As we have in the past forum on racism in Greenburgh in Novemeber 2021 and The Greenburgh Housing Crisis forum in March 2021, we reached out to everyone involved to an intellectual, difficult but very necessary conversation to discuss the controversy over the Greenburgh Mural to take place on our weekly talk radio show, People Before Politics Radio, Sunday, September 4th. We invited Supervisor Paul Feiner, Councilman Ken Jones, artist Kindo Art, organizer Clifton Abrams and others who can speak to this matter to join Damon and myself. Paul Feiner responded back that is unavailable as he has in at least one of the aforementioned forums we have done in the past.
After speaking to several of the individuals involved individually, one thing became apparent, this debate over the Mural is getting quite messy and likely to continue to polarize folks on either side. So Black Westchester attempted to convene an intellectual, difficult but very necessary conversation to discuss the issue at hand for a reasonable and equitable approach.
We feel THIS CAN BE A TEACHABLE MOMENT or can continue to further divide the community. This issue is becoming way bigger than Greenburgh and the mural and can have lasting effects in neighboring communities. I watched all the news coverage, read all the statements, heard all the rumors from the streets and one thing is certain: there is a lot of misinformation being shared and the whole story is not being told and many people do not know what to believe. So I like to get all the players together and get to the truth once and for all. Let’s not squander the opportunities that lay ahead.
Black Westchester’s People Before Politics Radio has been giving you that REAL TALK for the community since 2014 and the debate over this mural needs some REAL TALK. I wanted to give everyone a chance to be heard and I requested that everyone come to hear what everyone has to say and be respectful even with those we do not agree with. We wanted to create a safe space where opposing views can be heard and shared and possibly we can come up with an equitable solution at the end.
But once again, Greenburgh Town Supervisor – who said in his email to inform us he was unavailable –
“…we as a community find a public forum to permanently demonstrate the long, distinguished, and important cultural, social, educational, and political contributions of generations of African American people, through the installation of a mural. This we felt would be a strong public statement that our Town, Greenburgh, found hate and discrimination abhorrent and that we celebrated the contribution of African American people to the world.
The mural would proudly occupy a “high traffic” corridor along-side Route 287 and when fully completed, be viewed by tens of thousands of commuters each week, presenting images of individuals of color; heroes, who strongly/positively impacted the lives of Americans with their significant life-long contributions and their message of racial/social tolerance and acceptance.”
If Mr. Feiner meant the words in his statement and truly cared ‘about the contribution of African American people,’ as he says he would make himself available. What is more troubling is with an election coming up next year, one has to ask does he care about how the Black people who voted for him 16 times over the pass 33 years? Residents of Greenburgh have to ask themselves if his actions show he doesn’t what his Black constituents think and feel, should they continue to vote him.
If you think Mr. Feiner should take part in this conversation and as Lane Cobb wrote in her editorial ‘…healing is possible when a community stands united for justice, knowing that racism dehumanizes everyone, understanding that we all bear the wounds of our individual and collective inheritance. Rather than falling prey to egoic expression, which demands that we point fingers of blame away from us at all costs, the invitation is that weabout who we are called to be in this moment, lest the possibility of a greater legacy be squandered.’
If you think he should participate in this conversation call him and let him know, (914) 438-0563. And before any critics say we should not give out his Mr. Feiner has appeared on our radio several times and given out his number inviting all his constituents to call him. So call him and let him know where you stand and if you feel his should accept this invitation for a courageous conversation on the Manhattan Avenue Mural controversy.