Op-Ed: D.A. Gascón: Yes, I’m ‘with the Blacks’
A couple of weeks ago, when I was asked to give a talk on the work I had been doing in the Black Lives Matter and other movements, I decided to take the risk and ask a few questions of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Here was the talk that never materialized:
“The Mayor: Black Lives Matter or New York City’s New Identity?
The Mayor: The great black freedom struggle is not over. It is not for us to decide.
The Mayor: Let us be very clear. If you are a protester in Ferguson or a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, thank you very much.
The Mayor: But if you are a white person who lives in one of the many neighborhoods that have been ravaged like no other by white supremacist racism, then you are part of the problem.
The Mayor: And that is what I learned in the Black Lives Matter movement: That people can come together to make change; that they have not been brought together in their shared interests; that white supremacy is a problem that has to be addressed; and that, whether the person who is white or the person who is black, our common humanity matters.
The Mayor: And I learned so much in many of the community meetings held in this city, including at my invitation, because I am from New York.
The Mayor: And I learned that it is no longer simply a matter of talking.
The Mayor: I also learned that it is not a matter of the press or the government. It is a matter of self-determination, of being together, working together.
The Mayor: The work we are engaged in is deeply personal. We are talking about the most personal of issues, and if you were not a part of this movement then you do not understand what it feels like to be part of this movement.
The Mayor: This is the work of a people who care, who look at their communities as children and who care about their communities as children. We have been fighting a war of ideas for well over a year now.
The Mayor: It is a war of ideas in which we can all join by saying “I am a part of that struggle.”
The Mayor: I may have a different view about the need