Beyond Violence and Hate

Stephen Levin is a New York City Council Member representing the 33rd District. 

Stephen Levin is a New York City Council Member representing the 33rd District. 

Like many Americans across the country, I am appalled to hear news of the recent rise of violence and hate in the wake of the presidential election. In light of these troubling events, it is clear the pursuit of a more perfect union is far from over. However, until this weekend, I didn't believe that such violence could find its way into our neighborhood. On Saturday night, after an election related argument, a male Donald Trump supporter punched a woman at a Boerum Hill restaurant. This violent act, condemnable no matter where it occurred, is particularly troubling considering its sharp contrast with our community values. We do not tolerate violence and we do not tolerate hate.
 
Such a brazen attack so close to home dispels the notion that the more tolerant communities of Brooklyn are somehow immune to the effects of the vitriol fueled violence. As Saturday’s incident demonstrates, we are not. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there have been more than 300 incidents of “hateful harassment and intimidation” reported nationwide since election day. In just a week, more incidents have been reported than the preceding 6 months altogether. These attacks not only directly harm victims, they also threaten to plunge society under an oppressive shadow of fear and despair.
 
Though many of us have been caught off guard, we cannot lose sight of our communal values. How do we move forward? Share with one another. Volunteer your time and talents to help your fellow neighbor. Engaging with your community at an individual level is important now more than ever. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Let us reaffirm our love for one another. Let us come together as a community unashamed, unrelenting, and united.