Hip-Hop Mogul Russell Simmons to Launch and Bankroll Trenton Peacekeeping Force

Josh Norris, Trentonian, April 7, 2010

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons wants to launch a corps of citizen peacekeepers in Trenton in response to last month’s gang rape of a 7-year-old girl.

The co-founder of Def Jam Records, in conjunction with Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, {snip} told The Trentonian last night that he will put up half the funds for an arm of ENOTA–Educating Neighborhoods to Obey Those in Authority–to be established in Trenton.

Simmons estimated that his share of the costs, although not finalized, could reach as high as $50,000. The other half of the cash will come from Palmer’s charitable organization, the Trenton First Initiative.

{snip}

“We want to get men from the community and train them so they can move through the streets, so they can exude a positive attitude and presence,” Simmons said. “Their job is not to patrol in the same way that police patrol.”

These peacekeepers will wear orange jackets and carry cards declaring their membership in the program.

Simmons said that the peacekeepers’ presence spreads a sense through the community that things are changing for the better.

{snip}

Palmer said representatives for the peacekeeping program, which has found success in New York and Delaware, will be on hand at Saturday’s rally in support of the victim, to be held at 7 p.m. at the Lighthouse Outreach Ministry.

“I want the peacekeepers and those individuals to talk about–which they will Saturday–what they do, not only working within the community, but developing local peacekeepers here that can talk to young people,” Palmer said, “not talking down to them, but talking with them and dialoguing and trying to be a positive force in the community.”

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