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Are We Really United? By Kenneth Chamberlain Jr.

United Against Hate Rally Not In Our Towns in White Plains, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 [Black Westchester]

Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. [Black Westchester]

On December 13, 2016 religious and political leaders from across Westchester County formed Not In Our Towns Westchester, a collection of religious and political leaders and community members united against hate. The reason for this was because of swastikas that were spray painted on the Bronx River Parkway path and at a SUNY Purchase College dorm.

The overall message is that hate and bigotry will not be tolerated here in Westchester County and the coming together of Muslims, Christians, African-Americans, Latinos, Jews and members of the LGBTQ community couldn’t make the point any clearer.

There were also several elected officials in attendance such as Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, Westchester County Legislator Alfreda Williams. Also in attendance was Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who said that “we all chose to be here in Westchester County to live or to raise our families and the last thing that any of us want for our families and kids is to live in a place of hate.”

City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach was in attendance and did speak but also issued a statement stating that “anti-Semitic and racist graffiti was found on the county trailway in White Plains. As a progressive and diverse community, we in White Plains stand united against this offensive act and the ignorance and hatred that spawned it. Rev. Erwin Lee Trollinger of Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in White Plains stated that “In a time with too much hatred, suspicion and division, we resolve to stand unified as a people, to become a community of refuge and resistance, to protect the vulnerable and to demand justice from the powerful.”

These are very powerful statements made by individuals who are viewed as powerful leaders in the City of White Plains and in the County of Westchester so my question to these three is simple and that is while it is great that you have all come together to stand up against hate and to say that this will not be tolerated in our County and we understand the history of the swastika and the negative representation it has for the Jewish community where was this unity five years ago when Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. a Black Man was mocked taunted and called a Nigger in his home and killed by White Plains Police Officers?

I don’t want people to take this the out of context because it is great seeing such a diverse group of people coming together saying that bigotry and hate must end but it is also disheartening that race and class remain critical factors in deciding how our elected officials and some of our community and  faith-based leaders respond to incidents in our community which can ultimately determine who lives and who dies. Congregation Kol Ami does great work and I have personally worked with Rabbi Shira Milgrom and look forward to working with her in the future but we still need to look at the current leadership and ask if they really have the best interest of all it citizens at heart.”

I have said many times over that when leadership is compromised leadership must change so ask yourself these questions what is your definition of leadership, what has your leadership done for you and your community, and if the answer is nothing WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO ABOUT IT???

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Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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