Elected officials, religious leaders and Adam Yauch’s bandmate Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz gathered with a large crowd at Adam Yauch Park today to denounce the swastikas drawn in the park this week and vow to stay vigilant against future hate incidents in New York City.
A crowd of a couple hundred people packed Adam Yauch Park, in order to hear a number of speakers condemn the swastikas and the increase in reports of hate crimes in New York City and around the country. “We have a bigger crowd than I think any of us could have imagined, which I think speaks to the strength of this community,” State Senator Daniel Squadron told the crowd at the beginning of the rally.
Imam Khalid Latif, a university chaplain at NYU called the swastika a representation something that the rally goers had to remember: “Those individuals who perpetuated the most vile of acts against our Jewish brothers and sister in pursuit of genocidal mass extinction were only able to do so when those who had the ability to speak out against it chose not to.” Latif told the crowd to not be bystanders to hate that happens in front of them.
“For us as New Yorkers, ‘If you see something, say something’ has to mean something different today. If you see hatred, say something. If you see racism, say something. If you see bigotry, say something,” Latif said.
Rabbi Serge Lipp of the Broolyn Heights Synagogue brought up the case of Ivalyo Ivanov, the Brooklyn Heights resident who spray painted swastikas around the neighborhood and was eventually caught with a large home arsenal, as a warning to not dismiss the swastikas as “an isolated instance” of vandalism.
At one point, State Senator Squadron led the crowd in a singing of the national anthem, because as he put it, “this event is about American values.”