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My elation turns to anger

BY ARTHUR SCHWARTZ | At around 6 p.m. Monday, just as I finished interviewing Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on my WBAI radio show, I heard chanting coming down 12th St.

I walked to my stoop and watched 3,000 to 4,000 people march by, holding signs, chanting.  The crowd was mostly young, mostly white, mostly wearing masks, and respectful of the community they were proceeding through, and of the memory of George Floyd.

I assumed that because of the looting on 14th St. the night before, at the GameStop and other stores (looting which caused Republic Bank to shut down for the week), that the police were keeping crowds off of 14th St.

My youngest daughter watched with me and even joined the chanting. Her high school had had two administration-run meetings last Friday and Monday, which were scheduled to be short but which the students had forced to proceed for hours.

I was in high school in 1968 when Dr. King was shot, and many poor communities went up in flames, and when 15-year-olds like me were forced to think about racism, and how deeply ingrained it was in our society.

It was good to see my daughter, and her slightly older sister, having to grapple with those issues without being lectured about them by a parent. And the march, for them, and for me, was an affirmation about the future.

Then, at 10 p.m., I went out for a walk, ahead of the curfew. When I got to Sixth Ave. and 12th St., I noticed that there were no garbage cans. I also noticed that not one car was parked on the street.

Then I got to the corner of 11th St. and Sixth Ave. and saw glass all over the sidewalk. The Mobile

Guru Verizon store, a minority-owned business, had had its windows smashed, had been totally looted, and had been all boarded up. It had been shut since mid-March, and now was clearly destroyed.

Clearly, after dark, someone under cover of the “protests” had thrown a wire garbage can through the window and had stolen what was in the store. My blood boiled. It was hijacking our movement. It was an attack on a neighbor. And it only provided validation to those, like Trump, looking to be the defenders of Law and Order.

My mind rolled about what I would have done if I had been there. And I know that I would have gotten in their way. Looters are just punks looking to profit off the true anger so many feel. They have no place in our movement.

Schwartz is the male Democratic district leader for the 66th Assembly District, Part A, which includes Greenwich Village.

6 Comments

  1. Chris Flash Chris Flash June 3, 2020

    Mr. Schwartz has it wrong:

    There are three groups participating in the marches in memory of George Floyd (yet ANOTHER Black man murdered by a kop): one is composed of peaceful demonstrators demanding justice, including an END to police violence against Blacks in New York City; another is composed of those who use the marches as cover to “fuck shit up,” trashing some valid targets like banks, 7-11s and chain stores that have driven out neighborhood businesses, but who also randomly attack remaining neighborhood businesses that have been struggling to survive in the wake of the latest economic collapse engineered with the help of a virus scare; the third is a group of well-organized (and some opportunistic) looters who carry tools and have cars nearby into which they load their loot, using the marches as cover.

    While I think that police have, for the most part, practiced restraint during the marches, I find it odd that they have been standing down as stores get looted and trashed and as their vehicles get torched. It makes me wonder whether allowing such activities is designed to turn public opinion against those who are demonstrating in a peaceful respectful manner so that greater oppression can be used on them.

  2. David R. Marcus David R. Marcus June 3, 2020

    Chris

    You are the misguided one.

    Arthur Schwartz has more notches on his belt defending the downtrodden and persecuted than you have belt loops.

    There is no such thing as legitimate targets and even if there were who makes you the arbiter?

    This country was built on protest and demands for change and not the right to destroy private property; some of which belong to the very people who need change.

    Arthur was very correct to be angry and you should be too; but direct it where it belongs.

    All lives matter and all property deserves respect. Speak with your voice and not with you fists and take heed from Ghandi and King.

  3. I agree. There are no “valid targets.” People work in those 7-Elevens (which are franchises) and in those banks, and in the CVS stores. The answer to chain stores taking over all of our neighborhoods doesn’t lie in smashing their windows. It lies in commercial rent control, zoning which doesn’t allow a CVS, Rite Aid and Duane Reade to exist within one block of each other, and measures like that.

  4. Stand Up Stand Up June 3, 2020

    “Legitimate targets”? David, show me WHERE, in his comments, that Chris claimed there are any legitimate targets or that he claims the right to destroy private property. There are no such comments by him. So the question is, why are you making this FALSE claim?

    • Jean Standish Jean Standish June 4, 2020

      Stand Up – You are parsing words. The following was in the statement you are questioning: ” trashing some valid targets like banks, 7-11s and chain stores that have driven out neighborhood businesses.” Valid and legitimate are interchangeable. As Arthur Schwartz has stated that there are no “valid targets.” Trashing an entire community is destroying the community!

  5. Village Sun reader Village Sun reader June 3, 2020

    “…trashing some VALID targets like banks, 7-11s and chain stores that have driven out neighborhood businesses…”

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