black lives matter

Protestors Rally in Front of Council Member Levin’s Apartment During Budget Vote

Council Member Levin during yesterday evening’s remote hearing.

Protestors clanged and banged in front of Council Member Stephen Levin’s apartment yesterday evening as he joined a majority of members that passed the City Council’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The protest followed Levin’s announcement earlier this week that he would vote in support of a city budget that cuts the NYPD’s funding by $1 billion.

Demonstrators, however, exhorted him to cast a ‘no’ vote on a budget they say didn’t go far enough in defunding the city police.

“We don’t want them to pass the bill. It’s not what we asked for,” said Melina Juárez, a member of the protest who lives in Williamsburg. “It was just moving money around.”

Levin acknowledged that what was on the table was unsatisfactory for many of his constituents.

“This is the most difficult and heart-rending budget in recent memory,” he said during yesterday night’s hearing. “I too am disappointed that we weren’t able to go further with cuts to the NYPD.” Continue reading

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How White Neighbors Can Be Better Allies to BIPOC in a Mostly White Neighborhood

A freshly painted “No Room For Racism” sign on the front of D’emploi Studio (238 Franklin St.) in Greenpoint.

In early June, a crowd of neighbors gathered outside Tommy’s Tavern, listening as a woman named Kira shared her painful experiences with racism at that very Greenpoint corner.

More neighbors shared their stories of living as people of color in a mostly-White neighborhood, and called on White neighbors to stand up and protect Black folks and people of color living in and visiting the neighborhood.

 

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More than 100 protestors gathered Thursday afternoon in front of Tommy’s Tavern (1041 Manhattan Ave.), a local dive bar, to condemn the owner’s recent behavior towards a black woman. Kira, a black woman who works in Greenpoint, says that she was waiting at a bus stop across the street from the bar on June 7th when the owner, Thomas Kaminski, told her she “shouldn’t be here.” Kaminski bragged about how he had more money than her and yelled about ‘Black Lives Matter protests’ in his neighborhood, at one point flipping her the bird, she alleges. “It’s obvious in Greenpoint that I’m probably the only black person I’d see for a while,” said Kira, who declined to give her last name. “But I never felt unwelcome until that day.” She previously spoke about the altercation a week ago in McCarren Park during one of the nightly vigils in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. After returning home from the park, she decided to organize a protest in front of the bar, which Council Member Stephen Levin’s office supported. (Link in bio for full post) in 📷: Ben Weiss

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Those living in and around Greenpoint are probably aware that the neighborhood pales in racial diversity compared to many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. As of 2018, 6.1% of the population identified as Asian, 3.9% identified as Black, 20.7% identified as Hispanic, and 65.9% identified as White, according to data from the Furman Center. Very few businesses in North Brooklyn are Black-owned.

Acknowledging what the neighborhood is lacking is only a small step in pushing Greenpoint towards becoming a more equitable, anti-racist area for neighbors and visitors. To guide White allies in actively making Greenpoint a better place for people of color, Black queer activist and author Kat Vellos shared some words of wisdom and actionable suggestions.

Adjust to an anti-racist vocabulary

Firstly, “Stop calling people of color minorities,” Vellos says. “This term leads to the continual perpetuation of the idea that people of color are less than or that white are superior.” She recommends non-Black allies check out her recent piece, “How non-Black people can be supportive to Black communities” for a better understanding on how to help Black neighbors.

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Williamsburg Mural Depicts 2020’s Chaotic Headlines, So Far

A mural painted last week in Williamsburg on the choas of 2020.

President Donald Trump with devil horns holding the bible, an NYPD car in flames and a shackled American flag with a white power symbol are some of the interpreted 2020 headline moments depicted in a new hand-painted mural in Williamsburg that debuted last week.

The mural, entitled “2020 Now But Not Forever” is on Kent Avenue and Grand Street and is from Overall Murals. A description from the creators  next to the large-scale mural states:

2020 IS NOT OVER AND IT’S ALREADY A BIG PART OF OUR HISTORY.

THE MURAL DEPICTS SOME OF THE CHAOTIC AND UNFORGETTABLE EVENTS WE’VE SEEN AROUND THE WORLD, COUNTRY AND IN NEW YORK.

IN THIS POSTMODERN INFORMATIONAL ERA, NEWS SPREADS FAST. IT’S ALL UNPREDICTABLE BUT WHAT CAN BE PREDICTED ARE OUR ACTIONS AND REACTIONS

DO THE RIGHT THING.

