Archive for the tag 'mark treyger'

Borough President Eric Adams and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito / File photo

Following New York City’s sixth drowning death on public property this season, Borough President Eric Adams is calling for a trio of reforms to prevent future drownings.

Adams made the proposals during a press conference yesterday on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue, just yards away from where 10-year-old Takara McDuffy was pulled from the water on Tuesday and pronounced dead.

Alongside Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island, Adams pushed for water safety reforms to be made at both the city and state levels.

The centerpiece of his proposal is an initiative to require water safety and swimming education in all schools. Adams’ office said they’re working with Coney Island’s State Senator Diane Savino to push the measure in Albany. The proposal would require teaching about the dangers posed by water and provide swimming lessons beginning in the second grade.

Takara McDuffy (Source: Facebook via Daily News)

Takara McDuffy (Source: Facebook)

“Although it’s a beautiful place to be, it could be a very dangerous place if we’re not taught how to be safe in the environment,” said Adams. “Because there’s no clear format of teaching water safety, our children and families are recklessly going to the water’s edge believing that this beautiful ocean is a toy.”

McDuffy’s life might have been saved with such knowledge, Adams suggested. The 10-year-old had been playing on the jetty at Stillwell Avenue after lifeguards went off-duty; she and her sister fell into the water. Neither knew how to swim, and good Samaritans spotted them struggling and dove in, but only McDuffy’s 9-year-old sister could be saved.

Adams and Treyger are also calling for increased enforcement on the becahes after it closes. Treyger said he wants to see the Parks Department boost the number of Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers, and task them with ordering beachgoers out of the water once lifeguards go off-duty.

“We need more PEP officers, not just simply volunteers,” said Treyger. “Particularly when the beach is closed and swimming is over, patrol the beaches to make sure there are no children of families left in the water.”

The Parks Department already has 15 PEP officers stationed on Brighton Beach and Coney Island beach, according to PIX11.

The borough president’s office said they’re also pushing to require CPR training for every city worker, which could provide a veritable army of trained lifesavers across the five borough. A drowning or choking victim can be spared death or brain damage by cutting CPR response time by as little as two minutes, and increasing the number of people trained to provide assistance could drastically reduce response time.

Adams’ staff is looking at legislative options to make the training mandatory.

Takara McDuffy (Source: Facebook via Daily News)

Takara McDuffy (Source: Facebook via Daily News)

A good Samaritan yanked a 10-year-old girl and her 9-year-old sister from the water at Coney Island beach after seeing them fall off a nearby rock jetty, but the older girl did not survive.

Takara McDuffy was pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital shortly after the 7 p.m. beach rescue near Stillwell Avenue. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death, but it is presumed to be a drowning.

The girls, from Staten Island, were playing at the beach with a group of family friends. Witnesses told reporters that they were playing on the jetty unsupervised and fell into the water. Bystanders jumped to action, and pulled both girls to shore.

The New York Post reports:

“People came rushing from all over to help out. It was horrible, it was chaotic,” said witness Ena ­McCaskill.

After a frantic, 10-minute search, a man found the girl floating about 100 yards from the jetty.

“He had a sound of desperation in his voice,” McCaskill recalled. “He was yelling for somebody to help him save the girl.”

Another good Samaritan administered CPR on the beach.

“A regular guy grabbed her and started doing CPR,” said witness Joseph ­Josephs, 24. “He was pounding her chest for a good minute. A lot of water was coming from her mouth.”

McDuffy’s parents lashed out at those who were supposed to be watching over their daughters, the Daily News reports.

The gathered friends and family demanded to know why little Takara – who could not swim – was apparently unsupervised by the group of adults she had gone to the beach with.

“It took a man to jump into the water and pull her out. Some man saw Takara’s body floating and he jumped in,” the family member said.

“Why wasn’t nobody paying attention? You was there all day and let her go in the water. Why wouldn’t you ask if she could swim?”

The incident happened less than an hour after lifeguards packed up for the evening. Swimming is prohibited at city beaches after 6:00 p.m., and there were no lifeguards on duty.

According to Borough President Eric Adams, it’s the sixth drowning death of the summer. Along with Councilmember Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island, Adams will hold a press conference near the beach today to reiterate his call for citywide reforms to make public beaches safer, and will also be distributing the following fliers sharing water safety tips.

