Blue Ribbons initiative has made its way to Brooklyn to salute law enforcement

Paying tribute to police officers and law enforcement.

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and State Senator Marty Golden were joined by Carmen Shouldis and Lori Ann Zangla-Mohlenhoff, founders of Blue Ribbons, on Tuesday, October 5 to announce a partnership. Blue Ribbons was formed this past July to honor and pay tribute to the law enforcement community.

The two women made the ribbons themselves from tablecloths, and distributed them by tying around trees and lampposts in various communities.

“We started in Staten island,” said Shouldis, who is a nurse. “We went around to every police precinct and we hung them on major arteries on Staten Island to get the awareness started. Then we completed all of the precincts in Brooklyn. That’s a lot of precincts, but it only took two days to do.”

Shouldis and Zangla-Mohlenhoff’s initiative started days after the murders of police officers in Baton Rouge in July. “We couldn’t comprehend that police officers in this country were murdered because they put on a uniform and did their job. My son is an officer.  Lori’s husband is as well. When they see a blue ribbon, they know that they are loved, supported and respected,” said Shouldis.

Since its inception, the movement has grown on a global scale. The two started a Facebook page which now includes over 23,000 members.  Ribbons are currently displayed in 27 states and four countries, including New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil and Iceland.

“Next up is going to be the entirety of Manhattan,” Shouldis said. “Lori and I are now selling t-shirts and car magnets where 100 percent of the proceeds is in keeping with our message.”

For the most part, most people are welcoming the cause, the pair said. “I don’t think you’ll please everybody, but that won’t stop us from what we’re doing,” Shouldis said. “When we go around and we meet these police officers, we tell them what we’re doing, they are always with their hand held over their heart, some of them with tears in their eyes because they can’t believe somebody is actually doing something to support them.”

Malliotakis praised the work of the two women. “This effort is about allowing the community to express its support for police officers and show them that we appreciate, care and respect them and we pray for their safety,” she said. “This is a wonderful initiative that I think Bay Ridge will truly support because we know this is a community that supports our law enforcement.”

“This is another way of remembering our police officers, and never forgetting the sacrifices they have made and the sacrifices the families make every single day,” added Golden. “It’s a hole in their heart that never closes when you lose a family member or loved one.”

Ribbons will be available for pickup, free of charge, at the office of Golden and Malliotakis, 7408 Fifth Avenue.


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