New Leaders Council New York City 2014 Fellow Janos Marton lays out historical context for the recent violent protest across the country. Read his piece published on December 29, 2014, for The Gotham Gazette.
The tragic deaths of Eric Garner, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu offer New Yorkers an opportunity to have a real conversation about our city's sordid racial history. Racial politics may have come a long way in a city that prides itself on multiculturalism and progressivism, but community memories are long, and discussing the past must be part of moving forward. Mayor de Blasio recently acknowledged that some of the conflicts that have surfaced in recent weeks "go back centuries in their origins."
In New York City's black community, those origins are rooted in nearly 400 years of distrust and mistreatment. From slavery to Jim Crow, from unchecked white mobs to oppressive white police forces, the black experience in New York has been marked by pain, destruction, and neglect. There is no question that many in power have made an effort in recent decades to correct the wrongs of the past. But examining our history has to be part of the healing. Doing so will reveal that the recent protests are not just about Eric Garner, and not even just about policing. They are indeed about whether black lives matter in New York City.
Read the full story here: http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5492-todays-protests-are-centuries-in-the-making