Mike McQuillan - United States
I would be asked to organize meetings with the community leaders to develop strategies for healing their community. And then for example, during my twelve years as Brooklyn Borough President Howard Goven’s advisor for race and ethnic relations, I organized what’s since been known as the Crown Heights Coalition. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Crown Heights disturbance or Crown Heights riots at all, but in August of 1991, a car driven by the Lubavitch Hasidic Rabbi of Crown Heights, which is where their world headquarters is located- on Eastern Parkway, went through a red light as part of a procession, but struck a young Caribbean-American boy named Gavin Cato and killed him in a terrible traffic accident and injured his sister Angela, and three days of riots in the community broke out during which a Hassidic student was stabbed by a gang. And Mayor Denkins was in office at the time, a terrible, terrible period. And I was asked to moderate a community meeting for the Borough President, which basically turned into three hours of black leaders hurling accusations at the Hassidic leaders, but over a year's time, I organized, for the borough president who’s pictured here, Borough President Howard Golden, of course Marty Markowitz is the Borough's President now, but before Markowitz there was Golden. And this is a celebration on the one-year anniversary of the riots and the accident. These leaders had come together and conducted a yearlong investigation where they found out that claims by each side that the other race was being given unfair favoritism by the city government were false, but that the whole community had been underserved and they agreed to work together. They, and about twenty-six other people not in the picture, to fight for fair services to upgrade all the city services that Crown Heights was entitled to, to give its fair share in other words.