. "But it's also about breaking the barrier between the police and the community. I feel by breaking the barrier with the children, as they get older, they can see that cops and police are not all the same, and that we're not all bad."
And because safety always comes first, all students were equipped with free helmets provided by the NYC Department of Transportation and its Vision Zero initiative, a program that is dedicated to reducing injuries and fatalities in street traffic, before hitting the road.
It was a great day for the community. Take a look at our video story.