Out of Touch with New Rochelle
At a recent My Brother’s Keeper event at NRHS, Mayor Noam Bramson spoke about our “diverse community” as if to parlay to the crowd that this was a good thing and all is well in New Rochelle. He says this often publicly and it is often a statement that breezes through one ear and out the other. What does he mean by this “we live in a diverse community” – does it mean that we have black and white people here in New Rochelle? Yes. It means that. Does it mean that we are at peace and loving one another? No it does not mean that? Does it mean we have resolved our issues of insufficient affordable housing for our Latino or Black community? No it does not mean that? The term diversity has become so watered down that it can be anything from code for black people to a profit imperative.
Diversity is how we talk about race when we can’t talk about race. It has become a stand-in when open discussion of race is too controversial or – let’s be frank – when white people find the topic of race uncomfortable. Diversity seems polite, positive, and hopeful.
So does the Mayor know anything about diversity or pluriversality in New Rochelle? Has he ever had a real job by which to gain experience and knowledge of working-class people? Does he know that most Union Taxi drivers are Peruvian? What does he now about the makeup of all of the landscapers in New Rochelle? Does he know that most “Bodega” owners in New Rochelle are not Latinos? How about the Dollar stores – who works there? Who owns them? The last two weekends we had major processions out of St Josephs and Blessed Sacrament – one stopping traffic on Main Street for hours – a thousand people in the procession with dozens of merchants supporting this event? Was the ceremonial Mayor there?
We have an interesting multi-colored retail corridor here with an obvious potential for being larger and more influential for creating a “new” New Rochelle. More sales tax for the city’s coffers. Where has Mayor Bramson been in this effort? Invisible (same word in English & Spanish).
Yes, the mayor has a mafia-like political machine with lots of money, but in this election for Mayor, vote for the other person or don’t vote at all.