4 THE QUEENS COURIER • JUNE 25, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Photo by Todd Maisel
City to paint Black Lives Matter street mural in Queens
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
and Archer Avenue.
during de Blasio’s daily press briefi ngs
Th e street mural follows the trend set
on Friday, where he announced that
in Washington, D.C., and, most recently,
Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated
in Brooklyn’s Fulton Street where a huge,
commemoration of the end of slavery
Th e city will be painting a Black Lives
yellow painting of the phrase “Black Lives
in the United States, will be a city
Matter street mural in Jamaica, Queens,
Matter” stretched across a street.
and school holiday starting next year. He
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on
When asked when the mural will be
also announced the new Racial Justice
Friday, June 19.
painted, a spokesperson at the mayor’s
and Reconciliation Commission (RRC),
Th e Queens street mural, one of fi ve
offi ce said they don’t have a set date yet,
which the city established to promote
coming to all the boroughs, will be located
but anticipate it’ll be in next few weeks.
social learning, collective introspection
at 153rd Street between Jamaica Avenue
Th e announcement of the mural came
and policy action.
“New York City is the safest big city in
America with crime at all-time lows, yet
communities of color bear the brunt of
crime and incarceration,” said de Blasio.
“Racism has been a pervasive and consequential
force throughout the city’s history
and we cannot go back to the status
quo. We must use the past to inform and
inspire the present, to promote the dignity
and well-being of all New Yorkers, and
their full inclusion in the life of our city.”
‘Police-Free Schools Now!’ banner fl ies over Rockaway Beach
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Th e Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC),
a grassroots coalition of students fi ghting
for transformative education reform
in New York City, arranged a banner that
read “#PoliceFreeSchools Now!” and fl ew
over Rockaway Beach in eight loops on
Sunday, June 21.
Th e event kicked off UYC’s week of
action in calling for 100 percent policefree
schools — a topic that has been reignited
during the last few weeks of racial
justice and police brutality protests followed
by the police killing of George
Th e group is also calling to reject any
transfer of police from NYPD to the
Department of Education.
“Police do not make schools safe. Th ey
make students feel like they are in prison.
Students come to school to learn
and not be criminalized by the color of
their skin. You can’t give metal detectors
only to schools that have predominantly
students of color with none in white
schools. We need more guidance counselors
and social workers, and no police
offi cers roaming our halls every day,” said
Keneisha Buckley, a youth leader with the
Rockaway Youth Task Force. “For many
students, school can be a sanctuary. But
when you come to school and are criminalized,
it feels like nowhere is safe. For
the benefi t of our students, the DOE
needs to defund School Safety Agents and
metal detectors, and put that funding into
our students. Enough is enough — we
need police-free schools now.”
Th e coalition is bringing attention to
the disparity in disciplinary treatment
Black students receive in New York City.
According to a Chalkbeat report, a city
analysis found Black students receive
harsher and more frequent suspension
and punishment for the same infractions
as their peers. Amid the calls to remove
NYPD from schools by students, educators,
elected offi cials and activists, Mayor
Bill de Blasio has maintained that he does
not agree with the idea.
“Th e fact is, there’s a conversation going
on right now. I appreciate that there are
some who think school safety should
be taken out of the NYPD. I don’t think
they’re right,” de Blasio said during his
daily press conference on Friday, June 19.
Queens Councilman Donovan Richards
and Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger,
the chairman of the City Council’s
Education Committee, called for the city
to transfer control of the 5,000 school
safety agents from the NYPD to the DOE
last week, according to the New York
But UYC believes even that isn’t enough
to address the issue.
Th e coalition is calling for City Hall
to divert the $450 million school security
budget to guidance counselors, nurses,
restorative justice practices and expanded
mental health services.
Th e UYC coalition is made up of members
from the Future of Tomorrow of
Cypress Hills Local Development and
Corporation, Make the Road New York, the
Rockaway Youth Task Force and Sistas and
Brothas United of the Northwest Bronx.
Photo courtesy of Urban Youth Collaborative