Water Safety Tips

loehmanns

Bullet Points” is our format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.

Loehmann’s expansion postponed: An expected vote on an application to expand Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) was tabled by Community Board 15 at their meeting this Tuesday to allow hearings and public input throughout the summer.

The Board was scheduled to vote on the proposal, which seeks to add an additional floor of office space totaling 10,000 square feet to the building. As the first item on the agenda, the Board’s Zoning Committee chairperson, Ronnie Tawil, made a motion to table the item until the group’s next meeting in September.

“Since this property is at the centerpiece of Sheepshead Bay and is of such high significance for the entire area, I’m of the mind that we should table this matter so that we can have more public hearings and more opportunities to discuss the ramifications of this particular application,” he said before the Board.

Normally, postponing such a hearing before the summer could open the door for an end-run around the Board. The group’s recommendation is advisory, and is requested to come within 60 days before the landlord’s appearance before the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), which has final say. If the Community Board tables a motion, it could forfeit its right to provide input.

However, the group’s chairperson Theresa Scavo said that won’t happen in this case. She met with the landlord’s attorney, Eric Palatnik, who frequently comes before the group on zoning matter and requested that he postpone the appearance before the BSA so that public hearings can be organized. He agreed, and has frozen the application, Scavo said.

“I’m asking him not to go ahead without us, he said he would not, and everything is put on hold. He’s giving it until September,” said Scavo.

Public hearings are expected to be scheduled in July or August by Councilman Deutsch’s office in conjunction with local groups like the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association. The item will be back for a vote before the Board in September.

As Sheepshead Bites first reported in March, the landlord is planning to add a new floor of commercial offices. Because it falls outside of the special zoning district‘s permitted uses, and the building is already subject to a variance, the BSA must review and approve the project.

Its initial construction was a lightning rod for community activists in the 1990s, when many locals mobilized to stop it from being built. It succeeded in going forward, and many credit the development as being the death of the special zoning district.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out [of business]. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” said Steve Barrison when he learned the news in March. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Zoning items:

  • 1112 Gilmore Court - The board voted 28-to-5 to approve an application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling. The landlord is seeking to upgrade a one-story bungalow into a two-family house, saying he needs more space for his family and needs the second unit to cover the costs of construction. The construction will not result in decreased side yards, as they plan to build back into the rear yard and to increase the front yard space.

Elected officials:

  • Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein briefed the Board on the end of the legislative session, specifically touting her record of domestic violence initiatives. She added that her bill on special education placements did not pass, but that was in fact good news since a deal had been negotiated with Mayor Bill de Blasio to initiate the changes at the Department of Education anyway.

Other notable information:

  • A motion by newly appointed boardmember Ed Jaworski, also the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, was rejected. The motion was to approve a resolution of “no confidence” in the Board of Standards and Appeals, which he said has been effectively upzoning neighborhoods on a lot-by-lot basis by rubber stamping special applications for variances that come before it. In the coming days, the BSA will lose its current chairperson to term limits, and Jaworski hoped to send a message that would result in an appointee he would consider more inclined to listen to local communities. The Board ultimately rejected the motion after choosing not to table it, with members saying that it would “disenfranchise the relationship we’ve built over time,” and that there were other ways to weigh in on the selection of a new BSA chairperson.
  • The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, through their partnership with the Family Justice Center, informed the area that they are establishing walk-in centers in every borough for domestic violence victims. The centers have free attorneys, social workers, children’s counselors and more on-site, and it’s open to all regardless of gender or immigration status. Community Board 15 is ranked 39th citywide in domestic violence calls, roughly in the middle of all communities.
  • The Department of City Planning announced the launch of the Southern Brooklyn Resilient Neighborhood Study, a two-year plan to examine the Sheepshead Bay area (specifically Plumb Beach and Gerritsen Beach) to identify strategies to strengthen the area from future storms. Some attendees complained that the new study doesn’t help with ongoing issues with Build it Back, FEMA or other agencies, and is yet another in a long line of studies and initiatives that they feel are not moving forward.
  • The Board welcomed the appointment of five new members, at least two of which were not in attendance, and at least one of which has never been seen at Board meetings previously. Board appointments are made by the borough president, often at the recommendation of local Council members.
  • Doreen Garson, representing the local CERT team, noted that the Office of Emergency Management has issued new evacuation maps and a related website.
  • A representative for Councilman Mark Treyger announced that his office would hold an unclaimed funds event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their 2014 Stillwell Avenue office on July 10. You will be able to search state databases for funds owed that you may have forgotten about or lost track of.
  • The Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach branches of the Brooklyn Public Library will participate in the Department of Education’s summer meals programming, offering kids free lunch during the day, beginning on June 27.
  • The July 4 holiday is a Friday. There will be no recycling picked up that day, but garbage may be put to the curb. Alternate side parking will be suspended.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs asked the Board for input on the installation of bumper cars at Land o’ Fun at 2955 Coney Island Avenue. The Board voted to recommend its approval.

