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Van Bramer to host self-defense class, in response to post election fears

Center for Anti-Violence Education

December 8, By Hannah Wulkan

Queens residents will have the chance to learn self defense at a free class hosted by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer next week.

Though not an expert himself, Van Bramer has enlisted several community groups to host a self-defense and anti-bullying class next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th Street.

Representatives from the Women’s Initiative of Self Empowerment (WISE), a group founded to help Muslim women protect themselves from attacks, and the Center for Anti-Violence Education will lead the session.

The class is the third in a series of post-election events Van Bramer is hosting to bring the community together and to make those who feel targeted feel safer. It comes after a Community Speak Out and a #QueensValues march across the Queensboro Bridge to Trump Tower in the weeks following the election.

“Hate crimes and bigotry are on the rise. Just this weekend, three drunk men harrassed and attacked a Muslim woman on a train platform, while onlookers did nothing,” Van Bramer posted on Facebook. “That’s why our third #QueensResponds mass action is a self-defense, anti-bullying, upstander and de-escalation training, so we all know how to respond in hateful situations.”

According to the organizers, the event will teach self-defense and de-escalation, as well as “upstander tactics,” or how to act when one witnesses wrongdoing.

The idea for the training rose out of Van Bramer’s Community Speak Out, the first post-election event that he hosted, when a community member said that they did not feel safe after the election, and suggested self-defense training.

The workshop comes as hate crimes are on the rise. According to police, hate crimes are up more than 30 percent in New York City this year compared to 2015, which the Police Commissioner attributed to the hateful rhetoric surrounding the election.

The class is free and open to the public. To reserve a spot, call 718-383-9566 or email [email protected]

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