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Irony of divide

By A.B. Craigwell

New York, NY —Nov 14—Along the spectrum of the African-American community in New York a sharp divide is clearly evident.

On Tuesday night, the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund held their annual fund raising benefit at the Hilton Hotel in New York and presented Russell Simmons with the organization’s philanthropist of the year award. Among those in attendance at this lavish event, were NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Rusti Staub, former baseball player turned philanthropist and founder of the organization.

The irony of this event is that while the Kheil Coppin’s family were mourning the injustice of his untimely death by police shooting two nights ago in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn and a host of questions were being asked about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, Simmons and a plethora of African-Americans, including civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis, Hip-Hop entrepreneur Damon Dash and Jonathan Jackson, son of Jesse Jackson, were in a sense living it up.

It is not suggested that because of Coppin’s death the world should have come to a standstill. What is questioned is the appropriateness of Simmons accepting an award at that time, when instead the Black community should have been rallying around the family, providing support for them and working to get to the bottom of the shooting.

Despite previous and some persisting reports about whether the families do in fact receive help from the Widows Benefit Fund, the organization succeeded in raising over $1 million to provide assistance to police and fire men’s families killed in the line of duty.

A representative of a public relations firm for the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, who was present at the event recalled thinking as she looked around the room how surreal the event was against the backdrop of the shooting. It was, she said, as if nothing was amiss.

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November 14, 2007 - Posted by | African-American News | , , , ,

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