BRONXVILLE, NY — July 23, 2020 — The poster, predominately disseminated by email, was headlined with the phrase “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE”. Thereafter, the reader would be informed that the intent was: “VIGIL FOR GEORGE FLOYD” followed by “#BlackLivesMatter”.
Documentary evidence seen by the Bronxville Tribune / Yonkers Tribune revealed that people were beseeched on May 30, 2020, to attend a rally in front of “Bronxville Town Hall” on June 1, 2020 at 6 pm. Interestingly, the Village of Bronxville was notified in the late afternoon of May 31st of the intent for a rally the next day, June 1st. Full disclosure of the intent of the rally was not divulged to the Village of Bronxville deceitfully as they did not inform of the threat defined herein. Yet the village agreed to permit the rally to gather on June 8th not Knowing the presentation beseeching people to attend the rally.
Rather than focusing on the evolving imagery of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, civil-rights activist Black Panther Stokely Carmichael’s black nationalism rallying slogan of “black power” originated in the 1960’s was emphasized by engaging a raised black fist.
Yet, as if mimicking parental concern, those who would attend were admonished … “For your own safety, please wear a mask and remain 6 feet apart.”
What seemed to initially be an effort to inform and engage Village of Bronxville residents to the horror that brought about George Floyd Jr.’s death in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the visceral pain it welled among African-Americans, as well as other people of color, turned ominous and threatening in its intent, its language, and its tone. What was initially considered to be a rally supportive of the concept and focus of “Black Lives Matter” was not!
Westchester County Board Legislator Ruth Walter, representing District 15, was allegedly promoting this vigil, which was fast morphing into a demonstration not of “Black Lives Matter”, but something alien, ominous, and threatening.
It read, “NEW ROCHELLE, TUCKAHOE, YONKERS, BRONXVILLE, EASTCHESTER, SCARSDALE, WHITE PLAINS, PELHAM, CRESTWOOD, … etc.”
This was followed with, “THESE ARE THE PLACES WE NEED TO PROTEST!!!!!!!! PREDOMINATELY WHITE NEIGHBORHOODS!!!!!!
“Leave black businesses and neighborhoods ALONE!” This was followed by the valediction: “#BlackLivesMatter”.
It was a threat that impressed residents and proprietors and business people in Bronxville to such an extent that some business prepared the facade of their storefronts with wooden slabs to cover easily broken glass windows.
Bronxville residents and business people were at the rally. They gathered before Bronxville Town Hall on July 8th. They stood in watch of the demonstrators and found the young demonstrators in attendance respectful, not destructive in any way; simply law abiding. At least they proved that despite the threat of violence in the poster / email that they not only believe that “Black Lives Matter”, but that “White Lives Matter”, Hispanic Lives Matter, Asian Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives Matter, as do, “All Lives Matter”.
What this writer adheres to is the principal that Westchester County Board Legislator Ruth Walter is entitled to express her perspectives on any issue, as do all elected office holders, however, I do not concur that as an elected official she can be a proponent of promoting such an event, specifically because it threatens violence to businesses, and as a possible corollary, people and property.
As an elected official, she is expected to lead in language and conduct and can and should participate if she believes in any specific effort and/or focus. To ascribe to the concept of “Leave black businesses and neighborhoods ALONE!” is anathema to societal norms and must not be tolerated.
Lest Ms. Walter consider separating her responsibilities as an elected office holder from that of her personhood, she would be undermining whatever little credibility she has left for promoting this threatening rally in the very community she is expected to represent.
As an elected official, with all access to Westchester County government and the government of The Village of Bronxville it is incongruous to believe that Legislator Walter was not familiar with her needing to gain a permit for the rally planned. Can Ms. Walter learn to adhere to protocol, ethical standards, and personal comportment without shaming the Village of Bronxville and the City of Yonkers to which she was elected to represent honorably?