Simmons, LL Cool J encourage Rikers youths to embrace peace

NEW YORK — A group of young people at New York City’s Rikers Island got some words of encouragement from hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and actor LL Cool J.

The two visited the jail complex on Thursday to mark the launch of a national anti-violence program from Simmons’ RushCard, a prepaid debit card.

RushCard’s Keep the Peace initiative is giving grants to neighborhood organizations. One of those is LIFE Camp, a Queens organization that works with young people, including those at Rikers, to reduce violence.

Deputy Warden Clement Glenn says partnering with programs like LIFE Camp is among the ways the Department of Correction tries to get young people to change their behavior.

Simmons and Cool J told the youth to believe in themselves and that their dreams matter.