When Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA) political club has a mixer for young professionals it’s always a good bet that serious policy issues will be aired along with good time fun.
And such was the case last night at the Vodou Lounge, 95 Halsey Street, when New York City Public Advocate Letitia James gave a fun but poignant keynote speech on the mixer’s topic, ‘Balancing the Scales of Justice.’
James noted that ‘Black Lives Matter’ and how she’s continuing with her lawsuit to open up the Staten Island grand jury proceedings that exonerated police in the choke hold death of Eric Garner.
VIDA President and Community Board 3 District Manager Hank Butler said that social justice reform is at the top of VIDA’s list for addressing.
“How is it a MTA bus driver can be arrested if they accidentally hit a pedestrian and a police officer can use deadly force and not have to speak to anyone for 48 hours?” said Butler, a former MTA train driver. “Is that justice? And then they expect people to have confidence in the justice system.”
Bed-Stuy City Councilman and former VIDA President Robert Cornegy, noted as chair of the City Council’s Small Business Committee, the need to support black-owned and local businesses such as the Vodou Lounge where the mixer took place.
Other notables in the crowd included CB3 Chair Tremaine Wright, CB8 District Manager Michelle George and noted civil rights attorney Charles Coleman Jr.