The head of the New York City Office of Recovery and Resiliency is getting behind the Bloomberg-era plan to replace the Riegelmann Boardwalk’s wooden slats with concrete, saying that concrete fared better in Superstorm Sandy.

Recovery chief Daniel Zarrilli testified before the City Council last Thursday, telling them that the choice of concrete was a “sound” decision since it performs better in storms.

He added that the de Blasio administration will continue to replace the wooden boards with concrete going forward.

Bloomberg made the decision to replace the boardwalk with concrete after instituting a citywide ban on tropical hardwood in public projects, the material the boardwalk, as well as other fixtures like benches, have historically been made of. It has been fought for several years by locals who want to see the iconic wood stay, and they even filed suit against the city in 2012. Several compromises were sought, including using alternate wood materials, plastic and a combination of all three – although the city made clear its preference for concrete.

But the announcement that the new administration will stick with the plan because it performed well in Sandy is sure to be challenged by critics. In the wake of the storm, locals said that the concrete allowed sand to pile up on the boardwalk, and also served as a less effective buffer protecting the community from the flooding. They also say the concrete accelerates erosion and is less effective at drainage during storms.

The two councilmembers whose districts overlap the boardwalk, Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger, both support using wood.

contaminent

The sediment-filled waste coming out of a covered sewer overflow pipe. (Source: Pete Castro)

The city’s long-awaited solution to street flooding along the Coney Island peninsula has some locals wondering if the remedy isn’t worse than the disease.

West 33rd Street and Bayview Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

West 33rd Street and Bayview Avenue (Source: Google Maps) Click to enlarge.

The Department of Environmental Protection is in the midst of a massive clearing operation in western Coney Island, pumping years of sand, debris and residue out of long-jammed sewer lines, which neighbors say caused the streets to flood in even the slightest rain. But now the city is fielding a new set of complaints from residents who say the toxin-filled water is flowing into Coney Island Creek through a combined sewer overflow pipe at West 33rd Street and Bayview Avenue, adjacent to Kaiser Park beach.

“Yes, you’ve got to clean out the drain. But my logic, my god-given common sense, is that you don’t foul it up, you don’t create another foul condition when you solve that problem,” said Pete Castro, a resident of West 35th Street.

Castro has been on the beach almost daily for the past week and a half, filming and taking photos of the Department of Environmental Protection’s private contractor, National Water Main Cleaning Co., as they pump water into the sewer and it flows out of a nearby outfall pipe, onto the beach. The 30-year resident said the water is thick and black with sludge, oil and other contaminants, mucking up a habitat in the midst of a revival.

“I’ve been seeing wildlife come back to the beach, egrets, the occasional swan, ducks go over there. And they’re dumping that oil there and apparently DEP is okay with it,” he said.

The DEP confirmed that they’re clearing out the sewer lines, and that some debris was simply destined to enter the environment.

“We are working to clear out the sand-impacted storm sewers. This is in response to flooding complaints in the area. We have been cleaning out the sewers for weeks and we understand there have been complaints about pumping stuff into the sewer, but in reality this is what we have to do to clean the sewers,” a spokesperson told this outlet.

Despite years of flooding complaints on the Coney Island peninsula, the latest round of work began after a site visit by Superstorm Sandy recovery honchos Bill Goldstein and Amy Peterson. Led by Councilman Mark Treyger, the team visited P.S. 188, where the students and faculty shared the following video showing the extent of flooding outside of the school in even modest rain.

