Christine Quinn courts black voters at Queens church

Christine Quinn and Councilman Ruben Wills at Maranatha Christine Quinn and Councilman Ruben Wills at Maranatha Baptist Church in Queens on July 7, 2013. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Christine Quinn Sunday paid a rare campaign visit to black churchgoers in the outer reaches of Queens, a demographic more actively courted by her rival for mayor, Anthony Weiner.

She condemned gun violence and highlighted the area's flooding problems in a short speech at Maranatha Baptist Church in Queens Village.

"We cannot rest and we will not rest until we get to zero, and until all of our children are safe to go out and have fun, to be young, to enjoy themselves," Quinn said of lowering the gun death rate. She added that she had boosted funding in the City Council for community programs to deter violence.

She also asked for prayers for her father, Lawrence, 86, who Monday is to undergo surgery on his leg after fracturing it in June as he entered a subway station.

Quinn's campaign so far has included few visits to churches in the city's predominantly black neighborhoods, so some congregants said Sunday's appearance was a pleasant surprise.

Many of the crowd of about 120 offered the City Council speaker vocal support during her speech and stood to applaud when she finished.

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Wayne Grant, a Roosevelt resident who can't vote in the mayor's race but maintains an influential role in the church as a deacon, said he was confident many city residents in the congregation would go for Quinn.

"I wasn't considering her before, but now that she showed the wherewithal to come to my stomping grounds . . . I'm thinking she can be the person to address this community's problems," said Grant, 54.

Church member Kymeshia Daniels, 29, of Jamaica, Queens, said Quinn has her vote.

"I liked what she said about kids, violence and guns. It needs to stop," Daniels said.

A recent Wall Street Journal-NBC New York-Marist poll showed Quinn trailing Weiner and Bill Thompson in support among African-American Democrats. She had 19 percent to Weiner's 26 percent and Thompson's 21 percent. Thompson, a former comptroller, is the contest's only black candidate.

Weiner has spoken at several churches in Harlem, Queens and Brooklyn since he launched his campaign in May. Sunday, the former congressman had three stops scheduled at outer-borough churches, including St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York, Brooklyn.

Christian Black, 20, of Jamaica, Queens, a St. Paul member, said Weiner's speech painted him as down-to-earth and relatable. "We don't normally get people like that at our church, but I liked what he had to say," Black said.

Quinn visited the Queens Village church with Councilman Leroy Comrie, a candidate for Queens borough president, and Queens Councilman Ruben Wills.

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