September 11, 2016
By NYS Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz
New York, NY – You should know that on September 5, 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio compared the crimes committed during J’Ouvert festival that precedes the West Indian Day Parade with the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade by stating:
“It was not that long ago that the St. Patrick's Parade, the Puerto Rican Parade was plagued by violence … We do not associate, now, the St. Patrick's Parade with violence or the Puerto Rican Parade with violence.”
As you know, for years the J’Ouvert Festival has been riddled with crime, bloodshed, fatal stabbings, gun violence and assassinations, and each year, the situation gets worse.
We have to do something to stop these outbursts of violence and senseless loss of life that occurs during this event!
It is insulting, disrespectful and shameful for Mayor de Blasio, in an attempt to protect his political base, to compare the past and present state of affairs with the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Saint Patrick’s Day Parades.
It is important for you to know that neither of those parades that took place during the daytime were ever plagued with the violence that has infested the pre-dawn J’Ouvert.
Mayor de Blasio owes an apology to the Puerto Rican community, the Irish community, and to the Parade organizers!
My thoughts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones who were murdered during this year’s J’Ouvert: Tyreke Borel, the 17-year-old who was shot in the chest and killed this year, and with Tiarah Poyau, the 22-year-old who was shot in the face because she refused to dance. I also pray for the 72-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man were also shot and survived, and the dozens and dozens J’Ouvert’s victims
I suggest to Mayor de Blasio that if he wants to keep the J'Ouvert festival in place, he should be man enough to do so and not use the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Saint Patrick's Day Parades as his scapegoats.