“This is not Sandy, it’s just an average rainstorm,” Treyger told this outlet about the video. “It is a eye-opening video that shows severe flooding that is so bad that a car floated from the street and crashed into the front of the school, that’s how bad the flooding is. We showed the video to Amy Peterson and Bill Goldstein and they were very alarmed by it.”

“It is a damning video that just absolutely validates and confirms portions of Southern Brooklyn had been neglected by the [Bloomberg] administration.”
- Treyger

The Sandy team put pressure on the Department of Environmental Protection to address the flooding immediately. After inspection, the DEP determined that the sewers were clogged near the outfall pipes that go into Coney Island Creek, and dispatched contractors to clear it out.

Treyger admitted that solving one problem for residents caused concern for others. Castro and neighbors made complaints to his office, and he forwarded the video and photos to the DEP for a response.

As a result, Treyger said, the DEP conducted a review, meeting with the contractor and also bringing in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which has jurisdiction over area waterways.

“My sense was that they’re going to review and basically provide greater oversight of the work being done,” said Treyger. “For many years the infrastructure has been an issue here and as we move forward to fix it, we’re not looking to create more environmental disasters. This type of work has to be done in accordance with all environmental regulations and we’re going to make sure that that happens.”

truck1

The vactor truck at work on West 33rd Street and Bayview Avenue. (Source: Pete Castro)

But Castro fears the agencies are being less than thorough in their review. Shortly after Treyger met with the DEP, officials from both the DEP and the DEC spoke directly to Castro about his concerns, assuring him they would investigate the spillage and make sure it was in compliance. But instead of investigation, Castro said he received a call from the DEC rep several hours later saying that they had reviewed the operation and concluded it was safe.

“According to his dubious investigation, some guy [from the DEC] just miraculously put his finger in the air and said it’s okay to put that foul oil onto the beach,” said Castro, adding that there was about six hours between the phone calls – four of which was during hours when the trucks were not pumping. “You can get chemical results like that, with a snap of the finger?”

The DEP spokesperson said she did not know of any specific involvement of the DEC in this matter, but said, “I’m sure we’ve been in touch with DEC at some point.” Asked over the course of multiple phone calls if there was knowledge of the contaminants flowing from the pipe, she said, “I have to double check, but don’t forget it’s the sewer system and it has to get out of the sewers. It can be anything.”

She did not have an answer about contamination when we followed up, instead pointing out that the city uses vactor trucks – essentially giant vacuum cleaners that suck out debris, suggesting that there should be no spillage into the waterway. When we noted that there was spillage, as evidenced by video, she reiterated, “We’re doing work out there.” She did not respond to further questions.

Treyger said he requested the DEP hold a meeting in the community in the upcoming weeks to discuss their operations and respond to potential concerns. He said it will be announced soon.

Until then, Castro said he’ll continue to document the filth and hopes to find someone’s help analyzing water samples. In addition to the wildlife and habitat, he’s also concerned about the numerous indigent locals who turn to Coney Island creek to fish for their meals.

“I can’t see it getting much worse. I’m just waiting for the dead fish to pile up,” he said.

treyger-office

Council Member Mark Treyger (center) and his office staff including (left to right) Deputy Chief of Staff Igor Vaysberg, Community Liaison Angel Fung; Community Liaison Jeannine Cherichetti and Constituent Services Supervisor Dilyora Rahimova.

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

As part of his efforts to serve and represent residents of the 47th Council District, Council Member Mark Treyger has announced the opening of a second district office to better connect all constituents of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island and Sea Gate with local government and services.

The new office, located at 2015 Stillwell Avenue, is in addition to the office at the Warbasse Houses on Neptune Avenue serving the southern portion of the district including Coney Island that Council Member Treyger opened immediately upon taking office in January. The new Stillwell Avenue office is intended to provide much greater convenience to any residents who need help with issues related to city government and agencies. Council Member Treyger made constituent services and addressing neighborhood issues a top priority during his campaign and since taking office, and this new location is a major step towards fulfilling that pledge.

