With recent attacks on Jewish, Asian and Muslim people, Community Board 11 hosted a unity rally on May 26 at Orchard Beach.
CB 11 Chairman Al D’Angelo organized the event, which featured civic and religious leaders who spoke about the need to bring people together.
“Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” D’Angelo said. “Racism cannot be legislated away and can only be erased through understanding.”
Among the people in attendance was Community Board 11 member and Bronx Muslim Center Outreach Coordinator Yahay Obeid.
Obeid moved to the borough five years ago and wanted to be involved in the community. So, he attended a 49th Precinct Council meeting, then the Morris Park Association and Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance.
Obeid recalled how he was recently with a friend who thought he wasn’t normal to attend a meeting instead of being at home watching sports.
“I said I see myself as a normal person because I care about my community,” Obeid explained. “I love the Yankees, but I care about my community more.”
Religious leaders Pastor David Hernquist of the Van Nest Assembly of God Church and Rabbi Saadia Pewzner of the Bronx Jewish Center both stressed the need for people to come together and respect each other.
Hernquist, who has been with the church for 31 years, described it as a “loving multi-cultural congregation.”
“God loves everybody the same,” he stated. “He made everyone in his image. There’s no such thing as racial superiority.”
Pewzner explained that Jewish people say a prayer in the morning claiming to love their fellow man as much as themselves and one at night where they forgive people who did things against them.
The rabbi added that people should not hold grudges.
“The only way we can be real human beings is if we are at peace with our neighbor,” he said. “We have our differences. We all come from different backgrounds, but in many ways we are all very similar.”