Community denounces hate speech flyers found in VCP

Van Cortlandt Park, the future site of a temporary field hospital for COVID-19 patients.

The Woodlawn community denounced hateful fliers that were found posted in a park.

Several fliers containing hate speech calling for American and European men to “unite” and “defend their heritage” were posted at multiple locations in Van Cortlandt Park on Thursday, November 8.

According to police, the fliers have resulted in a criminal complaint report for Aggravated Harassment being filed for a sign posted in the vicinity of Van Cortlandt Park East and Kepler Avenue.

Several fliers were found near Healy Field, along Nursery Road, at the Woodlawn Dog Run and near a bus turn around at East 242nd Street, according to sources.

NYC Parks Department personnel removed the fliers, according to the agency.

“Our parks are intended to be safe spaces for all parkgoers,” said an NYC Parks Department spokesman. “We are aware of this matter, and are working in concert with the NYPD to report any further postings.”

The fliers have prompted swift condemnation by community leaders and elected officials representing Woodlawn, with some raising concerns that the fliers, calling for the creation of a ‘white supremacists’ group, are part of a growing trend in the country.

Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz said that in his personal opinion the person or people responsible for the postings have been ‘ginned up’ by Donald Trump and his supporters.

The President’s assertion that he is a ‘Nationalist’ is a signal to racists, anti-Semitics, Islamophobics and other haters, he said.

“I am disgusted at whoever created this flyer and there is no place for racism and bigotry in our community,” said Dinowitz. “This is not an issue of First Amendment rights, no matter how much racists would like it to be, but rather is an attempt to intimidate other people.”

Congressman Eliot Engel said that the type of behavior expressed in the posting of the fliers is becoming more prevalent in society, and that the borough is not immune, adding he sees a correlation between this and the rhetoric at the top levels of American government.

“Hatred has no place anywhere in our borough or our city,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Kenneth Nugent, Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Association president said his organization is aware of the incident and asked that the posters be removed, adding that that Woodlawn has always been an immigrant community.

“Woodlawn is not a hotbed of social unrest,” said Nugent. “We get along quite well, thank you.”

The hate-filled park postings stated that “white men built civilization,” and called on all interested to stop an “invasion” of Afro-Americans into the community.

They also advocated that those in agreement to wear a white hat and shirt while eating and drinking on Katonah Avenue.

“We have everybody from all groups here in Woodlawn, and I don’t think there is a significant group of people here looking to engage in this kind of activity,” said Nugent.

In a statement, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park condemned the fliers, noting that the park serves as an open space for several racially and economically diverse communities and that if FCVP finds any more fliers, they will promptly report them to authorities.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com.

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