Kids cover swastikas on a playground with hearts and flowers
Friday morning, it was discovered that Adam Yauch Park, a playground in Brooklyn Heights named after the late member of the Beastie Boys, had been vandalized. Saturday morning, the local children who attend the park repudiated the hate crime in the only way they know how: with love.
A story on NPR details how the kids, just a day after seeing their neighborhood park defaced in the most hateful manner possible, replaced that hate with love.
— Brad Lander (@bradlander) November 18, 2016
The kids papered over the spray-painted swastikas and “Go Trump” message with cut-out pink hearts and messages of their own, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s oft-repeated Tony speech, “Love is love is love is love is love…” and one message proclaiming that the playground’s train “stops fascists.” They weren’t standing for that hateful sabotage.
A photo posted by Paul Kim (@easternrodeo) on
The incident is just the latest in a disturbing string of hate crimes in the aftermath of President-Elect Trump’s election-night victory, incidents he has largely declined to comment on, aside from saying to “stop it” during an interview with Lesley Stahl on last Sunday’s “60 Minutes”. Thankfully, the future of the country doesn’t need “60 Minutes” to know that this kind of vandalism is unacceptable, and they’re stepping up, to fight back against hate with its exact opposite.
Kids always show us the way when it comes to responding to hate and negativity. We adults can learn something from their approach, seeing them cover something terrible and dark with something loving and beautiful.
I live in Brooklyn, not far from this park, which is exactly like 50 other playgrounds in the area where my kids and their friends play. The name Adam Yauch may not mean much to them, but the Jewish rapper – who played in the park as a child and had it named after him after he passed away from cancer in 2012 – was a beloved Brooklynite and a proactive human rights activist. I’m not sure we can count on the vandals to know much about him other than the fact that he was Jewish; I mean, they couldn’t even draw swastikas correctly. Sad!
Hooray for the children who took the park back with their handwritten signs of love and hope. You can join those kids, New York Councilman Brad Lander, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, religious leaders, other elected officials and at least one of the remaining members of the Beastie Boys for a “Stand Up Against Hate” rally taking place in the park today at 11:30 a.m.
“Dear New York I hope you’re doing well / I know a lot’s happen and you’ve been through hell / So, we give thanks for providing a home / Through your gates at Ellis Island we passed in droves” Went to pay my respects and drop a flower at the site of yesterday’s hate crime, and it looks like plenty of other brooklynites shared my idea. Seeing all of these beautiful souls- of all ages- was a much needed reminder that love will ALWAYS trump hate. This bigotry will not be given a home here.
The young kids playing at the park may not realize it, but when it comes to fighting for human rights, Adam Yauch was a great example. And now they are following in the late Beastie Boy’s influential footsteps by attempting to overcome hate with hope.