Jul. 1, 2020: I am Annabelle Krause, a rising senior at the Bronxville High School. Next year, I will be the co-president of the Bronxville Human Rights Coalition Club.
On June 20, the town and our surrounding community rallied around the Black Lives Movement through the Unity Walk. I walked with some of my classmates, and we were happily surprised by the sheer number of people in attendance. I saw friends from Bronxville, as well as from the surrounding towns. This show of solidarity from the community was moving in its own way; a community coming together to fight for justice.
At the culmination of the walk, there were speakers at Village Hall. Many speakers shared their stories of race and injustice, in Bronxville, in Westchester, and in history at large. I spoke as a student on behalf of the high school.
In a town like Bronxville, we are no stranger to systemic racism and discrimination of all forms, and we are hardly alone in that. Often, this is the hidden story. Every other year, our Village hosts Ghost of Bronxville to celebrate the artisans and founding members of our community. Although this is an interesting historical experience (and fun for little kids), it cannot exist in a vacuum.
The first time I heard about the village’s darker past in a formal setting was this past year in my Humanities Seminar at school. We discussed not only Bronxville, but also systemic issues in the greater United States. We read an article entitled Gentlemen’s Agreement in Bronxville: The “Holy Square Mile” written in 1959. The author, Harry Gersh, was an investigative journalist who tried to buy a house in the school district under a stereotypical Jewish last name, Greenberg. He was turned away by every real estate agent he met as soon as he told them his last name. The students and residents of this town must understand that the homogeneity of our population is not an accident, but the result of blatant historical housing discrimination.
So, sitting in our seats of privilege as a majority white, Christian suburb, we cannot stop now. We rallied to show support, and now all those who support continued change must work to create real change.
Vote, donate, call your representatives, do your research, have hard conversations about race and injustice. There are many avenues to push our community and the United States towards a more equal society, one where the color of your skin does not determine your life expectancy and opportunities.
Photo by A. Warner
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