The bubble of New York City is only as good as the latent racists who have always lived inside it, and we got a stark reminder of that Saturday morning. People in Brooklyn Heights awoke to find swastikas and “go Trump” spray painted on playground equipment at a park named for neighborhood hero and all-around good human Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who died in 2012. The message was quickly painted over and the piece of playground equipment became a shrine of anti-hate messages. Yesterday morning, hundreds of people rallied at the park to denounce the message, including Ad Rock (Adam Horovitz) of the Beastie Boys, who gave an impassioned rebuke to Trump’s America and made a call for artists, writers and anyone with the voice, time or money to get involved.
“This is real, it’s happening at a rapid rate, we’ve got to stand up against hate,” he said into a bullhorn at the event. “If you’re a musician, write that anthem. If you’re a writer, write. Take what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy and lend your services to the causes you care most about because we can’t and we won’t and we don’t stop.”
Horovitz was clearly rattled by the graffiti incident, which he called an affront to his friend and bandmate Yauch (aka MCA), who stood for nonviolence in his music and life.
No information has been released about who is behind the graffiti incident at the park yet (observers pointed out the arms of the swastika are pointing the wrong way). But it’s just the latest in a troubling string of incidents that have popped up citywide following Trump’s surprising electoral college victory. Horovitz linked the incident to the woman who was punched in the face by a Trump supporter at Bar Tabac on Smith Street after the election, the KKK passing out fliers on Long Island and dozens of other incidents around the country that prove Trump’s narrow win has emboldened hate groups.
After our neighborhood playground named for MCA of The Beastie Boys was vandalized on Friday with tagging of swastikas and “go trump,” Ad-Roc and community leaders called for an Anti-Hate rally this morning. We went down and joined the huge crowd. Local and state officials gave speeches and led the crowd singing “This Land is Your Land”. Hate crimes are up 31% in NY this year. #standupagainsthate
“We’ve elected a president that’s given our children a message that it’s OK to write white power in their high school hallways,” he said.
He ended his five-minute speech with a call to action for anyone who wants to stand up to this kind of rhetoric and harassment, and the president elect who spent the weekend feuding with a musical instead of denouncing hate speech.
“If you’re able to protest, protest. If you’re able to give money, give to blm, give to Planned Parenthood, give to the United Way of Flint, Mich.” he said. “Keep your eyes open, stand up for each other. This is home grown terrorism for real. I reject Donald Trump’s vision of America. New York City, I’m asking you to do the same.”
He closed with lyrics from the Beastie Boys’ “An Open Letter to NYC:” Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten/From the Battery to the top of Manhattan/Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin/Black, White, New York you make it happen.”
The event was attended by neighbors, elected officials including State Sen. Daniel Squadron, borough president Eric Adams, city Councilman Stephen Levin and others, along with Ben Stiller and riot grrrl idol Kathleen Hanna (who’s also married to Horovitz). There were also kids holding signs with Beastie Boys lyrics, which makes you hope the next generation does a better job than we’re doing.
Children holding Beastie Boys lyrics at protest against a swastica graffitied in park dedicated to rapper Adam Yauch pic.twitter.com/cdTctTcaYh
— Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) November 20, 2016