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Opinion: Sunnyside Rejects Hate, Cancel Saturday’s Pro-Police March

Queer Liberation March in Manhattan on June 28, 2020 (Photo: Emilia Decaudin)

Aug. 20, 2020 By Emilia Decaudin and Jesse Laymon –Opinion

We were disappointed and angered to read in the Queens Post this week of the plan by the 108th Police Community Council for a march through Sunnyside this coming Saturday.

As the newly elected Democratic District Leaders for Sunnyside and other parts of Long Island City, it is our responsibility to be aware of the sentiments of the voters in our neighborhood, and we can definitively say that our neighbors reject the hurtful symbolism of this planned march.

All political demonstrations such as marches are inherently symbolic actions—their literal slogans must be understood in the context of their time and place. And context can radically transform how we interpret a symbol.

A white dress can be innocuous attire; white dresses worn by dozens of Congresswomen are an unmistakable homage to the fight for suffrage. A hooded white robe can be a bathroom accessory; hooded white robes worn on horseback are an unmistakable threat of racist violence.

And in the context of the summer of 2020, a march by dozens of white residents through a city neighborhood “in support of our officers” must be interpreted as a thinly veiled embrace of the police killings of Black people across America.

No one who’s lived through the past four months should need an explainer on why police have been the focus of so much attention this summer.

Police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd. Police in Louisville killed Breonna Taylor. Police in Aurora killed Elijah McClain. After these and so many other horrific deaths at the hands of police across the nation, tens of thousands of citizens turned out to demonstrate against police violence. And in many cities, especially our own, police departments responded to these demonstrations with yet more violence—tear gas, body armor, billy clubs, and SUVs driven as weapons.

To organize a march now, given the context, in proud support of local police cannot be innocuous. This is not any ordinary year, and this march is not in observation of some annual police holiday or local tradition. Its symbolism is unmistakably clear: “we support police officers, even when they murder and maim.”

Perhaps the organizers of the march did not intend to be so blatantly hurtful and racist. Perhaps they’re out of touch with the events of 2020 or have been consuming only distorted right-wing media. Or perhaps they’ve internalized the twisted worldview of the bigot in the White House—whom the police union just endorsed this week—who promotes the false notion that wanton police violence is somehow helpful and justified.

If the 108th Police Community Council doesn’t intend to declare its support for the murder of Black people, there is still time for them to avoid doing so. Cancel Saturday’s march. And focus future events on how the local precinct can help the community, not how the community can condone the worst behaviors of police.

Emilia Decaudin and Jesse Laymon are the Democratic District Leaders for Assembly District 37, Part A, representing Dutch Kills, Ravenswood, parts of Long Island City, and Sunnyside.

Twitter: @EmiliaDecaudin and @JesseLaymon 

The Queens Post is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. If you’d like to submit one for consideration email us at: [email protected]

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Queens Post.

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16 Comments

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tenseys

A much bigger problem is when you have a BLM leader in Chicago state there is no such thing as a criminal, that it’s a racist term. And that looting is good. It’s simply reparations. I tell you Trump is going to win again and it’s because of the stupid left.

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Brian

We live in a society with free SPEACH!
Be open minded and be tolerant of people with different view points. Above all respect free speech!

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Trump issued an executive order to shutdown Twitter over one Tweet

You should learn to spell speech before you advocate for it

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O'brian

So you don’t like immigrants who make grammatical mistakes??? Or immigrants with different point of view??? Or both…

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Do they have a clue?

I think the authors here GREATLY overvalue what their position is in line with their community. I think most people don’t know what a district leader is, what they do, or who any of them actually are. It’s not a position for the whole area, it’s just a rep for the political party in the area. They don’t actually rep the full community. Additionally, didn’t at least one of them just move to the area right before election?

Regardless, it’s not their position to try and quiet people with a different opinion then them. These people marching have the same right to assemble and voice their opinion as anyone. I almost hope that these authors actually try something to stop this march just to be handed a first amendment lawsuit.

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Gardens Watcher

It’s an unpaid position. Per a City and State article on 7/22/20:

“Decaudin became the first openly trans, and the youngest, member of the state Democratic Committee, representing the 94th Assembly District in Westchester. (She won the position in 2018 at the age of 19 and came out in the summer of 2019).

She grew up in Yorktown, but attends City College of New York and moved to Queens in February.

She is still a member of the state committee, although she no longer lives in Westchester and was therefore unable to run for reelection for that seat. State and county committee positions are up for election every two years, on the same schedule as the state Legislature.”

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Anonymous

You scapegoat an entire profession based on the extreme actions of an individual in Minneapolis. And the Breona Taylor incident gets parroted ignoring that her boyfriend was a drug dealer who fired at those officers. Although on its face it still doesn’t look good. NYC cops have saved thousands of brown lives and yet that’s discarded based on a false narrative that cops are bad and people who’ve been jailed are good. So now surprisingly crime is up because criminals are no longer being jailed and we act surprised. Stand for values and acknowledge the work that’s gone into making NYC livable. Also don’t be afraid of calling out the true disruptive gentrifiers anarchists destroying a city for their own agenda. Now we know these politicians support crime and racial pandering. Sad.

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Eliminate Democrat Cancel Culture

This was a terrible post by officials who are purportedly representing a community. To automatically equate the support of police with the murder of black and brown people is
offensive and nonsensical. More importantly, who are you to determine what citizens can and cannot protest. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant, this is America. Or have you forgotten since it is only what you deem acceptable that is allowed.

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Bill

Here’s the problem. Trump will use the “Defund the Police” mantra and the looting to scare voters into his camp. Yes, we know looting is a rare occurrence, most protest marches are totally peaceful and “Defund the Police” doesn’t really mean “Defund the Police.” Actually, the defund slogan was a terrible, terrible choice.

I support BOTH “Black Lives Matter” and the police! We need the police to maintain order and we need to get rid of bad cops and bad policing techniques. Let’s not give Trump another talking point which he will use to scare voters!

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Magistrus Astoria

I think you need to focus on the wanton violence happening in the districts you profess to represent. Instead of worrying about a legal assembly, look into the drive by shootings that are happening. Look into the increase in shootings, drug sales, and other acts of violence committed by criminals. Criminals who are seemingly given a free pass to do whatever they want. You have issues with the police force-but stop demonizing them like you have been. The metaphors you have used are incendiary and shameful. You are not advancing anything with your rhetoric. You are promoting stereotypes much like you claim the police are. Let them be heard. People are allowed to voice their support for the police-many of whom keep them safe from the increasing criminal element enabled by the soft on crime policies enacted over the past few years. As newly elected officials how could you possibly know the sentiments of those you represent? Your constituents probably have no idea who you are or what you do.

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Merman

Unfortunately this is becoming all too common. I’ve been a long time liberal and am 100% voting a straight Republican ticket this fall.

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