Mayor Adams joins ADL, electeds in ‘Walk Against Hate’ at Van Cortlandt Park

Hundreds marched to enjoy all that's good in life while fending off the bad


A scorching sun did not stop hundreds from participating in ADL’s Walk Against Hate, including Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, and Mayor Eric Adams. The event took place on the parade ground of Van Cortlandt Park, where people in white T-shirts reading “Walk Against Hate” marched against antisemitism, racism, and all forms of bigotry.

“We’ve seen a major uptick in hate,” said ADL Regional Director for New York and New Jersey Scott Richman. “Antisemitic incidents, racist incidents, violence against asians, homophobia, islamophobia. Whatever you want to call it, unfortunately it’s on the rise.”

According to ADL’s audit of antisemetic incidents, the incidents occur in New York far more than anywhere else in the country. Richman referenced a group of online trolls that have been swatting Jewish institutions and other institutions nationwide.

Swatting is when people file false police reports, such as bomb threats. These reports can sometimes result in an innocent person being killed.

“We need to stand up to this hate,” Richman said. “When I speak, I speak to a lot of groups, and they ask me at the end of the day ‘what is the most important way to fight hate?’ The most important way to fight hate is civil society.”

Richman said by having everyone stand together they are pushing hate to the margins of society. Several organizations supported the march, such as Manhattan College Holocaust Genocide and Interfaith Education Center, and The Riverdale Y.

Dinowitz said the only way to fight the many forms of bigotry is through education and people banding together to speak out against all forms of hate.

“If people like us don’t speak out,” Dinowitz said, “then we see what can happen.

“We’ve seen, certainly in the past number of years, but certainly since 2016 or 2015, what’s happened in our beautiful country and we cannot put up with that.”

Torres praised ADL, saying they are relentless in combating hate and extremism.

“We know that hate thrives on silence and complicity,” Torres said. “And we’re all here to send a message that we refuse to be silent and we refuse to be complicit. And we insist on walking against hate.”

Torres said that one of the most dangerous ideas in politics is the great replacement theory, which has incited mass shootings and acts of violence against Latinos and African Americans.

“We’re reminded that extremism against one minority can easily metastasize into extremism against all minorities,” Torres said. “So we have no choice but to stand together and to walk together and to walk against hate. People often ask me ‘you’re a Black Latino kid from the south Bronx, why do you care so deeply about fighting anti-semtism?’

“I simply reply that ‘I reject the premise of your question.’ One need not be Jewish to fight antisemitism, just like one need not be Black to fight anti-Black racism.”

The walk was one of Israel Nitzan’s last events in New York as acting consul general before he ends his tenure. He arrived in the summer of 2018. Nitzan recounted how just two months later he traveled to Pittsburgh following the Tree of Life synagogue shooting that killed 11.

“It’s important for us not only to stand up against antisemitism,” Nitzan said. “It’s important for us to show up and stand up against all hatred here, and all hate expressions in New York.”

Adams, on the eve of a trip to Israel, was the last speaker before the march. He said it’s amazing how diverse the city is and how little residents know about each other. He noted that the city has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

“When you come out and do something that is symbolic to do this walk, it turns into a substantive action,” Adams said. “We realize we can walk together, we can talk together, we can eat together, we coalesce together.”

ADL, Walk Against Hate, Van Cortlandt Park, Mayor Eric Adams, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, Jeffrey Dinowitz,