More than 700 kids and teenagers from schools throughout the city converged on Kingsborough Community College on May 9 for a job fair aimed at encouraging young Muslims to consider careers in law enforcement.
The fifth-annual career day hosted by the Council of Peoples Organization was intended to give kids who may feel wary of the law enforcement community in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks a chance to connect in a positive setting, according to an organizer.
“It is bridging the gap between law enforcements and Muslim youth,” said Muhammad Razzi, executive director of the organization. “Ever since 9-11 … Muslim youths were being viewed as ‘other’ because of the horrific attacks.”
The career day had representatives from the police and fire departments, Homeland Security, Secret Service, and other city, state, and federal agencies, according to Razzi. He said the event helps reverse the anxiety of religious students and community members who felt like scapegoats after the attacks and developed a fear of security officials.
“We found out that many kids are afraid of law enforcement, and we don’t want that because these are American kids,” he said.
One attendee said the career day gives her and her peers a chance to talk to different government representatives — and even though she doesn’t want a career in the government, she said she is still glad she attended.
“I always look forward to it because it is such a great opportunity for younger teens and people who want to work for the government,” said Baneen Mirza, who lives in Queens and also attended the fair last year.
The career day has already changed the mindset of kids who were once hesitant about a future in law enforcement and civil service, said Razzi.
“Kids now want to become fire department personnel, they want to become the heroes with NYPD,” he said.