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Brooklyn, NY - NYC Remembers Dark Chapter Of Crown Heights Race Riot

Published on: August 21, 2016 03:00 PM
Last updated on: August 21, 2016 07:24 PM
By: AP
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FILE - In this Aug. 21, 1991 file photo, New York City Police Department officers, in riot gear, walk past a police car that was overtuned by rioters in the Crown Heights section of the Brooklyn borough of New York. A plan to mark the 25th anniversary of the Crown Heights riot with a family-friendly street festival has drawn criticism from the brother of a rabbinical student who suffered a fatal knife wound during the unrest. Organizers say the idea of the festival is to foster a sense of unity in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/David Burns, File)FILE - In this Aug. 21, 1991 file photo, New York City Police Department officers, in riot gear, walk past a police car that was overtuned by rioters in the Crown Heights section of the Brooklyn borough of New York. A plan to mark the 25th anniversary of the Crown Heights riot with a family-friendly street festival has drawn criticism from the brother of a rabbinical student who suffered a fatal knife wound during the unrest. Organizers say the idea of the festival is to foster a sense of unity in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/David Burns, File)

Brooklyn, NY - Twenty-five years after race riots scarred a New York City neighborhood, residents of Crown Heights gathered Sunday to mark the quarter-century anniversary with a memorial service, march, and street festival that organizers said showed how far the community had come. Critics, however, condemned the events as insensitive.

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About three dozen people gathered for a series of commemorative events, held as part of “One Crown Heights,” which organizers said was a way to bring children of different backgrounds together and acknowledge years of efforts to foster better communication and relations between ethnic groups in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

In August 1991, a riot broke out in the Brooklyn area after 7-year-old Gavin Cato was struck and killed by a car in a rabbi’s motorcade. Hours later, a Jewish doctoral student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death. Four days of violence followed.

“We will not allow ourselves to be defined by what happened 25 years ago,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said to the predominantly white crowd at a memorial service Sunday morning to remember Cato and Rosenbaum. Elected officials joined Cato’s father and African-American and Jewish community leaders for the service.

As he held a candle lit in his son’s memory, Cato’s father, Carmel Cato, told reporters that the service “showed the love and that the community is back together.”

“We cannot rewrite history,” Rabbi Joseph Potasnik said. “A young man was killed for who he was — because he was a Jew.”

Rosenbaum’s brother, Norman, did not attend the anniversary events Sunday. He has said a street fair is “insensitive” and a “trivialization of a very, very serious period of time, of a series of incidents culminating in my brother’s murder.”

Members of the community attend service memorial service on Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary of the riot that forever linked the Brooklyn neighborhood with images of racial unrest. In August 1991, a riot broke out in the Brooklyn area after 7-year-old Gavin Cato was struck and killed by a car in a rabbi's motorcade. Hours later, a Jewish doctoral student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death. Four days of violence followed. (AP Photo/Mike Balsamo)Members of the community attend service memorial service on Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary of the riot that forever linked the Brooklyn neighborhood with images of racial unrest. In August 1991, a riot broke out in the Brooklyn area after 7-year-old Gavin Cato was struck and killed by a car in a rabbi's motorcade. Hours later, a Jewish doctoral student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death. Four days of violence followed. (AP Photo/Mike Balsamo)

Devorah Halberstam, who helped coordinate the events, said she realized “there are deep and painful memories and on this day they resurface.” But, she said, it is important to commemorate how the community has come together in the past two decades.

“Twenty five years ago I watched as my community was attacked by a mob chanting ‘Kill the Jews!’” said Halberstam, who identified herself as an Orthodox Jew.

After the memorial service, the group marched about four blocks to a local park, where the street festival was held. About 50 people — mainly African-American families — had their faces painted, jumped in inflatable bounce houses and created unity quilts that will be displayed at a local museum.

Members of the community attend a “One Crown Heights” street fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, 25 years after race riots scarred a New York City neighborhood. In August 1991, a riot broke out in the neighborhood after 7-year-old Gavin Cato was struck and killed by a car in a rabbi's motorcade. Hours later, a Jewish doctoral student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death. Residents of Crown Heights gathered Sunday to mark the quarter-century anniversary with a memorial service, march, and street festival that organizers said showed how far the community had come. Critics, however, condemned the events as insensitive.(AP Photo/Mike Balsamo)Members of the community attend a “One Crown Heights” street fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, 25 years after race riots scarred a New York City neighborhood. In August 1991, a riot broke out in the neighborhood after 7-year-old Gavin Cato was struck and killed by a car in a rabbi's motorcade. Hours later, a Jewish doctoral student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death. Residents of Crown Heights gathered Sunday to mark the quarter-century anniversary with a memorial service, march, and street festival that organizers said showed how far the community had come. Critics, however, condemned the events as insensitive.(AP Photo/Mike Balsamo)

Colin Karl Cohen, who owned a hardware store just feet from where Cato was fatally struck in 1991, recalled the “chaos” in the days of rioting that followed Cato’s and Rosenbaum’s deaths.

