Rego Park and Forest Hills were the sites of two instances of anti-Semitic hate this past Monday evening, March 20. Two swastikas were found scrawled on the sidewalk and street at 9:21 p.m. in public view and reported to local elected officials by 9:45 a.m. the following morning. One of the vile drawings was found at 102nd Street near 63rd Drive in the Rego Park section of Queens at Stephen A. Halsey JHS 157, and the second was found etched into a Forest Hills walkway at 110-11 Queens Boulevard. By the afternoon, the markings had been erased.
Public officials, including Congress Member Grace Meng, State Senators Leroy Comrie and Joseph P. Addabbo, and Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi were quick to release a joint statement: “We have been in contact with the NYPD after swastikas were found scrawled outside of two locations in our neighborhoods.” The release continued, “Our local leaders and fellow neighbors will never become complacent in the face of such vile acts of hate.”
The elected officials added, “We remain strong in supporting one another, and condemn these acts of anti-Semitism and cowardice for what they are.”
NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is leading the investigation, and officers at the 112th police precinct have kept stakeholders apprised of unfolding details as arrests have yet to be made. The announcement concluded, “We remain confident that the perpetrators will be found and prosecuted, as they have been time and again.”
“Less than 24 hours after we joined the Simon Wiesenthal Center to release their annual Digital Hate Report, yet another vile, antisemitic act of vandalism was discovered in one of our communities,” wrote New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, who had hosted a critical community forum with Council Member Lynn Schulman at P.S. 99 in Kew Gardens to explore the impact of hate on our communities. “This is a stark reminder of the pressing need to root out and stop the spread of hate.” Schulman added, “After last night’s hate forum in my district, it is appalling that anti-Semitic symbols were found in our community this morning.”
Several lawmakers are set to host an online event in conjunction with Beth Taboh of Commonpoint Queens, Central Queens on Thursday evening, March 23, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. entitled, "Learn How to Report a Hate Crime."
By Shabsie Saphirstein