As people of color and anti-racist allies protested racism and found new ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, a group of residents in Rockaway Beach and Breezy Point, Queens (heavily populated by NYPD and NYPD family members) took a very different, public stance. $17,000 was raised to fly a plane pulling a banner reading “Rockaway and Breezy Point Support the NYPD” over the shoreline along NYC's Rockaway peninsula.
The plane flew overhead beginning the weekend of July 4, 2020. Groups gathered on certain shorelines to cheer.
Two miles down the same peninsula, there were no cheers as the plane passed the housing projects developed by Robert Moses to segregate the city’s poor, long stretches of beaches still without lifeguards and people and families of color living within two zip codes that were among the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in New York City. The banner continues to fly today, antagonizing Far Rockaway beachgoers.
This message does not speak for us all. It is an action that does not reflect the community values of justice, solidarity, and inclusivity.
Instead of further engaging in banner wars, help us demonstrate that others within the Rockaways can see beyond the boundaries of our peninsula and are willing to take action to support Black lives.
Let's raise an equal -- if not greater -- amount of funding to actually support urgent needs.
The Arts Business Collaborative (ABC) is a New York City based organization that works to improve the quality of life for people of color through the Arts and STEAM education initiatives. The ABC also financially oversees various small organizations with related missions, including providing Black trans individuals with funds to travel to medical appointments, supporting women of color in the arts, and funding Black trans and non-binary academic discourse and research.