Open Letter To Greenburgh Elected Official: Racism in Greenburgh

Paul Feiner and Town Councilmembers:

Paraphrasing Frederick Douglass’ 4th of July speech, which is still applicable: “What to those of us, up from slavery, is that holiday?” It is a blatant reminder to those of us that claim our ancestry, are not immigrants, and for more than 4 Centuries, there have borne the brunt of gross, cruel and ‘legal’ injustices which permit racism to victimize Black Americans through its biased, racist policies of the recognized structural institutions that control this country.    

I refuse to be obsequious in requesting a meeting date from the Town Council for anything different from what the Ukrainians received. My Black face is demanding the same type of consideration that was allocated to the Ukrainian group for their presentation on the injustice that is occurring in Europe with impunity. There is a great deal of injustice occurring right here in America… in Greenburgh to be precise.   Greenburgh needs to deal with recognizing the racist problems which are confronting our nation and we need to do so right now. Did the White Ukrainian people have as many problems obtaining a date for their presentation? Did they have to attend a work session and request a date or did the torn council just make space for them in their extremely busy schedule? It is very unlikely that they had to go through all of these loopholes with changes of dates and times……which looks like we will be in the next month’s schedule.   

Just for the record, did it have anything to do with their white faces and the word “privilege” being attached to face? It took a year to get a Black Lives Matters sign approved. The first sign was torn down within 24 hours of its placement. Police Chief McNerney was waiting for Westchester County D.A, to tell him what law had been broken. The police haven’t even looked for the culprits. I’m saying all this to say, the Ukrainian Flag is now flying at the same level of the American Flag at Greenburgh Town Hall, and nobody has torn it down or burned it up. County Executive, George Latimer, stated that Greenburgh has the largest population of Ukrainians in NY State. (Paul, is this how you plan to be re-elected?) Is it possible for a Black Lives Matter sign be placed at the entrance of Town Hall? There is a sign inside Town Hall, in three different languages that stating they are welcomed… Spanish, Hebrew, and I am guessing on one in Arabic. Definitely a rather culturally insensitive sign… only recognizing “3” groups?    

The Ukrainians and Russians are learning about racism and inhumane treatment of individuals from our nation which supports, sustains and endorses racism. Why would the Ukrainians tell the Black people to go to the end of the line when they are trying to get on the bus to leave the country? Their faces weren’t White. Just an all-White country following the example of a leading racist country. Just another “thought”… Putin is giving the same Inhumane treatment to the Ukrainians that the USA is permitting the Israeli Government to legally do the same inhumane treatment to the Palestinians with impunity… and it appears as if everybody is learning how to hate from the USA. What is unfair is the moniker that the non-racist Caucasian Americans have to bear because of the “ugly Americans”.    

Black people have no Constitutional rights that a White person has to respect or honor. To a White person, Constitution rights are inherent, and their entitlement is God given and it’s unchangeable. For Black people, rules can be changed at a drop of a hat, they are non-enforceable and are definitely not written for us. We have double standards that put Black people behind “White Privilege”… it is planned that way and we are in a corrupt, inhumane system that has been in place for the duration of Paul Feiner’s 33 years in office as Town Supervisor.         

Right Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King said that he had to the mountain top, and he has seen the end and I believe him. After 422 years of racism, I know that I nor my ancestors have never had access to Constitutional Rights… but I do have God Given Rights and with those rights I demand that Greenburgh recognizes Racism and begin to put in the necessary changes to eradicate this highly contagious disease now.   

There is no reason why the problem of having a speaker broach the topic of Racism in Greenburgh should be causing a problem. At 7:30pm, Start Part I on the (25th of May?)  with a 30min. if needed, presentation with 15min. for Q&A if needed. At the next Town Meeting, the same format. Let the program, Part I and Part II be on the Greenburgh Website for 2 weeks and also on our Cable Access Channel. Greenburgh should not be afraid to be the first municipality to openly discuss racism.  Remember, Greenburgh was the first municipality to integrate in New York State. If Greenburgh is ready to lead, let’s be first again to make changes and get serious about discrimination and racism.   

Patricia Weems