Op-Ed: Protecting Our Black and Brown Children from Racism, Bias and Sell Out Politicians


Editor’s Note: As a reminder, these views are the opinion of this columnist and do not reflect the views of KCP.

Being the president of both Black Lives Matter Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Sector of Copwatch Patrol Unit, I have stood on the frontlines consistently in the fight against injustice, racism, bigotry and oppression. I commend our allies, especially our Jewish allies who have stood in this fight alongside myself, other advocates and our communities.

A few weeks ago, there was a meeting at the East Midwood Jewish Center to bring community members together in solidarity and in support of Urban Dove, which is one of the only schools in New York City that helps students who are considered “academically challenged” and did not pass the 9th grade due to failing the algebra regents exam.

At that packed meeting the vile remarks that I heard coming from many of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community members were disgusting in nature and improper. Many of the remarks were racist in nature and it did not hurt my heart just because I am a black man, it hurt my heart because this is the trauma that children themselves should not have to endure and take on.

Anthony Beckford

Some of the remarks were, “They don’t belong on this community”, “They will intimidate our children”, “I fear for my safety”, “these kids have drug and alcohol problems” and much more.  I had to let some of these individuals know that I will not tolerate their blatant racism, divisiveness and bias, but others in attendance did as well. There was also a time were many of the rowdy attendees of the meeting planned to push for a massive membership drive to act as a “bribe” to be able to stop the school from being housed at the East Midwood Jewish Center. That last-minute plot at a collective bribe failed.

I commend the EMJC Synagogue’s President Michael Schwartz, Rabbi Sam Levine and the other representatives from both EMJC and Urban Dove as well as many Jewish community members for caring about the education and future of children and standing up for the children of Urban Dove. I also want to commend them all for showing an example of what integrity, understanding, unity and diversity looks like.

Again, the Urban Dove children are children who attend Urban Dove because they failed the Algebra Regents. This is a much-needed resource for them. The program is so diverse, that a Jewish teen who ends up failing the 9th grade would be able to attend Urban Dove as well. This includes the advantage of learning in small classroom sizes and no tuition costs.

It was exposed that almost every Orthodox Jewish politician in Brooklyn and their colleagues have joined the opposition against the students of Urban Dove. They played into the bias and prejudice against black and brown people and our children instead of having integrity and morals. Two black elected officials, by the name of Councilwoman Farah Louis and Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte signed onto the letter opposing the school. They have shown their own bias against our children and that they stand against the education of our children.

It is said that the FJCC are the masterminds behind the protests against the children. The FJCC were also very instrumental in helping Rodneyse Bichotte and Farah Louis to get elected. This is something that the community must rise up and reverse. The elected officials of the Midwood area fed on the irrational fear, anger and bias of the protestors. The aided in the bias false narrative against our Black and Brown children. They dangerously aided in the false narrative that the 300 children who will be attending Urban Dove will destroy the Midwood area.

I denounce these false narratives and any bias and divisive organization that is adding fuel to the situation creating a hateful and dangerous situation for our children. I also denounce the elected officials such as City Councilwoman Farah Louis, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, Senator Simcha Felder and the City Councilman Kalman Yeger for the roll they played and the support they gave the racist and bias Ultra Orthodox protestors. They have shown that they do not care about the well being of our children, their education and the trauma this hate can bring upon them.

I am urging all Jewish and Non-Jewish community members to take a stand against them. Let them know that you will not tolerate any type of hate and bias during their 2020 and 2021 elections. Boycott their events and continue to show your full support to the Unity and Diversity that is being shown by the East Midwood Jewish Center and Urban Dove. Together We Can Make A Difference!

Anthony Beckford is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Mentor, Former UFT Member and Community Advocate. Anthony is also the President of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn and Copwatch Patrol Unit.