West Harlem Empowerment Coalition (WHEC [we-see!]) is an alliance consisting of community leaders, local elected officials, city agencies, non-profit organizations, local clergy, professionals, and concerned citizens. WHEC was initially formed in 2012 to address the issues surrounding the youth in West Harlem. Subsequently, it was extended to empowering the community at large.
The mission of WHEC is to promote community partnership and connect families with the resources they need such that each family member is equipped with the mind set, skills, jobs and services needed to have a quality life.
In April 2012, Inspector Ruel Stephenson, former commanding officer of the 30th Precinct NYPD, brought together as many local leaders as possible, to brainstorm and work toward solutions to the area’s drug and violence-related struggles that peaked in the summers. Elected officials showed up. Clergy showed up. The NYPD showed up. Local Community Activists showed up. From this meeting the Inspector formed the West Harlem Empowerment Coalition, along with a number of invested community members who wanted to see youth and adults connected with the resources they needed. The coalition continues to be supported by current 30th Precinct Commanding officer, Captain Michael Baker and the community affairs team. WHEC is a testament to how NYPD and community can work together to build trust and heal our community from the inside out.
To empower our residents, WHEC presents monthly Empowerment Fairs through the summer and early fall (6 in total) on a grassroots level, one block at a time. Low-income areas with issues of youth on youth violence and high incarceration are targeted and engaged with sports on the street including basketball and soccer. While residents are on the street numerous resources are there to serve the community including legal aid, educational opportunities, job training, affordable healthcare and screenings, youth mentorship, voting rights, post-incarceration guidance and much more.
WHEC has been able to galvanize a resource base which partners with us in fulfilling our vision to empower our community one block at a time. Some of our partners have included: CB9, 30th Precinct Community Council, NYPD, Local West Harlem Elected Officials, Harlem Business Alliance, Single Stop, America Scores, New York Library, Manhattan Legal Services, NYC Family Justice Center, local Block Associations, local churches, WeACT for Environmental Justice, MNN El Barrio Firehouse, Fortune Society, West Harlem Group Assistance, Bi-State Coalition of NY and NJ among many more.
Membership in the coalition is open to community based organizations serving in West Harlem, individuals with a commitment to the mission who live or work in the community, liaisons from government agencies, the Community Board, the Precinct Community Council and offices of elected officials.
Our WHEC Board is also our staff and local community members who volunteer their time to organize and keep WHEC running from day to day and fair to fair. The board works as a team to #empowerwestharlem and prove that #empowermentworks!
We welcome you to our next meeting or event!
Join the Coalition
Are you a community based organization serving West Harlem and interested in partnering with WHEC?