Please consider how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, dream could apply to so much that we need. To me, the non-violence dream, above all, means protecting the innocent and enforcing the laws that ensure public safety, government’s first Constitutional duty. Fire and crime fighting forces should not be reduced, nor should hospitals and schools be closed. Move traffic safely, not swiftly (walkers too!). Encourage and support only transit accessible to all citizenry. Lower the speed limit.
Living safely and peaceably depends more on responsible drinking than on fat in the diet or sitting too much. And more than smoking, because alcohol can so adversely, dangerously—even criminally—affect behavior. The mayor needs his consciousness raised about this, too. And Malachy McCourt should curse this darkness he knows so much about.
Light candles by stressing the importance of learning interpersonal communication skills, including the conflict resolution kind, from toddler age on out. Share the talk, and let it be between age groups, where it’s almost non-existent—even in families and in faith, civic and political groups. Dr. King might agree that age segregation is now the most destructive apartheid.
Perhaps providentially, I just now turned on NY1 to learn the awful news of a 71-year-old man who was murdered during the robbery of a jewelry store at East 76th Street and Madison Avenue, where he worked. In a truly just and non-violent society, any such heinous taking of an innocent life would get front page, prime time coverage, and be strongly assailed by editors and columnists. But today, these terrible crimes often don’t even make the back pages, especially in the New York Times. And the recent Daily News short piece, “Older New Yorkers Are Healthier,” noted briefly that the leading cause of death among 15- to 34-year-olds is homicide. But where is the protest and concern that members of this age group are also the foremost perpetrators? Incidentally, this column’s original logo was “For a Gentle City,” because times were becoming anything but.
And surely in our society where we (especially, but not only, women) are increasingly and inordinately judged by the tone of our skin and our physical makeup, Dr. King would find such flawed values something to overcome. He might well urge the women’s movement to revive its once adamant objection to women being judged by their outward appearance, especially woman as sex object. Yes, Virginia, those activists really held such now very un-cool views.
There are all kinds of injustices, and some co-op and condo dwellers feel nobody is looking out for their housing conditions. The East Side Housing Coalition has a new program just for them which aims to provide vertical homeowners “with a unified voice to address their concerns… with leadership and advocacy training to build skills that protect their rights” within their own buildings and in government policies. For information, call 212-734-8995 or contact email@example.com.
And here’s to all city dwellers adopting Marge Ternes’ safe walking program, in which corner apartment houses share the duty of clearing ice and snow from their respective crosswalk entrances. While Ternes is renowned for her tireless and inspired direction of the Park Avenue Mall plantings, including the Christmas time memorial trees, may her safe walking Rx become the rule for corner buildings citywide. And get those nearby buildings shoveling out the often-impassable bus stops!
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