BLAC Letter to Assembly Member Dov Hikind _1_

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					                                                T HE C OUNCIL     OF THE     C ITY   OF   N EW Y ORK
                                        B LACK , L ATINO AND A SIAN C AUCUS
                                ROBERT JACKSON                                                            FERNANDO CABRERA
                                7th District – Manhattan                                                  14th District – Bronx
                                Co-Chair                                                                  Co-Chair

JUMAANE D. WILLIAMS             Assembly Member Dov Hikind                                             February 25, 2013
45TH District – Brooklyn
Co-Vice Chair
                                1310 48th Street
                                Brooklyn, NY 11219
SARA GONZALEZ
38TH District – Brooklyn
Co-Vice Chair                   Dear Assembly Member Hikind;
MARGARET CHIN
1ST District - Manhattan
Secretary
                                We write, as the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus of the New York City Council, to directly
                                address the incident involving your donning of blackface at a party, and your sentiments
RUBEN WILLS
28TH District – Queens          suggesting that no offense should be taken. We find it deeply disturbing that, not only did
Treasurer                       you make the conscious decision to wear the offensive costume, but your comments
MARIA DEL CARMEN ARROYO         following the media blowback suggest that you have no consideration for the history of
17th District – Bronx           blackface and the trivialization of the black experience in this country.
Ex-officio Past Chair

HELEN DIANE FOSTER
16TH District – Bronx
                                This situation forces us to think: what would be your reaction had the shoe been on the
Ex-officio Past Chair           other foot? Earlier this month, when former Christian Dior fashion executive, John
CHARLES BARRON                  Galliano, wore an outfit closely resembling traditional Chasidic clothing at a New York
42ND District – Brooklyn        Fashion Week event, you were irate. “Who is he mocking?” you said. “My question is,
LEROY COMRIE                    who is he laughing at?”
27TH District – Queens

INEZ E. DICKENS
9TH District - Manhattan
                                We ask the same question of you, Assemblyman. Who are you mocking? Who are you
                                laughing at? Not only have your actions called into question your understanding of
MATHIEU EUGENE
40TH District – Brooklyn        African American culture in this country, and in this city, but your statements that have a
                                smack of hypocrisy.
JULISSA FERRERAS
21TH District - Queens

LETITIA JAMES
                                It is well-known that the celebration of Purim has a deep and rich history and tradition,
35TH District – Brooklyn        and that costumes and elaborate dress are a part of that celebration. There is no reason,
ANDY KING                       justification, rationalization nor excuse however, that can explain away your choice of
12th District – Bronx           costume and suggestion that “this is political correctness to the absurd.”
PETER KOO
20TH District - Queens
                                It is also well-known that blackface is a polarizing symbol of the minstrel shows of the
MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO           past that manipulated, perpetuated and highlighted stereotypes of black Americans for
8TH District – Manhattan
                                callus entertainment. It was offensive back then, and it is offensive now.
ERIK MARTIN-DILAN
37TH District – Brooklyn
                                In some parts of New York City, there was a history of tension between members of the
DARLENE MEALY
41ST District - Brooklyn
                                African American community and the Jewish community. We have moved beyond those
                                days, and substantial bridges have been built, reuniting communities around tolerance
ROSIE MENDEZ
2ND District – Manhattan
                                and understanding. Your actions and your comments fly in the face of all of the work that
                                has been done to bring communities together in this city.
ANNABEL PALMA
18TH District – Bronx
                                For these reasons, we believe that a true and real public apology is a necessary first step.
DIANA REYNA
34TH District – Brooklyn        We are also asking that you meet with community leaders in order to further improve
JOEL RIVERA
                                cross-cultural respect and understanding.
15TH District – Bronx                                                                     Sincerely,
YDANIS RODRIGUEZ
10TH District – Manhattan

DEBORAH ROSE
49TH District – Staten Island
                                Robert Jackson                           Fernando Cabrera
ALBERT VANN                     BLA Caucus Co-Chair                      BLA Caucus Co-Chair
36TH District – Brooklyn

ALEXANDER RIAS
Director of BLAC Affairs


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