Bloody Sunday Anniversary Inspires Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

Mar 08, 15 Bloody Sunday Anniversary Inspires Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

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In a march organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, hundreds of people walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to remember the seminal walk across a bridge 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama. Known as “Bloody Sunday,” and recently made popular in an Academy Award nominated movie, March 7 in 1965 was the day when peaceful protestors were gunned down as they tried to cross a bridge as they walked from Selma to Montgomery, the capital city of Alabama. The protestors, including civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were marching as part of the struggle for civil rights and the vote for black Americans. When the attack was over 17 people were hospitalized, having suffered severe beatings leaving many with serious wounds, or beaten unconscious. The attack was covered by news outlets, with televised images of the brutality shown on television all over the United States, sparking a widespread reaction, and prompting President Lyndon Johnson to send a voting rights bill to Congress immediately. Saturday’s march across the Brooklyn Bridge was part of a wide-spread national commemoration of this important turning point in US history. Dubbed “Selma is Everywhere,” participants walked arm-in-arm across the bridge, remembering that auspicious moment. “I am so proud of my friends for what they did. And what we are asked to do today, frankly, ain’t much,” said former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. “Selma is no longer just a location. It is a concept, and a mindset, and a belief,” Borough President Adams...

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Brooklyn HS Names Athletic Field for Mandela

Jul 20, 14 Brooklyn HS Names Athletic Field for Mandela

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About 1,000 students and others attended a ceremony on what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday in order to name their athletic field after the South African civil rights leader. On Friday, July 18, the sports field at Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant was renamed to honor the memory of the great leader, who had visited the school in 1990. Mandela passed away last year in December. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins spoke at the ceremony: “We adults owe our children the opportunity to reach their potential. Each generation should be better than the one before,” said Dinkins. “You’re as good as anybody and better than most. If we help them, they will do great and wonderful things. It’ll be like a lot of little Nelson Mandelas running...

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Flying Swastika Spoils Beautiful Beach Day in New York

Jul 13, 14 Flying Swastika Spoils Beautiful Beach Day in New York

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In celebration of “World Swastika Rehabilitation Day” a fringe group of UFO enthusiasts known as the International Raelian Movement sponsored a cryptic message flown over Manhattan, New Jersey, Long Island and Brooklyn. The flying sign depicted the much maligned symbol of Nazism, hatred and murder, the swastika. Those who looked carefully, however, would have noticed not just the hated symbol, but also a peace sign from the anti-Vietnam War movement, and a heart, together with a website for people to turn to for more information, presumably. In addition, and perhaps most disturbing of all, was another symbol featuring a swastika superimposed on a Star of David, a universal symbol of Judaism. Confused and upset? You are not alone. One Miguelina Nunez tweeted that: “It’s a gorgeous day . . . And some idiot is flying a swastika banner off the tail of his plane up and down Manhattan.” According to Las Vegas-based Thomas Kaenzig, leader of the Raelians, the swastika has existed as a symbol of something good for thousands of years before the Nazis used it as their symbol of hatred. “The swastika is one of the best traces left by those who created us, and the attempt to bury it as a symbol of violence and hatred only gives credit to the horrible Nazi ideology,” Kaenzig said. “Some people associate the swastika with something negative, but you don’t stop using the cross just because of the Ku Klux Klan.” Did I mention that back in 2002 Raelians received some publicity when they declared that they had cloned a human baby, an assertion that was never confirmed. In addition, they believe that humans arose on earth as a kind of science experiment performed by advanced alien scientists, and the swastika is a symbol for these creators of our species. Writer of the soon to be released book “The Axmann Conspiracy: The Nazi Plan for a Fourth Reich and How the U.S. Army Defeated It” Scott Selby, agrees that the swastika was not always...