“My top priority is to assist every resident of my district with issues regarding city government and to deliver the services our community deserves. This new office will help ensure that my staff is convenient and accessible for all residents of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island and Sea Gate, not matter which area of the district they live in. My great staff is ready to assist the public, so I urge everyone to call or stop in for help with local issues,” said Council Member Treyger.

The new office has been open for several weeks assisting district residents with government issues. It is open from noon to 8 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays. Residents can reach Council Member Treyger’s Stillwell Avenue staff, which includes multilingual speakers, by phone at (718) 307-7151 or by stopping by the office, which is accessible via the B1 and B4 buses and the D train.

Council Member Treyger will host a community open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at the Stillwell Avenue office on Sunday, June 22nd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All residents are invited to stop by and meet the Council Member and his staff and visit the new office space.

The following was sent to us by Councilman Mark Treyger’s office, one of the elected officials sponsoring a gun buyback event this Saturday, May 31, in Coney Island. Details below.

gun-buyback

Example of a Mobi-Mat (Source: assistivetech.net)

Gone are the days that the wheelchair-bound are limited to enjoying the beach from the brink of the boardwalk, rather than on the sand itself. In 2007, the city unveiled special mats that allowed the handicap and seniors better access to the water’s edge, and now the Parks Department is moving forward with plans to install three new locations.

The handicap- and senior-friendly installations, called Mobi-Mats, debuted seven summers ago, making it easier to walk or roll on top of sand. The department has agreed to install three new mats on the Riegelmann Boardwalk, at West 33rd Street, West 5th Street and Brighton 6th Street, stretching 200 feet towards the ocean. The announcement was made by Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, who said they advocated for the expansion.

“I am thrilled that Southern Brooklyn’s great beaches will be even more accessible this summer and proud that I was able to work with Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffery to successfully meet this important request. Every resident of Coney Island and Brighton Beach should be able to take advantage of the wonderful amenities right in our backyard. I heard from many seniors throughout Coney Island, especially in the West End, who have been unable to safely and comfortably walk across the sand in years past, so this is great news for our entire peninsula,” said Treyger.

“Nobody, regardless of their handicap, should find New York City’s public resources inaccessible — especially our wonderful beaches,” said Deutsch. “I’d like to thank the Parks Department for working with us to enhance the lives of the elderly and disabled residents of Southern Brooklyn.”

In addition to representing stretches of the waterfront, both elected officials represent districts with large senior populations.

This summer, mats will now be down at the following location: West 33rd Street, Stillwell Avenue, Brighton 2nd Street, Brighton 6th Street, Coney Island Avenue, and West 5th Street. They will be in place from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. (Source: Google Maps)

Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. (Source: Google Maps)

Two men were left injured after a gunman opened fire on a residential street in Coney Island on Saturday, and now elected officials are calling for increasing police resources to the peninsula.

The shooting happened at Mermaid Avenue and West 31st Street. The victims, a 22-year-old man who was shot in the neck, and a 32-year-old man shot in his leg, are both in stable condition, Metro reports.

It’s not clear what led to the shooting, but Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny joined the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative yesterday for a rally to request more cops in the area, with a renewed focus on patrolling the residential portion of the neighborhood rather than the amusement area.

Metro reports:

The elected leaders also asked that the city use Sandy recover funds to drive an job creation initiative, and that the Housing Authority open up local communal spaces and centers to all residents.

“The west end of Coney Island has historically been ignored and disrespected and not provided the resources and services needed to break this cycle of violence,” Treyger said in a statement on Saturday. “We can’t just focus on the neighborhood during the summer or during events like today’s Brooklyn Half Marathon, when the city reaps the benefits of the amusement area.”

Shootings are actually down in the 60th Precinct for 2014, according to the most recent Compstat data, ending on May 11. By that date, there were four recorded shooting incidents in 2014, as opposed to 11 during the same time period in 2013.

