Local leaders donate Ukrainian flag to Borough Hall, ask Staten Islanders to take action in support of country’s people
Borough President Vito J. Fossella invited local Ukrainian community leaders, members of the Staten Island religious community, and representatives from the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island today asking for ways Staten Island can help Ukrainians worldwide as the country continues to endure the Russian invasion.
“We have seen the courage and strength of Ukrainian citizens. Despite the fact that they are fleeing these horrible circumstances, you do not see it in their faces,” said Borough President Fossella. “The vast majority are stoically walking hand in hand, with their life on their back, sometimes being separated at the border. They are showing the world what courage is all about.”
He continued the conversation asking how Staten Islanders could help.
“Half a million people on Staten Island want to send our voice to Washington and do everything in our power as a country to end this violent invasion. We just hope that we as Americans can do what we can to assist the people of Ukraine during this time.”
Staten Islander Andriy Boychuk, who was born in Ukraine, was in attendance at the meeting and implored Staten Island to do what they can to show their solidarity with Ukrainians. Boychuk also donated an Ukrainian flag to Borough Hall, which is currently affixed to the exterior of the building that faces Richmond Terrace and all of Downtown Staten Island.
“To all people living on Staten Island, we would like to urge you to take action and not remain silent. Russia has invaded Ukraine, killing innocent civilians in the process,” said Boychuk, who also represents “Razom for Ukraine,” a U.S. based non-profit organization. “Shares on social media, tweets, dollars donated to non-profit organizations, attending rallies, discussions, and public displays of the Ukrainian flag all count and mean so much to Ukrainians all over the world. I want to thank the Borough President for the invitation and his allyship to Ukraine.”
More details to follow on where donations can be made to support Ukraine.
Catchphrase “Fight Hunger, Not Each Other” strives to encourage working together for good
Borough President Vito J. Fossella was joined by District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and Bread of Life Executive Director Joseph Delaney today to announce a partnership for the 31st annual Bread of Life Food Drive.
This year, Bread of Life is using the catchphrase “Fight Hunger, Not Each Other” to give students an extracurricular outlet and opportunity to contribute to the community in light of recent violence in schools. Students in both public and private schools will lead and participate in the drive to fight food insecurity across Staten Island. At the end of the drive, the food collected will be given to over 20 not-for-profit organizations on Staten Island.
“The Bread of Life food drive is a Staten Island tradition that helps foster the good that we all find within the students of our local schools,” said Borough President Fossella. “There has always been a common theme with the Bread of Life food drive. It highlights the importance of working together for the greater good, helping so many Staten Islanders who experience food insecurity. I want to thank DA McMahon for partnering on this wonderful event which has been spearheaded for decades by Joe Delaney, Dr. Bob Griswold and Notre Dame Club President Tom Ventrudo. Your efforts have changed the lives of so many, and we thank you for your service.”
“For the past 30 years, the University of Notre Dame Bread of Life food drive has brought together local schools, volunteers, and organizations from across Staten Island to provide much-needed food items and support to our neighbors in need,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “This year’s theme, “Fight Hunger, Not Each Other,” encourages Staten Island students from all backgrounds to unite under the common cause of ending hunger by working together. Just as importantly we are helping our students understand the hurt that violence against each other can cause and that there are better, peaceful ways to resolve disagreements. I am equally proud to partner with Borough President Fossella and his office to continue this wonderful Staten Island tradition, and I thank Joe Delaney, Dr. Bob Griswold and Club President Tom Ventrudo for their tireless work to create a lasting culture of giving and peace in our schools throughout the borough.”
“I thank Borough President Fossella and District Attorney McMahon for bringing together the students of our Staten Island schools to fight hunger by participating in the annual Notre Dame Bread of Life food drive,” said Bread of Life Executive Director Joseph Delaney. “The leadership of these two distinguished public officials can only serve to inspire our students to join together in a common cause that will lead to a greater unity of our young people, as they become a significant force for good within our schools and throughout the Staten Island community for years to come.”
The Bread of Life has raised almost two million food items from over 100 local schools, and distributed donations to 25 not-for-profits on Staten Island throughout its 30 year history. This year, participating schools will collect non-perishable items between March 28 and April 9.
Statement of Borough President Vito J. Fossella on incident involving a student with an alleged gun at Port Richmond High School
The incident yesterday at Port Richmond High School, captured on video, shows a student allegedly dropping a gun from his backpack, picking it up, and exiting the school doors unhindered. This represents the latest in a string of warnings to our school system, Staten Island, and our society.
Sadly, too many kids are being raised to believe there are no consequences for their actions, either in their school or on the streets. To these kids, unlawful behavior is acceptable behavior, because they can get away with almost anything.
Do we have the courage to act and fix this now?
Let me be clear – there are many good things occurring in Port Richmond High School, thanks to the hard work of its principal, teachers and students. That makes incidents like this all the more unfortunate.
Recently, every elected official on Staten Island – Democrat and Republican – pledged to work together to establish clear rules and guidelines to keep our schools safe.
Call me “old school” but something needs to be done to send a clear message: enough is enough.
We pledge to work with our colleagues in government to help effectuate a change in the protocols that have allowed this type of activity to disrupt our schools.
Educators, police officers, school safety agents, the court system, community leaders, innocent kids, and parents are all frustrated because these incidents are allowed to continue. We need the cooperation of our City and State to bring about the changes that are needed.
Let’s end this frustration and take back our schools, once and for all.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil is an approach that ultimately hurts our kids.
Statement of Assemblyman Mike Tannousis
"Unfortunately, this is another example that demonstrates our need for increased safety in our schools. New York is in a public safety crisis and the situation is only getting worse. We need immediate action from all levels of government."
Statement of Assemblyman Mike Reilly
"This incident only highlights the need for enhanced safety measures in our public schools and greater support from the New York City Police Department. When are children are at school, their safety and security is the responsibility of the City of New York."
Statement of Councilmember Kamillah Hanks
"Parents send their children to schools expecting them to be safe. Gun violence is an immediate threat to our city and state. Incidents like this one should worry every member of our community. As Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety, preventing situations like the one that occurred at Port Richmond High School is absolutely a top priority. I fully intend to work with our local schools, NYPD, and city agencies to achieve that."
Statement of Councilman David Carr
“We have to keep guns out of schools and away from our children. Every parent in Staten Island and beyond should be able to have the confidence that their child is safe when they go to class for the day. It is unacceptable that someone can bring a gun to school and appear to suffer no consequences. The risk to students, faculty, staff, and visitors is too great, and the New York City Department of Education has to make the safety of those in its care the foremost priority.”
This long-awaited day of lifting mask and vaccine mandates is music to the ears of so many parents, students, families, and business owners across Staten Island.
We have been saying for months that mask mandates should come to an end and that students in particular have suffered a detrimental consequence in their educational progress and mental health. Today, I had the chance to speak with a class of students at Monsignor Farrell High School on their first week learning in a mask-free environment. I asked how it felt. They answered “amazing.”
We hope that all kids this coming Monday will feel the same way once the mask mandate ends for public school students. I want to applaud Mayor Eric Adams for taking this next step as we move forward with COVID-19 in the rearview.
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