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Ex-Gang Members Fight Violence

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

If you tell Big Herc that you want to become a Blood he will stretch his palm out and kindly ask you to repeat yourself. If you are stupid enough to do it, he will slap you in the face. “You still wanna be a Blood?” he’ll ask, and then keep slapping if he senses you can’t make up your mind. “I want to see where your heart is,” he might say.

Herc is short for Hercules, but his real name is Shamar Thomas. He’s a 29-year-old former marine who did two tours in Iraq, including a stretch in Fallujah in 2004. According to Herc, it’s those with weakness in their eyes—”The ones with no hearts”—who go out and commit most of the senseless shootings that kill so many people in his neighborhood of East Flatbush.

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A Push to Open Adoption Records

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Carole Whitehead was 18 when her parents sent her to the Lakeview Home for Unwed Mothers in Staten Island.

“They had only one goal there, which was to get the baby away from the mothers,” said Whitehead, now 70. “They told me if I truly loved my baby, I would give him up.”

When Whitehead surrendered her son, she requested that her confidentiality be waived, so he might one day find her. She was told such waivers were “contrary to the laws of New York.”

In 1963, it was against state law for adopted children to ever view their original birth certificates. It remains so in 2015.

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Fighting Violence Like a Disease

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Mervin Moore is not a doctor. But he sees every shooting, stabbing and assault victim who comes through Jacobi Medical Center’s trauma ward in the Bronx.

“We deal with street violence,” Moore said. “It is a disease. And we are the cure.”

Moore works for Stand Up to Violence, an anti-violence program operated by Jacobi Medical Center.  Launched in August, the program’s staff mentors victims of violence in Jacobi’s trauma ward. The goal is to prevent retaliation attacks by treating violence like a disease that spreads from perpetrator to victim.

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Brooklyn Boy Races Against Time

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

On the outside, Pietro Joseph Scarso looks like an ordinary kid.

On the inside, though, the 5-year-old Brooklyn boy is deteriorating.

That’s because Pietro is one of 3,500 boys worldwide born annually with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal degenerative disease that weakens muscles at an aggressive pace.

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Mold Takes Their Breath Away

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Mold’s Still a Growing Problem

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

A Backpack Full of Inspiration

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Fighting to Keep a Head Start

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Extending Gingerbread Lane

Saturday, November 15th, 2014