May 25 – May 30
Uptown Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Déjà vu all over again
“A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.” Martin Luther King Jr.
I am writing this on the day, June 1, 2020 that Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a curfew for New York City, which will begin later tonight at 11 pm. After two nights of unrest and skirmishes between police and protesters this fateful decision has been made. The number of NYPD officers will be doubled from 4,000 to 8,000. There has not been a curfew in New York City since 1943. Can you guess what happened then that made a curfew necessary in the eyes of the authorities? You will never guess.
Well, on August 1, 1943, a white police officer shot a black veteran on the streets of Harlem. An uprising ensued. Total shocker, right? When all was said and done, 5 black people were killed at the hands of the police and almost 400 people were injured. Approximately 500 black men and women were arrested. Damages caused by the uprising were estimated to be as high as $5 million.
What is that saying again? The more things change the more they stay the same. Also, on this auspicious day, again June 1, 2020, Tyrant Trump has uttered that he is considering invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807. The last time the act was invoked was in 1992 after the revolt that erupted after the acquittal of the police officers who were caught on camera beating Rodney King almost to death. The Insurrection Act would allow our little would-be authoritarian to deploy active-duty troops anywhere in the United States without the consent of the governor of that state. That is what you call a dictatorship.
It must be said that I do not, in any way, condone or celebrate the destruction of property or any form of violence or vandalism. But we are in uncharted territory and the actions taken tonight could lead to more death, destruction and despair. God help us all. Stay safe familia!
Pa’Lante Siempre Pa’Lante!
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The Uptown Collective
The UC’s mission is to become “the” definitive, transformative and community-based force impacting the arts, culture, business and New York City’s overall perception of Upper Manhattan. Its objective is to reset, reboot and positively redefine Uptown’s artistic, political, cultural and business spheres via the online space as well the collective’s initiatives and functions.