Winners of a contest that asked borough residents to share their community’s stories were recently celebrated.
The New York City Police Foundation celebrated four winners of their #MyBronxStory campaign that encouraged local residents to share experiences about their communities in an effort to foster better community and police relations and more understanding of each other.
Shenia Rudolph, Francinia Casimiro, Rafael Reyes and Daniel Josephs took home prizes and bragging rights at a ceremony that took place at St. Raymond’s High School for Boys on Thursday, November 30.
St. Raymond alumni Terence Monahan, NYPD Chief of Patrol; police officer Joseph Ayala and Alden Foster, NYPD deputy director were also honored by their alma mater for their contributions to making the city a better place.
#MyBronxStory participants submitted essays, videos and group of photographs to illustrate the varied communities they come from and their own experiences.
Rudolph, who comes from Fordham, wrote an essay focusing on her almost decade-long volunteer and activist efforts to improve local schools in her community.
These include her service as a parent liaison at M.S. 391 and her assistance at New Vision Charter High School for the Humanities, she said, including work to get better school security cameras.
She first heard about the contest through a daughter-in-law, and said she was surprised when she learned that she had won in the online voting.
She received a Macbook computer as a #MyBronxStory prize, said Rudolph, adding the award was a rare recognition.
“You do work throughout the years and you don’t get acknowledgement, so I feel that this is about appreciation,” she said, adding she hoped that the award would encourage other activists not to give up on worthy causes.
Casimiro is a recent CUNY Baruch College graduate with an interest in photography.
She explored the theme of ‘home’ through photography in #MyBronxStory, taking pictures around her Highbridge community, including at the 44th Precinct where she said she engaged in a positive conversation with a sergeant about her interest in photography, she said.
“I wanted to romanticize the Bronx,” said Casimiro.
She said she believes that if there could be one-on-one dialogue between the police and the community it would foster trust.
The St. Raymond High School for Boys students’ involvement in #MyBronxStories included making videos about their own ‘Bronx tales’, visiting police at headquarters, and meeting with cops during the November 30 event, said Jimmie Sturgis, St. Raymond college counselor.
“The main thing was to strengthen the relationship with the police department and the residents of the community,” said Sturgis, adding “the most important thing is that they were heard in speaking about their community and how police and community could better work together.”
He added that many of the boys who aspire to careers in law enforcement were interested in learning about the patrol officers’ experiences.
The school principal, Judith Carew, said that it was an opportunity for St. Raymond students to learn about various NYPD careers.