In light of recent anti-Semitic attacks across Brooklyn– nine total since Chanukah began on Dec. 22– four New York City lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday, requesting the National Guard’s assistance.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio responded saying he felt his office and NYPD could handle it just fine.
On Sunday, the last day of Hanukkah, de Blasio gathered with hundreds of Jewish and non-Jewish residents in Prospect Heights for a press conference during the final menorah lighting, where he announced his plan to stem anti-semitic violence: stepped up patrols; a new ad campaign and the launch of Neighborhood Safety Coalitions in Midwood, Borough Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Williamsburg.
“This past week’s string of anti-Semitic attacks brings to light the stark reality that more must be done to support and ensure the safety of our Jewish brothers and sisters,” said Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who represents Bushwick and part of East Williamsburg. “Mayor de Blasio’s plan to create Neighborhood Safety Coalitions is the type of swift action that we need to eradicate hate crimes in our communities. I welcome the program’s launch in Williamsburg and look forward to engaging with all involved stakeholders. Our community and city must be tolerant and welcoming for all.”
Neighborhood Safety Coalitions
The Neighborhood Safety Coalitions will bring an increased police presence at Jewish religious centers and during local events. Each precinct will have an additional 4 to 6 officers per tour. In addition to an increased NYPD presence at houses of worship and during local events, six new light towers will be posted in Borough Park and additional security cameras will be installed throughout these neighborhoods, including 15 light towers have already been installed this month.
“Fearing the next act of terror will not become the new normal for our Jewish neighbors. In New York City, diversity is our strength and we respect the traditions of all who call New York City home. Intolerance will never take hold here,” said de Blasio. “Starting next month, you will see people of different communities working together on key corners on key streets, showing a united front and engaging anytime there is a threat of violence.”
Citywide Advertising Campaign
The City will launch a series of advertising and social media campaigns to highlight the City’s diversity and encourage respect for all communities.
“Safety, for every community, remains the City’s highest priority. The Neighborhood Safety Coalitions announced today are grounded in the strength of New Yorkers themselves, working together to prevent the acts that hurt us all. This neighborhood-based work is key to us remaining true to who we are: a safe city that celebrates diversity and condemns hate,” said Liz Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Ofﬁce of Criminal Justice.
“To live in a society where the Jewish people must fear for their lives by virtue of having their faith is no different to being black in the south and gunned down in the serenity of Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church,” said Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel.”
The mayor also plans to implement hate crime awareness workshops in middle and high schools in Brooklyn as well as launch a city-wide advertising campaign to promote promote tolerance and break down stereotypes.
“Schools are safe havens, and all students deserve a learning environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and free from discrimination. We’ll be providing programming and resources to schools in order for students and school communities to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and to advance learning about hate crimes through historical context and current events. We look forward to partnering with city agencies and community organizations on this critical work. There is no place for hate in our schools,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
“This is not the first time hate has found its way into the lives of a peaceful people, we have seen it time and time again over the years,” said Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel, whose district includes portions of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East Flatbush, Crown Heights in Brooklyn.
“To live in a society where the Jewish people must fear for their lives by virtue of having their faith is no different to being black in the south and gunned down in the serenity of Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“So long as hate is not countered boldly with unity and compassion for our fellow person we will not be able to endure a union more perfect amongst people so different in color, culture, religion, and creed. Hate in my council district, borough, city and country will not be tolerated. While I pray for a peaceful and prosperous new year I endeavor with my colleagues and advocates to act in full measure to end this era of domestic terrorism and hate.”