Last week I went to One Police Plaza to renew my press credentials. I had parked on Chambers Street at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, my jaw dropped at what I saw.
The desecration of our city buildings and sidewalks — just steps away from historic City Hall and Tweed Courthouse, home of the Department of Education — surrounded me. I had seen photos of the vandalism, but seeing the words of hate in person shook me to my core.
The majestic municipal building named after David Dinkins has been defaced, his name covered with graffiti. The word f*** was written on the pillars of the building.
The people responsible for the hateful words covering our monuments do not seem to be Black Lives Matter protesters nor police supporters — they appear to be people who simply hate our way of life.
Who are these people? What is their agenda? Why is Tent City still there? Do we really want a city with a decimated police force?
This is no time for us to be passive. The best way for us to fight is through our vote.
Rest in peace
We lost a symbol of change this week when U.S. Rep. John Lewis, an extraordinary force for racial equality, died after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
I was moved by his courageous life. He started fighting injustice as a young Black man in Alabama. He was told he couldn’t check out books from the public library and it inspired him to get an education, which he did.
His front-row seat leading the fight for racial equality started with his push to end the Jim Crow Laws and didn’t end until his death at the age of 80.
He sat at luncheonette counters that were closed to people of color. He put his life on the line marching to Selma, Alabama, over the now infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The march became known as “Bloody Sunday” because of the violence toward the peaceful, unarmed marchers.
Lewis is the last surviving speaker of the March on Washington. There, he spoke words that are chillingly similar today and asked the question: “Is the government listening?”
Just days before his death, he was out on the streets of Washington, fighting for racial equality. He never gave up.
His life is an inspirational testimonial that change can happen. He once said: “We all live in the same house, we all must be part of the effort to hold down our little house. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just … do something about it. Say something. Have the courage. Have the backbone. Get in the way. Walk with the wind. It’s all going to work out.”
His words of justice resonate today, louder than ever. He recognized that no change comes without the demand to make change.
The Black community is continuing its fight for equal education, health care and jobs. Now is the time in history to see it happen. This is America, the greatest place on the planet. We can right those wrongs. We must do it!