A tale of two vigils


To the editor:

An answer to the community is needed for why at two vigils to bring neighbors together in light of the recent national tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, one would include and one would exclude local elected officials.

Both vigils that occurred at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13, and Monday, Aug. 14, were purported as venues for the community/neighbors to gather and express solidarity against hate and the acts of terrorism executed by white supremacists and nationalists, as well as to show sympathy for the deaths and injuries that occurred recently in Charlottesville.

Sunday’s vigil — sponsored by the Interfaith Clergy Council of Riverdale, Kingsbridge and Spuyten Duyvil — at Bell Tower Park, walking distance from Fieldston (an affluent neighborhood) heard comments and statements from some local elected officials or their representatives along with clergy.

Monday’s vigil sponsored by Bronx Climate Justice North, however, at the corner of West 231st Street and Kingsbridge Avenue in front of the Church of the Mediator memorial — walking distance from the Marble Hill Houses, managed by the city’s housing authority — heard from clergy and community members, but was missed by the voices of the local elected officials or their representatives.

I was told that elected officials were not encouraged to attend the vigil on Monday. 

Needless to say, this was a lost opportunity by local elected officials to speak to these constituents and voters, although it was hard to hear speakers at either event — megaphones are needed.

It leaves an open question in my mind as to why the local elected politicians or representatives did not speak at Monday’s public gathering.

Roberta Todd

Roberta Todd,