Former Yemeni President Ibrahim al-Hamdi was assassinated in 1977 at just 40 years of age, but is known to have had a tremendous impact on the country — with some even comparing him to JFK.
Today, with a war going on in Yemen, those in the Morris Park community of Little Yemen, which has a one mile stretch of 500 businesses, want to recognize their late leader.
Yahay Obeid, the vice chairman of Community Board 11, is also director of outreach for the Bronx Muslim Center on Rhinelander Avenue and a Morris Park resident. He recently circulated a petition to rename a street for al-Hamdi and on Jan. 28, the board approved that White Plains Road between Cruger and Rhinelander Avenues to be renamed Ibrahim al-Hamdi Way.
“The only hope our country ever had in being stable was when he was he was president there,” Obeid explained.
Board member Joann Terrelonge was a bit apprehensive about renaming a street for someone that was not from the Bronx.
“I know that he did a lot for the Yemeni community, but our community doesn’t even know about this individual,” she said.
Obeid then said he received a letter of support from the Van Nest Alliance, residents and elected officials Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.
Fellow board member Bernadette Ferrara then pointed out there is street named after Mother Theresa in Pelham Parkway and that street names are not just for people who live there.
Board member David Leavitt agreed with her that the street renaming was appropriate, but feels the committee should update the guidelines for street renaming as it currently only says people who are from the area.
“It’s not rare or uncommon that streets are renamed after individuals that have international value,” Gjonaj said.