Activism On Your AM Commute: Lander & Local Residents Say ‘No’ To Islamophobic Graffiti

Activism On Your AM Commute: Lander & Local Residents Say ‘No’ To Islamophobic Graffiti
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WT & Kensington neighbors rally at the Ft. Hamilton Pkwy F/G, December 12. (Photo by Ditmas Park Corner)

“We will not tolerate acts of hatred,” said City Council Member Brad Lander and more than 30 neighbors this morning at a solidarity rally outside the subway station where Islamophobic graffiti littered the platform last week.

Supporters huddled against the frigid 7:30am rain at all entrances to the Fort Hamilton Parkway F/G train, holding signs, pamphlets, and umbrellas with a compassionate message for their Muslim neighbors, fighting a slew of post-election xenophobic hate crimes plaguing the city. But last week, the hatred hit too close to home.

After a full canvas of the station, police also found swastikas inked over a poster of Bill O’Reilly (a confused message? joked Lander) and “Trump-related words” in addition to the original “F*** Allah” inked on a bench, said Lander — suggesting an even wider net of intolerance.

“I woke up Thursday morning [after the graffiti incident at Ft. Hamilton Parkway] and thought ‘No, this is our home. That’s not who were are,'” said rally organizer Jody Drezner-Alperin.

This is the first hateful tag the NYPD Transit division has found in the district, which stretches from Downtown to Borough Park, said Brooklyn-born Transit Division Captain Zahid Williams.

And most likely the work of a “neighborhood loser”, Williams told DPC.

“I wish it was more surprising,” Lander told DPC, speaking about the tagger. “A small number of hateful idiots can do a lot of harm. But we will stand up to hate in our subways — we want a strong law enforcement response, and we need a strong community response.”

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Neighbors with NYPD Transit officers. (Photo by Ditmas Park Corner)

Under a dark, heavy sky this morning, protesters held signs reading “All neighbors are welcome here” and “Grandmas against Islamophobia” while smiling to commuters ducking the cold rain.

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Ocean Parkway Entrance. (Photo via GetOrganizedBrooklyn)

The protest’s organizer, Jody Drezner-Alperin, is a community activist and teaching artist at Off The Page, and “one of the heartbeats of Windsor Terrace,” a neighbor chimed in. (Alperin’s award-winning education program spearheaded a stage adaptation of a novel about police brutality in July.)

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Organizer Jody Drezner Alperin (L) and her sister-in-law on Prospect Avenue. (Photo by DPC)

Ann Kjellberg, a member of the Quaker community, made the reverse commute from Manhattan to attend the early morning rally after spotting the announcement on twitter. “I’ve been looking for events like this,” she said, “showing the NYC community standing together and holding space in this moment. It’s comforting,”

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Sign at Church & McDonald Avenues. (Photo via Amy Daniels)

Since the election, Lander has been on a mission to organize and embolden his district, which includes Windsor Terrace, Kensington, and Park Slope, and take a public stand against Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.

For neighbors who want to get involved with Brad Lander’s campaign to resist injustice, corruption, and hate, check out the GetOrganizedBK Facebook page.

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