The description of the new mural from Overall Murals.

Also painted in the mural are the Australian wildfires, a tribute to Kobe Bryant, cursory fireworks, sheep wearing masks (except for the black sheep) in response to coronavirus, healthcare heroes and Black Lives Matter.

“The circumstances we’re experiencing must be accepted as they are but as humans we innately feel the need to solve problems and implement change. And in today’s postmodern world, what can we do?,” Overall Murals wrote on social media promoting the work. Continue reading

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Kid’s Peace Movement to March in Support of Black Lives Matter on Saturday in Greenpoint and Williamsburg

(Photo via Kid’s Peace Movement)

The adults have gathered every night for nearly a month in McCarren Park calling for police reforms in response to the killing of George Floyd, and now it’s the kids’ turn.

Kid’s Peace Movement will hold a gathering in McCarren Park on Saturday at 11 a.m. “to speak against injustice and racism” before marching from Greenpoint to Williamsburg, according to organizers:

As adults, we fight so many battles, we sometimes forget that kids have battles too. The Kid’s Peace Movement is here to acknowledge children’s need to understand, be heard & recognized as we fight for justice & equality in support of the black community. Highlighting black excellence and the remarkable contributions of our brothers and sisters of color. Through the process of instilling social responsibility and igniting young activism, the youth has an opportunity to amplify their voices by expressing their thoughts & sharing their hearts amidst a revolutionary time.

 

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The gathering, organized by mothers Kristina Cubero and Rachel Vargas, provides an opportunity for kids to “understand, be heard and recognized,” during the global Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice, QNS.com reports. Cubero and Vargas held the first Kid’s Peace Movement march in Ridgewood earlier this month.

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McCarren Park Gatherings for George Floyd Continue Rain or Shine

McCaren Park demonstrators calling for racial justice and police reform this week.

A sixth gathering at McCarren Park in remembrance of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, will continue on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., according to organizers.

A vigil was held in McCarren Park last Friday by five local residents associated with the North Brooklyn Mutual Aid volunteer group. Demonstrations in the park have since grown with thousands of people attending this week holding signs honoring Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade.

“These gatherings were intended to give immunocompromised neighbors, those caring for elderly and those with children a way to stand in socially distanced solidarity with actions across the city, not as an alternative to them,” a representative from NBMA said.

Attendees are encourage to bring a sign, wear a mask or face covering and maintain at least six feet apart to keep with social distancing guidelines; an umbrella might also be a good idea given that Wednesday’s weather forecast predicts rain.

North Brooklyn has not seen the looting and vandalism that has swept across commercial strips in Manhattan such as SoHo following demonstrations.

On Tuesday night, a tense hours-long standoff between protestors and the NYPD on the Manhattan side of the Manhattan Bridge ended when protestors were allowed to exit on the Brooklyn side.

Local politicians such as NY Assembly Member Joe Lentol and Senator Julia Salazar have called for the repeal of repeal of 50-a among other measures, to help aid the investigations of cases of police killings and deaths of people in police custody. “Passing these will help restore trust and promote transparency between our communities, the police and our criminal justice system. I am advocating to Assembly leadership to get these bills passed,” Lentol posted on social media.

A citywide curfew from 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. is in effect through the morning of Monday, June 8th.

 

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Tonight: Same time (7 p.m.) same place (McCarren Park) 📷: @mewiley @apisukh

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A filled park was silent on their knees for 30 minutes last night at McCarren park. Do what you can. Spread the good words.

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McCarren Park. June 2. Brooklyn. . . . . . #georgefloyd #vigil #protest #greenpoint #brooklyn #nyc

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Protests for #ericgarner #blacklivesmatter Today (12/4)

© AP

We have some big issues in NYC to think about after the failure to indict the police offer who killed Eric Garner.

Lighting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a celebration of our city and there was nothing to celebrate yesterday.When I posted about the protests there on Facebook last night, someone commented, “What does this have to do with Greenpoint?” Eric Garner is a New Yorker. And NYC police officers patrol 11222. Enough said.

If you feel so inclined to demonstrate, our favorite local activist Emily Gallagher sent us these tips:

BE ON TIME & FOLLOW HASHTAGS

PROTESTS TODAY DEC. 4th Continue reading

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