Greenburgh – Like a Jay Z lyric from 2003, we have a case of “Grand Opening, Grand Closing” in the town of Greenburgh. On Wednesday, May 12th the Town of Greenburgh put up a BLM sign that read “All Live Can’t Matter UNTIL Black Lives Matter,” on Knollwood Rd under the “Welcome to Greenburgh” sign. Less than 24 hours later, on Thursday, May 13th the signed had been ripped out of the ground. The illegal removal of the sign has some community activists calling a Hate Crime and questioning do Black Lives really matter in the Town of Greenburgh?
“I advocated for A BLM MURAL. The Town of Greenburgh made it a 3 part project. Mural – Sign and banners,” Clifton Abrams, who spearheaded the Black lives Matter committee shared with Black Westchester. “Under every Welcome to Greenburgh Sign, we put up a ‘Black Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives’ matter sign . The sign was put up Wednesday morning on Knollwood Rd and by Thursday morning a hate crime and vandalism happen. They took the whole sign down from the ground with chains. Paul Feiner. Greenburgh Supervisor has received emails that they don’t want signs like this in the town of Greenburgh. I am on a BLM committee who meet monthly and we are not going to allow hate to discourage us. Greenburgh, we need a real talk about CRITICAL RACE THEORY.”
The Black Lives Matter sign was part of a town-wide project to support the movement. Police say they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
“The identity of saying or displaying Black Lives Matter in word or sign or tee shirt is directly correlated to the protection of Black lives,” Greenburgh Town Supervisor Candidate Tasha D. Young – who is attempting to make history as the first African-American and first women to run the town of Greenburgh – shared with Black Westchester. “It is a statement indicating to neighbor upon neighbor that I care about your life; I care about how you are treated; I care about how law enforcement entities interact with you; and most of all, I know there are differences in how Black people are treated and how white people are treated, and I want to see that changed to all people being treated the same. I care about you because you matter as much as I do.”
The signs were included in a new three-part project that includes a meaningful and educational mural on Manhattan Avenue. The mural, which would be featured on both sides of the overpass where I-287 stretches over Manhattan Avenue, would illustrate Black history from 1619 to today.
Janice Griffith, the president of the White Plains-Greenburgh NAACP, says the vandalism isn’t surprising.”People are still feeling that Black lives don’t matter and the very thought of people trying to say that they do matter is very disturbing to some people,” Griffith says.
Greenburgh police are working with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office to identify who may have been responsible.
“The Town of Greenburgh and this department strongly condemns all acts of hate and bias. We have a history of promoting diversity, unity, and inclusion,” Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney said in a statement Friday May 14th. “We are working with the Westchester County DA to identify the individual(s) responsible for this incident and bringing them to justice.”
Last June, Unity Rallies and peaceful protests sprung up following the summary execution George Floyd throughout Westchester County – one of the wealthiest counties in the country – that has seen it share of police criminality and black and brown lives lost at the hands of law enforcement. Including several protests in Greenburgh throughout the town—on Manhattan Ave, in North Elmsford, Edgemont, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, and Ardsley. BW shared a Team Greenburgh produced video of a photo array of still pictures set to the music of “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, sent to us by Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. Eleven months later is appears not much change has come to the Town of Greenburgh.
“Controversy continues about the BLM sign uprooted from its poles a few days ago on Knollwood Road where the border of Greenburgh starts. Residents up there don’t like the message that All Lives Won’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter!! The Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee stands steadfast in its support of this message. ALL LIVES WON’T MATTER UNTIL BLACK LIVES MATTER!!” The Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee shared.