Thursday, August 2, 2012

Racial Slur Spray Painted on Cypress St. in Rochester, New York's South Wedge Neighborhood

By Davy V.

"Are you kidding me?" that's what an elderly caucasian woman who was walking her dog down Cypress St. in Rochester, NY told me when I asked her was she aware that a racial epithet had been spray painted on the street.

Cypress Street, which is less than than three blocks away from a Frederick Douglass memorial statue located in Rochester's Highland Park, is a quiet residential street which runs off South Avenue and Mt. Hope Avenue in Rochester's Southwedge neighborhood.

Which is why, on this tree lined street, the word "Nigger" spray painted on the street in green letters stands out and is extremely disturbing.

Especially here, in my hometown of Rochester, NY, a city with a long history of Civil rights leaders such as Frederick Douglass, who in 1847 published the first edition his anti-slavery newspaper, The North Star here in Rochester, and who is buried in Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery and Susan B. Anthony, who lived in Rochester, from 1849 until her death in 1906, and who is also buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

As a Latino father of two beautiful sons, David and Danny, who are African-American and Latino, I wanted my sons to see this.

Much like my work as a filmmaker, writer and activist exposing injustices such as police misconduct, in addition to my writing about this, I also wanted my sons to see, that despite great leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., and others who just as he, died standing up to racism and prejudice, I wanted them to see that sadly, there are still some very nasty, ignorant individuals living among us.

I called the City of Rochester to report the epithet, and was told someone would be by to remove it.

I hope.

Then I remembered as that elderly lady walked away, she apolgized to me. She said "I'm sorry, I had not seen that, I just don't look around too much when I walk."

I think we should all be a little more aware of our surroundings, as you just never know what sick, hatred-filled individuals who would write something like this, just may be our next door neighbor.