After reading an edition of the Forest Hill Ledger this month, I was shocked to see two violent incidents would result in the renaming of streets in Queens. The first was the murder of Daniel Malakov, a Bukharian emigre who was murdered in front of his daughter on the orders of his estranged wife. The other was the unfortunate police incident concerning Sean Bell outside a notorious after-hours bar.
Certainly both men will be missed by their respective families, friends and neighbors. But being a good father, son, neighbor or citizen who is the victim of unfortunate circumstances should not automatically translate into a city street being renamed as a memorial. I believe the established criteria should be that the individual have a certain amount of prominence or significance in the entire community at large and that such an individual should have been proven to have made a positive contribution to that community.
In both the above cases, what we seem to have is a rather concerted effort by family members, combined with ethnic and racial politics, forcing the issue upon the rest of the community. And even worse is a group of politicians for their own benefit playing pander politics.
Perhaps someday our country will get back to the days of judging people on individual merit and achievement instead of focusing on group rights and identities.