At 11:30 a.m. on Sunday (Nov. 20), Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz joined 500-plus local residents at a community meeting-turned-rally to stand against a hate incident that took place in Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn Heights on Nov. 18.
The community members in attendance included elected officials, state senator Daniel Squadron, congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, city councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander, and a number of faith leaders -- all of whom spoke in protest of hate and racism in Brooklyn and beyond. This was spurred by a call received at Squadron's office on Friday alterting him that multiple swastikas and the message "Go Trump" had been spray-painted in Adam Yauch Park. The constituent and Squadron's office connected with the NYPD and Parks Department. They are in the process of removing the hate messages, as well as investigating the incident.
In the meantime, what was intended to be a local meeting turned into a positively full-blown anti-hate rally, fueled by the energy of the Beastie Boys and local faith leaders representing the diverse community. Hundreds of residents turned out to display signs with messages including "Love Trumps Hate," "No Sleep 'Til No Hate in Brooklyn," "No One Is Alone" and "Where's Your Anti-Nazi Tweet, Trump?"
Despite freezing temperatures, poor visibility and no proper amplification system to fully hear what was happening, attendees stood in solidarity, warmly reacting to each voice sounding off against racism.
"If hate is carried out in his name and he says nothing, it becomes his hate," cried one speaker.
"If hate is carried out in his name and he says nothing, it becomes his hate." I love my community. I love this city. Thank you, NYC/BK leaders and citizens for standing together against intimidation and hate, and to all good people all over the country and world doing the same. God bless you all
A video posted by Torres (@torreslovesyou) on Nov 20, 2016 at 9:50am PST
Eventually Beastie Boy Ad-Roc took the megaphone and delivered one of the most electrifying speeches of the event: "I'm assuming that we're all here today 'cause we're thinking the same thing: spray-painting swastikas at a children's playground is a messed up thing to do ... This is about hate crimes towards Muslims soaring to their highest levels since 9/11. We elected a president that is giving our children the message that it's OK to attack people of color. This is real. We've gotta stand up against hate. If you're able to give money, give to Black Lives Matter. If you're able to protest, protest. If you're able to volunteer, volunteer."
"If you're a musician, write that anthem. Take what you're good at and give to the cause that you care most about. And please keep your eyes open. Stand up for each other. I reject Donald Trump's mission of America. Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan. Black, white, New York, let's make it happen!" he said.
Then a crowd sing-along of "We Shall Overcome" kicked off borough president Eric Adams' emboldened words: "We will not be afraid. We will turn our fear into action. I'll be damned if I allow any election to tear us down."
Brad Lander followed suit, stating, "47 percent of Brooklynites speak another language at home. Let's engage ourselves and let's let people know that more than a tree grows in Brooklyn. Power is what we are known for and what we are made of."
Steven Levin spoke next, publicly addressing Donald Trump (who was unsurprisingly not in attendance): "There is a rise of ethno-nationalism around the world, and we need to be a bulwark against this. On January 20 you are going to be president for all 350 million Americans, and you need to make it clear that anti-Semitism has no place in America in 2016. Anti-Islam has no place in 2016. Fascism has no place in 2016. Nazism has no place in 2016. If you don't come out and condone these forcefully and repeatedly, then you are supporting hate. You need to be a bulwark against this."
A chant of "Not in our country! Not in our name!" broke out, before a final audience sing-along of "This Land Is Your Land," a la the great Woody Guthrie.