Letter to NY Attorney General James – October 2021

Dear Attorney James,

I would like to start by saying that you are a hero at a time when heroes are so desperately needed.  I support you making citizens responsible for paying their fair share of taxes, even when these powerful individuals try to hide behind organizations.  Thank you for pursuing accountability for what is fair and just.  I really appreciate and admire having the buck stop here.

The reason I am writing you today is that my neighborhood, Harlem, needs your support.  I have been living in Harlem for 16 years and am raising my two children 14 and 11 here.  For the last 5 years or so things have been getting worse.  Stepping around people under scaffolding while they’re ‘waiting for their man’ on our way to the morning school bus.  Being careful of certain corners, deli’s where dealers are hanging out.  Planning paths to and from my house that feel safe.  When I was enlightened a few years ago to the fact that Harlem contains an overabundance of rehabilitation clinics it was like an epiphany.  Suddenly this pressure and fear I was experiencing at almost every corner of my neighborhood had a reason.  I know that these clinics support much more rehabilitation than just Harlem residents.  Approximately 3 out of every 4 people seeking support from these clinics commutes to my neighborhood for these services.  That brings a lot of strangers and a lot of struggling strangers to my community.  Along with individuals seeking treatment, this also brings much more drug dealing commerce to my local community.   Rehabilitation is a difficult business, but Harlem is being set up to fail.  Rehabilitation needs community effort and accountability.  Local people need to support their own neighbors and help lift them up.  That’s what makes a community.  Westchester needs to support their own population of struggling users and so does Park Avenue.  The people who call Park Slope home need to have a place to treat their local population struggling with drugs.  One needs local, community support and LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY to help rehabilitate local people, your neighbors.  Harlem cannot and should not be expected to support the drugs struggles of this entire city and beyond.

Between Wednesday, October 6th and Thursday, October 14th at least five children were shot within blocks from my house.  Children.  All of them under 18.  I have heard it is probably gang, probably drug related.  I guess that means targeted.  I guess that means I can take a deep breath and hope my children don’t get caught in the crossfire as I walk through this war zone.  These children need opportunities outside of the drug trade.  Please help us help Harlem be the vibrant, colorful, diverse and SAFE community for all of its taxpaying residents.
Please let me know how I can support these efforts.

Sally Brackett

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