‘Build Something Better’ Mayor de Blasio Said About On Race Relations In Harlem Church

Bill_de_Blasio_11-2-2013Newsday reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio told congregants of a Harlem church on Sunday that though the nation and city have a history of racism to overcome, progress has been made and hope must not be abandoned.

His remarks came amid heightened tensions following several high-profile fatal shootings of black men and police officers last week in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas.

“We have no choice but to build something better in our time,” the Democratic mayor said, standing alongside first lady Chirlane McCray. “And let this city be an example.”

“We have no choice but to build something better in our time,” the Democratic mayor said, standing alongside first lady Chirlane McCray. “And let this city be an example.”

He spoke at Bethel Gospel Assembly, a nondenominational predominantly black church. He was to take his message next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

“We have to be honest about structural racism,” said de Blasio, who last week acknowledged he fears for his biracial children in the current climate.

The country has “a history of division, a history of discrimination” that began 400 years ago, and recent incidents could very easily lead to cynicism, he said.

But, de Blasio added, “The last thing that we should do is walk away, retreat, fail to believe that we can make the next level of progress.”

But, de Blasio added, “The last thing that we should do is walk away, retreat, fail to believe that we can make the next level of progress.”

The mayor said trust and respect must be restored between police and community. New York City has begun the work of improving relations by emphasizing neighborhood policing and using body cameras, he said.

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De Blasio said there was a time when every village had “guardians” and there was “no blue wall.” The country and city must return to that time, he said.

De Blasio said there was a time when every village had “guardians” and there was “no blue wall.” The country and city must return to that time, he said.

Members of the congregation offered de Blasio and McCray prayers before they departed, reaching out their arms.

The church’s pastor, Bishop Carlton T. Brown, echoed the mayor’s message.

“All policemen are not bad. We should not demonize . . . the gatekeepers,” Brown said, adding that he believes aspects of the law enforcement structure “leaves those of a certain color at extreme risk.”

“All policemen are not bad. We should not demonize . . . the gatekeepers,” Brown said, adding that he believes aspects of the law enforcement structure “leaves those of a certain color at extreme risk.”

People should not just be hoping but “demanding for reform, knowing that something can be done and will be done,” Brown said.

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