“We had young guys who wanted to take the laws in their own hands, and they did,” he said. “It’s been a rift between the community, mainly between blacks and Jews for years. But we know two wrongs don’t make a right and we have to eliminate the hatred and the dissatisfaction that some might have on both sides.”

“Today you find a more peaceful, respectful and understanding community of Crown Heights,” he said. “Anything that happens that brings Jews and blacks and the police together is for the betterment of the community.”



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1

 Aug 21, 2016 at 06:29 PM Hakohen Says:

The Crown Heights riots, were the only pogrom in the history of the United States of America; the incompetent Mayor Dinkins and his equally incompetent Police Commissioner Les Brown, did nothing to implement an existing NYPD plan, which addressed responding to riots and civil disorders. Instead, they did nothing for three days and three nights. Mario Cuomo, who was Governor of New York State at the time, could have sent in the NY Army National Guard to quell the riots. However, he also chose to look the other way. As a result, both Dinkins and Cuomo were defeated in their bids for reelection. The news media hardly covered the beatings of the Jews, and the destruction of many businesses. If or Guiliani was Mayor, the Crown Heights riots would never have been allowed to continue. To this day, that rabble rousing race baiter Al Sharpton has denied his active role in instigating those riots. He stated that "If those diamond merchants want to get it on, I'll pin their yarmulkas back on their heads". Yet, many political figures, including Jewish ones kiss his feet! A shanda!!

2

 Aug 21, 2016 at 10:33 PM GenugShoin Says:

Reply to #1  
Hakohen Says:

The Crown Heights riots, were the only pogrom in the history of the United States of America; the incompetent Mayor Dinkins and his equally incompetent Police Commissioner Les Brown, did nothing to implement an existing NYPD plan, which addressed responding to riots and civil disorders. Instead, they did nothing for three days and three nights. Mario Cuomo, who was Governor of New York State at the time, could have sent in the NY Army National Guard to quell the riots. However, he also chose to look the other way. As a result, both Dinkins and Cuomo were defeated in their bids for reelection. The news media hardly covered the beatings of the Jews, and the destruction of many businesses. If or Guiliani was Mayor, the Crown Heights riots would never have been allowed to continue. To this day, that rabble rousing race baiter Al Sharpton has denied his active role in instigating those riots. He stated that "If those diamond merchants want to get it on, I'll pin their yarmulkas back on their heads". Yet, many political figures, including Jewish ones kiss his feet! A shanda!!

#1
very true.

Most ppl don't realize the extent of the danger during the riots and the amount of ppl that were seriously injured.

There was no going out the house and even inside bricks were flying through windows.

I also want to add that most of the rioters were NOT locals rather they were ppl that were bussed in to riot by the likes of Sharpton yemach shmo

3

 Aug 21, 2016 at 10:56 PM Esther Says:

Reply to #1  
Hakohen Says:

The Crown Heights riots, were the only pogrom in the history of the United States of America; the incompetent Mayor Dinkins and his equally incompetent Police Commissioner Les Brown, did nothing to implement an existing NYPD plan, which addressed responding to riots and civil disorders. Instead, they did nothing for three days and three nights. Mario Cuomo, who was Governor of New York State at the time, could have sent in the NY Army National Guard to quell the riots. However, he also chose to look the other way. As a result, both Dinkins and Cuomo were defeated in their bids for reelection. The news media hardly covered the beatings of the Jews, and the destruction of many businesses. If or Guiliani was Mayor, the Crown Heights riots would never have been allowed to continue. To this day, that rabble rousing race baiter Al Sharpton has denied his active role in instigating those riots. He stated that "If those diamond merchants want to get it on, I'll pin their yarmulkas back on their heads". Yet, many political figures, including Jewish ones kiss his feet! A shanda!!

And news stories then and now,ie this one, completely misrepresent the facts. The so called race riots were perpetrated solely by blacks.

4

 Aug 22, 2016 at 09:47 AM Lets_get_Real Says:

What a joke. Watch them riot when things go bad....

5

 Aug 22, 2016 at 10:38 AM Bookworm120 Says:

"...killed by a car in a rabbi’s motorcade." Thank you for referring to a rabbi as a rabbi. I appreciate that.

6

 Aug 22, 2016 at 01:23 PM kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

De blasio worked for Dinkins during this time and considers Sharpton his advisor on all black matters.

7

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