Two vigils different for a reason


To the editor:

(re: “A tale of two vigils,” Aug. 24)

I’d like to clarify what transpired at the Aug. 14 vigil in solidarity with Charlottesville, organized by Bronx Climate Justice North, at West 231st Street and Kingsbridge Avenue by the Church of the Mediator.

In a recent Riverdale Press, a letter-writer said that the Sunday, Aug. 13 vigil at the Monument in central Riverdale included local elected officials, whereas elected officials did not speak at the Monday vigil in Kingsbridge. She questioned why elected officials were not heard from at the Monday event.

It is correct that no particular attempt was made to inform local elected officials of the Monday evening vigil, though we passed out flyers about it at the Sunday vigil. 

As the person running the event on Monday evening, I was approached by several surrogates for local officials during the event, requesting the opportunity to read a statement. I let the crowd know that they were there, and asked whether folks would like to hear from them, or have them listen, thereby giving more time to the public to speak.

There was an enthusiastic consensus for holding the time for the public. 

We also heard from three wonderful clergy leaders — Andrew Butler of Christ Church Riverdale, Loyda Morales of Church of the Mediator, and Doug Cunningham of New Day Church. 

It was a large, diverse, passionate crowd, many of whom expressed an intense desire for progress toward racial justice in our communities and country.

We felt it was important to have the event in a central spot where people from the three neighborhoods of Marble Hill, Kingsbridge and Riverdale could easily gather. The event felt like an old-fashioned impromptu “village green” town hall.

I hope the future will hold many more like it, as our communities grapple with the destructive politics emanating from the White House.

Jennifer Scarlott

The author is a coordinator for Bronx Climate Justice North.