Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Staten Island
|Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:18 pm Post subject: Events in Port Richmond prompts call for fair treatment
From Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:00 am to Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:59 am (included)
|In the 1980's a prominent civil rights leader had implored young black educated people not to abandon their inner city communities for the suburbs. He asked that we return to them and give them the kind of Renaissance that Harlem had experienced in the 1920's and 1930's. That resonated within me so when I bought my home in Port Richmond no one had to tell me that there were social problems as they were very visible. No one was trying to hide anything. They didnít have to it existed at every street corner. It was obvious the long time residents cared about the illegal activities and downward spiral. ButÖthe officials and those that did the enforcement did not.
The more beaten down and miserable the community was, the better. And when officials were pushed to explain their lack of interest. We were told to move if we didnít like it.
The bias attacks that are happening in Port Richmond are horrible and no law abiding citizen condones it. But on the far side of what is happening is no less offensive than what long time residents of this community have experienced in terms of neglect. It is a difficult thing to watch the non inclusiveness of what is taking place.
Which is interesting because the one thing that Port Richmond is about- is inclusiveness, fairness and equality. Most residents are having a very hard time because they feel they are not being accepted, they have not been treated equally and with respect. And are being left out or pushed out of their community. And they canít even voice this feeling without fear that they will be called racist. A raciest for asking to be treated fairly, equally and with respect? Then I guess that means that every person that was ever involved with the civil rights movement was a racist.
This whole thing with police everywhere, lights flashing, multi media coverage has been a marvel. Because nothing this community did ever got the kind of attention or action as the recent events surrounding the immigrant Latin population. And the advocacy behind this group is so strong that it makes the communityís years of complaining and asking for help seem diminutive to say the least.
But I want my neighbors to know that they have not done anything wrong, in fact they did what they were told by our government leaders. They played by the rules and followed the processes suggested by local government. We met with them, called, wrote letters and emails, attended numerous community meetings, dialed 311 and 911 constantly. And most times in those meetings with officials, residents also met up with the obstacle of The Spin and every excuse imaginable usually involving money, or the lack there of to explain away why their concerns could not be properly addressed.
This unfortunate situation is not something that can be blamed on the community or the people of Port Richmond. This community has been active and proactive in trying to help itself, it is our local government that regretfully lags behind. Maybe now this will give Staten Island government the incentive to catch up.
Beryl A. Thurman, Executive Director/President