New Rochelle woman prescribes karaoke to heal community

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A New Rochelle woman organized a community karaoke event to try and lift spirits around her city following a rash of violence.

Kemesha Salmon says she started singing behind the cash register at her toy store and asking customers to join in. Then she planned the karaoke night at Beechmont Tavern on North Avenue and asked people to come together and sing their hearts out Tuesday evening.

Dozens of people turned out, including Sarah Langloise.

"I was born and raised here, and I've chosen to raise my family here," Langloise said. "Things don't look great right now, but things like this, all the positive events, show how strong of a community we really are."

Jaime Perrotta had a similar take.

"Don't believe it," she said about concerns that the city was unsafe. "It's a great place to live. I'm raising my children here. My husband and I were born and raised here. We're New Ro Strong."

The event comes two months after violence in and around New Rochelle High School rocked the community. One incident ended in the stabbing death of 16-year-old Valeree Schwab just a few doors down from Salmon's shop.

Salmon is also one of the 46 members of the newly formed Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth. She was chosen out of 300 applicants to help shape the security of her city.

"I think I was chosen because I'm very involved in my community," she said. "I'm a parent and I'm a business owner so I can give two different perspectives: one as a business owner because the kids pass by here on North Avenue every day and one as a parent with kids in the school system."

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