Our Mission

PS 177 Unity Song

“Unity” is the Council for Unity’s anthem. It was written by Sal Cosentino, Assistant Principal at P.S. 177 to symbolize how the Council culture brings Unity to diverse populations. In this moving celebration by elementary school students we see through the words of innocent children the path the world must follow to end the painful consequences of intolerance and the great joy when our common humanity is embraced.

Our History

A Lifting of Hands

The dramatic recreation of the violent incidents that lead to the formation of The Council For Unity.

A Cause for Celebration

After the Lifting of Hands incident, the Council evolved into a movement. This documentary tracks the expansion of Council throughout the New York City School System with testimonies from children in our elementary, middle and senior high school chapters.

Council For Unity – CBS News

CBS Evening News captures the early history of Council as it began to expand beyond John Dewey High School to middle and elementary schools in the surrounding community. The second clip with reporter Katy Tong goes further by reporting on CFU’s expansion to Long Island. Many early alums are featured in this coverage.

Young People Building Bridges

This documentary highlights the Council’s School Based Initiative with student voices articulating the impact of our program on their lives. With our induction as a backdrop, the viewer will see the entire CFU national network in this dramatic testament to CFU’s growth from a program to a national movement.

Behind Bars: A Chance For Change

This Emmy nominated Special by News 12 Long Island showcases the Council’s holistic strategy in Riverhead, Long Island to engage schools, communities, law enforcement agencies and prisons into a single network to end conflict, discrimination and gang recruitment. Through the voices of inmates, educators and police officers we see how CFU lays the ground work for what other towns and communities can do to achieve the same results as seen here in this compelling special.

Our Founder

Council Founder Bob De Sena speaks out against racism at 15th Anniversary Induction

Robert J. De Sena sending our children out unto the world to be a light and example of the Unity. 15th Annual Council for Unity Induction Dinner (ca. 1990)

Council for Unity, Robert J. De Sena

Overview of the founder of Council For Unity Bob De Sena

Antwan Lewis interview of Bob De Sena

Council for Unity’s President and Founder Robert J. De Sena sits down with Antwan Lewis on Fox 5 NY’s – Good Day Street Talk to discuss Council for Unity.

Luminaries and Testimonials

Former Governor Mario Cuomo’s tribute to CFU at 15th Anniversary Induction

Governor Mario Cuomo delivers a powerful and moving speech from the heart at the Council for Unity 15th Anniversary Dinner. His words, spoken more than 20 years ago are as relevant today as they were then.

Council for Unity – Champions for Children Gala – May 4, 2011

L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson is an honoree at the Champions for Children Gala held at the Harvard Club in 2011. Here Mr. Johnson praises CFU Founder, Robert J. De Sena, for his embrace of multi-cultural, multi-racial children into the Council’s embrace.

Former UFT/AFT President Sandy Feldman receives Woman of the Year Award at Council’s 15th year Anniversary Induction

Sandra Feldman, United Federation of Teachers receives the Woman of the Year award at the 15th Annual Council for Unity Induction Ceremony. (ca. 1990)

Gang Intervention, Reclamation and Re-Entry

Riverhead Prison

This Special captures the founding of Council for Unity by rival gang members at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility. Within a few months of their immersion into our Dragon Slayer Syllabus these men found their lost humanity and became a band of brothers. They recreated in the most dramatic fashion what our original members did in 1975. These scenarios have been repeated in 100’s of venues since our inception and explain why Council for Unity has been called” The Program of Miracles.”

Gang Conference Workshops

The workshops from the UFT/Council for Unity Gang conference features actual gang leaders sharing how their immersion into the Council for Unity program transformed their lives and played a key role in their abandoning gang culture.


The members of the Council for Unity chapter at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility volunteered to share their journey and transformation after their analysis of the Dragon Slayer Myth written by Mr. De Sena. Each member selected a step that had a special meaning for him and demonstrated how that step was a catalyst for personal change. The video is their lasting legacy proving that change is possible even for those in the most challenging of circumstances.

Dragon Slayer Rap featuring Robert Cummmings

Robert Cummings is an inmate who joined Council for Unity in 2017 at the Suffolk County Jail. The Dragon Slayer myth had such an impact on him that he composed lyrics around its theme.

Council for Unity – Forefathers and Founders

Interviews with Council for Unity Founders and Forefathers from the 2019 Induction Ceremony.


This BBC Special demonstrates how the Council’s reputation has taken root overseas. BBC reporter Lucy Cotter provides her British audience with powerful vignettes of the Council’s capacity for reclamation of gang leaders both in the street and in prisons. Additional coverage by the British media followed with a call for their educational and social services networks to follow the CFU paradigm to deal with the issue of gangs.

The Bronx – News 12

This Special Report covers the first of many gang summits sponsored by both the UFT and the Council to address the need to reduce violence in schools beset by violence and gang recruitment. Here CFU high schools in the Bronx convene to bring peace to their borough.