UPDATE (11:45 a.m.): I somehow missed this in my inbox, but Treyger sent out a press release over the weekend with more information on the proposals to make the area safer. From the press release:

He is calling on a number of city agencies to come together and create a comprehensive, all-out campaign to address and overcome violence in Coney Island, including:

  • More police resources. This includes additional Parks Enforcement Officers dedicated to Coney Island’s 2.5-mile boardwalk and amusement area, to relieve pressure off the 60th Precinct and allow it to dedicate its officers to patrolling the residential areas. In addition, the NYPD must recognize the need for additional security throughout the community all-year around including mobile command centers.
  • Focus by the city and NYCHA on job creation initiatives for local residents, including using Sandy recovery funds. “You can’t just react to violence, you must take steps to prevent it. The best way to take a gun out of someone’s hand is to provide them a job and an opportunity for a better life. NYCHA must join this effort by fulfilling its obligation to provide workforce training, especially in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” said Council Member Treyger.
  • NYCHA once again making its community centers and spaces open and accessible during from morning to evening for all residents, and expanding after-school opportunities for children and teens. Council Member Treyger is requesting that NYCHA take inventory of all common and public spaces to determine how they can better be used to benefit residents.
  • The forming by Council Member Treyger of a neighborhood clergy council to bring together religious leaders from throughout Coney Island to develop programs and strategies to end the violence. The launch of this effort will now be expedited in light of the recent shootings.

On Thursday, Council Member Treyger stood alongside Urban Neighborhood Services, Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and a number of local anti-violence activists and organizations to announce state funding secured for a Coney Island Anti-Violence Initiative. He is now pushing for funding to expand the city’s anti-violence program to Coney Island.

“I applaud Councilman Mark Treyger for trying to bring as much resources as possible from the New York City Council to fight this epidemic of gun violence which has gripped communities like ours. His leadership on the issue is not only appreciated but sorely needed as it will take all hands on deck to deal with the gun violence crisis in Coney Island,” said Mathylde Frontus, Founder and Executive Director of Urban Neighborhood Services and Acting Chair of the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative.

In addition, as part of his ongoing efforts to get illegal guns off the streets, Council Member Treyger is holding a gun buyback program in partnership with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio on Saturday, May 31st at Coney Island Gospel Assembly. He is also calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to include the hiring of more police officers in the upcoming city budget and is requesting that NYCHA providing funding for better security and cameras at its housing complexes.

The Holocaust Memorial Park in Sheepshead Bay, where Remembrance Day will be held. (Source: Dr. Vladimir Gressel)

This Sunday, April 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day and to commemorate the multi-ethnic and religious genocide the Stop Anti-Semitism Foundation is sponsoring Remembrance Day with a ceremony in the Holocaust Memorial Park in Sheepshead Bay.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. by the newly formed non-profit organization, and it will coincide with a day that is commemorated around the globe. The organization is dedicated to fighting hatred and violence against Jews and other religious and ethnic groups. And in keeping with the spirit of the event members of religiously oppressed people will also be attending the event. There will be Holocaust survivors and children of survivors, and leaders from the Jewish, Coptic Christian, Azerbaijani, Korean, Serbian and African-American communities, according to a press release.

The event hopes to reflect the diversity of the victims of Nazi persecution, which targeted gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witesses and numerous other minority groups in addition to the Jewish peoples. For the event’s founder, Dr. Vladimir Gressel, that’s an important point to recall when considering present-day persecution.

The Brooklyn Eagle spoke to Gressel:

While the Holocaust took place more than 70 years ago, violence and terror are still being used today by people who hate others simply because of their nationality or religion, said Dr. Vladimir Gressel, the organization’s founder. “Remembering the horror of the Holocaust and honoring its victims requires us to speak out against the violence and terror victimizing ethnic and religious groups today, he told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“One of the lessons we learned from the Holocaust is that silence is not an option,” said Gressel, a Jew who emigrated from the former Soviet Union several years ago.

As well as commemorating a very dark period in humanity’s history, Gressel and his organization will use the event as a way of raising awareness against current oppression and hatred.

In the press release, the organization writes that they have “become alarmed by the violence and intimidation directed towards Christian communities in the Middle East, Africa and other locations around the world.” And that these “situations that have not received adequate news coverage in the national and international press that remind us of the silence preceding the Holocaust.”

City Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger will also be there, along with State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblyman Brook-Krasny.

Featured performances will include a gospel choir of young singers, poetry recited by local children and a string trio. The event will conclude with a solemn ceremony honoring victims of the Holocaust.

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