Calling All Local Residents, Artists, Healers, Activists, and Educators!
What: Commemoration and Community Celebration
When: Friday, April 17, 2020
Time: All Day
Join us for a virtual commemoration of the two-year anniversary of the removal of the statue of J. Marion Sims—a white southern doctor who experimented on Black women.
As New York City struggles to pull through the COVID-19 pandemic, we also bear witness to the nation’s failure to provide equitable healthcare and basic human rights to millions of poor and working families.
In the midst of a crisis that has disproportionately affected Blacks and Latinos, the NYPD continues to target and harass our youth for minor “social-distancing” infractions—while ignoring wealthier New Yorkers who fail to comply with basic health and safety measures. This, despite crime rates having fallen to historic lows.
Our hospitals and clinics are filled to the brim, staffed by dedicated healthcare providers (and volunteers) who struggle with insufficient equipment and supplies. City jails and homeless shelters remain unnecessarily crowded, while hundreds of thousands of “essential workers” risk their lives navigating a poorly maintained and overcrowded transportation system.
And, yet, we persevere! East Harlem families continue to follow health guidelines as they struggle with “remote learning” and worry about paying rent. We “self-distance” at the supermarket while providing mutual support to friends and neighbors. Most importantly, we remain steadfast in our faith that we will weather this crisis. To that end, we invite you to celebrate our community’s extraordinary resilience—while commemorating our ancestors’ incredible perseverance.
Interested in sharing your story? Visit our Facebook event page and post a photo, poem, or details about COVID-19’s impact on you and your loved ones. Those who work or live near the now-empty platform on 103rd Street and Fifth Avenue may consider (briefly and safely) visiting the site to leave a memento, flowers, or candles in solidarity.
As we recover from this pandemic—and we will—we look forward to working with local partners to witness the installation of Vinnie Bagwell’s “Black Victory” as a testament to hope, healing, and transformation.
Images: “Black Victory” (Vinnie Bagwell, 2019) and “Sisterly Resistance” (Jules Arthur 2019)