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A Cannabis Grew in Brooklyn

Jan 26, 14 A Cannabis Grew in Brooklyn

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Ten unusual photos posted on a mesmerizing Brooklyn Public Library blog illustrates the amazing, and little known fact that several neighborhoods in Brooklyn used to be covered in marijuana. According to the blog “razor-toothed fronds of 10 foot tall Cannabis sativa plants could be seen all around the city happily waving in the wind like any other innocuous and legal weed.” That was in the 1940s. Come the 1950s and things got a bit tougher for the drug and those who enjoyed its intoxicating effects when law enforcement aggressively began a campaign to rid the city of its wild marijuana. John E. Gleason, Chief Inspector of the Sanitation Department, formed what was called the “White Wing Squad.” This special group was mandated to dig up and destroy Cannabis where ever it could be found growing around town. Their efforts proved successful. By the end of the campaign over 41,000 pounds of pot was incinerated, about 17,000 pounds harvested in Brooklyn alone. The most popular growing spots were in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and East New York. Not everyone in law enforcement agreed with this draconian undertaking. In an interview with State Supreme Court Justice John Murtagh, unearthed by WNYC from their archives, Murtagh stated that there are studies that show that marijuana was non-addictive and perhaps even safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes. As other states around the country begin to move to partial legalization; such as for medical use; or complete legalization for recreational use, like now in Colorado and Washington; New York still arrests and prosecutes people for possession of pot. “In the last decade since Michael Bloomberg became mayor, the NYPD has made 400,038 lowest level marijuana possession arrests at a cost of $600 million dollars. Nearly 350,000 of the marijuana possession arrests made under Bloomberg are of overwhelmingly young Black and Latino men, despite the fact that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young Blacks and Latinos,” a 2012 Drug Policy Alliance report stated. Today, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thomson promises...

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Mandela’s Daughter Honored at Brooklyn Wine Tasting Event

Oct 20, 13 Mandela’s Daughter Honored at Brooklyn Wine Tasting Event

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Thursday evening’s Toast of Brooklyn Wine and Food Festival honored the daughter and granddaughter of famed South African leader Nelson Mandela with the bestowal of the World Humanitarian Award. The ceremony featured the new wine venture in which the Mandela family has embarked known as “House of Mandela.” The award itself is to honor the charitable work undertaken by the former South African president. Before the beginning of the wine festival Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe Mandela talked for a moment about her father’s health: “He’s a very sick man, he’s been sick for a very long time and all that I can say is…the word that I use is hovering. He’s not getting better or he’s not getting worse but a very, very sick man at...

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Prospect Park Dissed by Nickelodeon Event Fans

Sep 25, 13 Prospect Park Dissed by Nickelodeon Event Fans

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A may have been a Worldwide Day of Play for 35,000 romping restless children and their families, but Prospect Park’s Nethermead field did not fare quite as well, according to the park’s usual patron’s. “They did a number on the Nethermead yet again,” said Prospect Lefferts-Gardens resident Noel Hefele. By “again” Hefele was referring to the damage done by the celebrants of the two-day long Great GoogaMooga music festival. That fiasco-fest left the parts of the park fenced off for almost the entire summer. Nickelodeon’s party on Saturday left the great lawn covered in dirty debris and scarred parts of the grass where the dirt was left bare. Regular visitors to the park say that the thousands of people playing sports, dancing to the music of rock bands, and all the equipment needed to sustain all the various activities wreaked havoc on the lawn. The fact that it was destroyed so blatantly within months shows an insensitive disregard for the regular park users by the people who make the decisions about the park’s usage. “It is so disheartening after events like these to see the blatant disregard for our backyard,” said Randi Lass of Windsor Terrace, who is a regular volunteer for green space clean-up. “I thought after GoogaMooga perhaps they learned a lesson about the scale of events in Prospect Park.” Park officials said that they are still investigating what damage was caused by the Nickelodeon event. They pointed out that these large-scale events such as this one and the GoogaMooga festival help to pay for the everyday costs of keeping up the park. “We have a mission to bring different types of events to the park for the public and we have a responsibility to restore, maintain and preserve the park,” said Eric Landau, spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance, manager of the park. “And these events do bring in revenue, so it is sort of two-fold.” Some neighborhood residents see the issue quite differently. “The Prospect Park Alliance’s idea about proper...

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