Embracing Politics on Coney Island

Pamela Harris (Photo by Paula Katinas via Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Pamela Harris (Photo by Paula Katinas via Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Pamela Harris, who won a special election last November for the New York State Assembly seat in the 46th district, tells Paula Katinas of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that she had not intended to run but now, having already sponsored and co-sponsored bills on everything from illegal home conversions to recording police interrogations of young people, she has decided she will run for her first full term this coming November.

Looking out for young people and offering them a better chance has been something that has preoccupied Harris for some time. About a decade ago, troubled by the behavior of some young people in her neighborhood, she began a group call Coney Island Generation Gap. It started with a camera that she gave an 8 year old boy, instructing him to go out and take photographs, and evolved into a local organization that had more than 70 kids in its program, helping with educational opportunities, and telling them about the prospects for college. Harris lives on Coney Island, and her assembly district includes Coney Island, Seagate and parts of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

Harris attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice while working as a correction officer on Rikers Island, received her BA from St. Joseph’s and a masters from Capella University. She said her experience at Rikers, and later, delivering food by truck to various city jails, made her want to do something to help kids avoid that fate.

Read Brooklyn Daily Eagle‘s interview with Harris to find out what she took as a message that convinced her to run in the special election, and find out what made Harris retire from working at Rikers a decade ago.

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