Amy Ellenbogen, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center Project Director is on the Steering Committee for We Are All Brooklyn (WAAB). WAAB wrote this statement in reaction to the attacks on the Sucuzhanay brothers:
In the early morning of Sunday, December 8, the city of New York and the borough of Brooklyn were the victims of a malicious bias attack. Two Ecuadorian immigrant brothers, Jose and Romel Sucuzhañay, were viciously attacked by four individuals yelling anti-gay and racist slogans. Jose was beaten so severely that he barely clings to life. The two brothers were walking the streets of Bushwick Brooklyn, arm and arm, celebrating the recent arrival of Romel. As of now, the police are still looking for the perpetrators. We applaud the patrol officers for their timely response as well as the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, which has categorized the incident as a hate crime and is investigating further. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Sucuzhañay family and the Bushwick community. They are not alone.
Our borough, one made rich by its diversity, must not fall prey to the blindness of such hate. An attack in words or deeds directed against any person due to their race, religion, sexual preference, ethnicity or any other characteristic, is an attack on the fundamental freedoms that are the hallmark of American democracy. When any one group is assailed, the very fabric of our society is torn. Hatred in any form can not and will not be tolerated by the citizens of Brooklyn.
We, the undersigned, the membership of We Are All Brooklyn, a coalition of community based organizations representing the diversity of the borough that have come together over the past five years to address issues and concerns that cut across ethnic and racial lines, stand together as a beacon of hope and a voice of defiance to this unbridled hate in the borough. We celebrate and honor the diversity of Brooklyn’s residents, and will not stand idly by and permit prejudice to shatter the harmony in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods. A crime against one is a crime against us all.
We will act together to educate our leadership and constituencies about the tensions and stresses experienced by all people. We will continue to promote the message of how our diversity does and will bring about a more just and inclusive society for all. Finally, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to fostering the values of cooperation, understanding, and respect as we rise to confront this challenge and others that may lie ahead.
We Are All Brooklyn continues to work with all groups throughout the city to respect others’ backgrounds and their contributions and to prevent such incidents from occurring. www.waab.org