Residents of Crown Heights honored the 25th anniversary of one of the ugliest periods in history, according to recent news. The festival took place this past Sunday with balloon animals, face-painting and a jazz band.
The riots stemmed from racial disputes and unfortunately resulted in the deaths of a young black child and a Jewish student. The festival is marked with games, rides and entertainment for all ages.
“It’s meant to showcase unity in an area shaken by four days of violence in 1991.” said a representative of the festival.
The anniversary of the Brooklyn neighborhood’s deadly racial riots began with speeches near Brower Park, where the father of 7-year-old Gavin Cato lit a candle to remember his son.
Cato was accidentally struck and killed by an Orthodox Jewish man driving a motorcycle. The event triggered intense tensions betweens the black and Jewish people in the community. What ensued were riots which resulted in the death of Yeshiva student Yankel Rosenbaum.
“The Jews and the blacks can live together peacefully,” said Gavin’s father during the festival.”I appreciate all the good things all the people are doing. It’s a great thing. I love it.”
Relatives of Yankel Rosenbaum did not attend, believing the event to be an insult to the memory of his brother and the tragic events as a while.
Event organizer Deborah Halberstam wanted the event to show that the community was moving in a positive direction. She understands the Rosenbaum family’s dismay but stands by her hopes that this will bring the community together in the end.