Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
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Attention for the Good Stuff

Terrace Avenue. The Heights. The Hills. The Triangle. Within a 3.7-square-mile space, regions are defined, not by the people who pay taxes and maintain properties in them, but by gangs that illegitimately claim territory.
     In 2009, Sarah Garland published Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation, and Youth Violence Are Changing America's Suburbs. This book focuses mainly on Hispanic youth gangs in the Village of Hempstead.
     In 2014, Newsday crime writer Kevin Deutsch published The Triangle: A Year on the Ground with New York's Bloods and Crips. His through, on-the-scenes account focuses on the eponymous section of Hempstead Village.
     These and many other articles give a lot of attention to the crime spots. But no attention is given to parents like the ones who rose and spoke at the Nov. 29 meeting -- young parents who grew up in the village and are trying to educate their children through Hempstead Village schools.
     Why are their voices not responded to with the urgency that they deserve?
     Also, why do we all look to the police to solve this problem? One reason village taxes keep rising is that more and more money goes to policing.
     "We can't arrest our way out of this problem," said then-Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, referring to the persistent drug culture in the Terrace Avenue-Bedell Street area. She is right. But what is the solution? If a big part of the problem is unsupervised children recruited by teenage gangbangers, how do we get those kids supervised before they become our next perpetrators?
     And most of all: Why are the voices of the good parents so unimportant to the rest of the county?
    

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