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National Night Out Brings Awareness To Light

Westbury, New Cassel residents gather to support crime, drug prevention

Martin “Bunky” Reid Park was bustling with excitement on Tuesday, Aug. 7 as the Westbury/New Cassel community gathered to support National Night Out 2012. The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and demonstrate unification in neighborhoods across the United States. The theme for this year’s event, New Cassel’s 29th, was “Good Beginnings, Good Health.”

The night’s activities began with a parade. Supporters of all ages proudly raised the banners of their affiliate sponsors as they marched from the Salvation Army on Prospect Avenue to the Broadway Avenue entrance of the park. Representatives of the United States Army, Nassau County Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, Westbury Fire Department, and Salvation Army joined the marchers. Their impassioned chants could be heard from blocks away, “What do we want? Stop the violence! When do we want it? Now!”

Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust offered the welcoming remarks and introductions for the night. She spoke on behalf of the North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center/The Leeds Place, the lead agency for the event. The U.S. Office of Justice Programs also served as an agent.

“These are difficult times in our community and we must work together so that our children and our families will have a safe place to live,” said Dr. Taylor-Walthrust, adding, “The needs of this community are great.”

Reverend Marcus Briddell of Bethel AME, Father Ralph Sommer of St. Brigid’s Church, and Major Charles of the Salvation Army led the community in prayer.

The featured speakers included Executive Director Andrew Malekoff and Associate Executive Director Regina Barros of the North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, Leeds Place Advisory Council Chair Dr. Irene Betty Hylton, Co-Chairs Ada Lopez and Gennie Vann, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Nassau County Legislator Robert Troiano, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and national recording artist Talib Kweli.

“National Night Out is not just an opportunity to support local anti-crime programs but it’s also a gathering for residents to meet each other. With the massive revitalization winding down and a long-dreamed of community center opening soon, the New Cassel area is truly a vibrant community. A unified front among residents will further ensure that it will remain that way going forward,” Supervisor Kaiman said.

Following the speeches was a raffle and numerous activities for the kids, including an inflatable obstacle course and model airplane compliments of the Cradle of Aviation. Music presentations by Mike Veny and UGG and dance presentations by Betty’s Daycare and Community Dance Troop kept the crowd enthralled. A special candle light presentation concluded the beautiful night of community and togetherness. 

Event organizers took time to thank the following sponsors: Target of Westbury, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Cradle of Aviation, BJ’s Wholesale of Westbury, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Pi Pi Omega Chapter, Arrow Produce, Associates of Westbury, Bravo of Westbury, Costco Wholesale of Westbury, Delta Minerva Life Development Center, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Entenmann’s of Mineola, Jin’s Apple Farm, Nassau County Police Dept. Third Precinct, New Cassel Memorial Post 1861 American Legion, New York Chums, Pat’s Farm, Stop n Shop of Hicksville, The Container Store, The Salvation Army of Westbury, U-Haul Moving & Storage of Westbury, United States Army, Westbury Beverage Center, Westbury Fire Department.

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