OSSINING, NY — October 29, 2019 — At a recent Legislative Session, the Ossining Village Board joined their colleagues in Town government in unanimously supporting a resolution urging Albany legislators to pass proposed bills requiring instruction on symbols of hate in New York State public schools.
Mayor Victoria Gearity commented, “Understanding how symbols like a noose or a swastika have been wielded as weapons are essential to preventing future acts of hate and genocide.”
The proposed bills were brought to the attention of local leaders by members of the Ossining chapter of the NAACP. In response to an incident at a Town park in August where a rope tied like a noose was found hanging from a tree, Aaron Moore, President of the local NAACP chapter along with fellow members of the group, spoke at a Town Council meeting.
When casting her vote on the Town’s resolution urging state legislators to pass the proposed bill, Supervisor Dana Levenberg stated, “We are excited to pass this resolution in support of what I believe, and what I think we all believe, is a great idea to better educate the children in our community, and help to raise the next generation of socially aware adults here in Ossining, and beyond.”
Town and Village officials have reached out to leaders in the Ossining School District regarding the incorporation of hate symbols into the curriculum, regardless of any action taken in Albany. The local governments are working to partner with each other and groups like the NAACP on an initiative to address issues of racism proactively. Town Councilmember Jackie Shaw, who also serves on the School District’s Equity Task Force, suggested that their goal of reaching out to the broader community beyond the schools might be an avenue for furthering this shared goal.