To see the Borough President, Council members, Statesmen, WIADCA members, as well as Carnival committees, press and ordinary West Indian / Caribbean people in attendance was a great feeling.
The Emergency Press conference was called together last night for today at Borough Hall by WIADCA President Mrs. Yolanda Lezama-Clark, due to the negative press the parade receive after a few shootings at the event, and even in Brooklyn throughout the weekend.
When I got there Assemblyman Karim Camara was speaking and he was talking about his annual experience at the parade with his two young daughters and the need for it to be a safe environment because the parade is one of the city’s biggest family events.
Camara made a powerful statement when he said, “This is not a carnival problem, or a Brooklyn problem, this is a national epidemic. Gun violence needs to be stopped!”
In a passionate speech by Former NYC Councilmember for Brooklyn’s 40th District, Dr. Una Clarke spoke on behalf of her daughter Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Mrs. CLarke was fired up when she directed her attention to the NY POST and their biased and offensive press coverage of the West Indian American Carnival.
“New York Post, we know our own story you don’t have to tell our story!”
The powerful community matriarch also took the opportunity to let Mrs. Lezama-Clark publicly know, “you have a community behind you.”
But it wasn’t until she touched on the fact that our people clean the floors, own businesses and hold positions in the government that the audience went into an uproar when she concluded,“…We run everything in this city!”
Though WIADCA put a lot of the blame of the violence at the parade on the NYPD, it was noted that it was not totally the NYPD’s fault. Many speakers were emphatic by mentioning gun violence as a national issue, a government issue, an unemployment issue and not a West Indian American Carnival Day issue and that more emphasis should be placed on those major issues than the cancellation of the parade.
Somebody suggested that WIADCA should change the route of the parade, I am not sure who was brave enough to say that in this meeting, however, the question was greeted with uproar by the Council members, WIADCA and every West Indian / Caribbean person in attendance – in unison they all replied, “NO!”
In my opinion, the press conference was not really about solutions but just a matter of addressing the bad press the parade got this year and has consistently gotten in the past in regards to the violence that erupt.
There was this one particular Caucasian reporter that kept asking about alcohol at the parade and it being the cause of the violence. Mrs. Lezama-Clark vehemently dismissed that notion that alcohol is sold at the parade. Noting that the city stopped the sale of alcohol about 5 years ago after violence erupted at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Though it was a good question, the reporter asked the same question over and over about 4 times! Suprisingly, no one threw a show at her.
I was given the opportunity to ask a question, however, Mrs. Lezama-Clark never answered my question.
“What is WIADCA going to do year round and not 2 months prior to the parade to break the stigma that West Indian / Caribbean people and their parade are violent.” She didn’t understand my question *crickets* What????
It took another reporter to piggy back on my same question and ask it, to which she responded, “WIADCA and the NYPD will be working together to build a Task Force.”
Here’s what Assemblyman Karim Camara had to say after the conference:
It was indeed an emotional press conference.
I look forward to see the improvements and changes this organization will put into place for the future and hopefully they will actively start a “NO TO VIOLENCE” campaign.
Do you have any suggestions for WIADCA? Leave a comment below and we will send it in to their office.
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