About The Guardian Angels
In the late 1970’s, crime in New York City was victimizing residents like never before. Murder, hate crime and violent crime was threatening every New Yorker, as police budgets were cut and citizens were left to defend themselves.
Residents of the City resigned themselves to the reality as the politicians and police seemed powerless. However a young man from Brooklyn, Curtis Sliwa, felt someone had to do something. So he stepped forward, forming "The Maginficent 13" with thirteen coworkers of the McDonalds Curtis managed. He knew that the City he was born in, the City he loved, deserved better, and later inspired more neighbors to join in, leading to the creation of the Guardian Angels Community Safety Patrol.
The Guardian Angels operate under the motto “we dare to care” and have proved it over and over though the years, in some cases with their lives.
The Guardian Angels Today
These days the Guardian Angels have Chapters in Thirteen Countries and over one hundred cities. While the original hometown group of thirteen has grown to thousands across the globe the mission has not changed: to make a positive change in the community by involving members of our communities to step forward and take an active role. While the classic street patrols are the lifeblood of the organization we all know that reaching the youth in our neighborhoods, especially the most at risk, is crucial, so once again the Guardian Angels is meeting the need. The “Junior Angels” program, their Youth Outreach programs, and their Washington Heights Community Center, provides help for kids with everything from homework to nutrition while getting them actively involved in their community.
Dare to Care about your Community
The Guardian Angels have always ascribed to a philosophy of open membership as evidenced by the diversity of its membership. They are not concerned with gender, age, sexuality or race and require only the commitment to pursue the betterment of their community. By observing the overwhelmingly positive impact of joining together to achieve results, volunteers have come to realize that it is within their collective reach to create the quality of life they so desperately seek. This realization has turned hopelessness into empowerment, fear into friendliness and the caring individual into a powerful collective.
Rising criminal activity and decreased public services can paralyze communities. This is when the We Not I philosophy of the Guardian Angels is so powerful. Where residents have reached out to keep their neighborhoods safe, the Guardian Angels have lent a hand to help locals establish neighborhood Safety Patrols. Guided by principles of honesty, dependability and persistence, volunteers empower themselves and selflessly protect others.
The Guardian Angels also understand the importance of changing the atmosphere of a neighborhood experiencing high crime. The change in atmosphere is a change in attitude. An attitude of urgency in taking back the streets from the criminals. An attitude that we can retrieve the quality of life that rightfully belongs to us only if we think and care about one another.
An attitude of understanding that the only permanent solution is to develop programs that will approach street crime at the community level by involving everyone whom the problem affects.
Instead of relying on others to resolve a community issue, the Guardian Angels help people recognize that they should be turning to themselves. Together, those willing to fight for one another are most capable of solving their community’s problems.
Click through to view images of the Guardian Angels Then and Today.