Beastie Boys member Ad-Rock joined hundreds of New Yorkers at the Brooklyn Heights playground named after his bandmate Sunday in a show of solidarity against hate after someone defaced the area with a swastika allegedly in the name of Donald Trump.
The 50-year-old Brooklyn hip-hop icon, whose real name is Adam Keefe Horovitz, said he was appalled that someone would post that hate symbol, along with the words “Go Trump,” at Adam Yauch Park, since his late bandmate was a person of peace. He told the crowd of nearly 2,000 people, who arrived at the rally with homemade signs, that the city and country cannot sit idly by while these discriminatory continue to take place.
“This is real, it’s happening at a rapid rate, we’ve got to stand up against hate,” said Horovitz.
The lifelong Brooklynite called the act “home grown terrorism,” and urged people to use their artistic skills to stand up to the hateful rhetoric. The families who used the playground already took that message to heart.
Children and parents covered the vandalized section of the playground with flowers, cards, handmade signs and paper hearts immediately after the news broke about the crime.
Sara Farber, 41, of Cobble Hill, who came to the rally with her husband and 5-year-old daughter said she hopes this outpouring of voices sends a message to the president-elect.
“It would be nice if the person who’s name is on the graffiti had some perspective and spoke out against it in a very strong way,” she said.
A Trump spokeswoman didn’t respond to messages for comment on the vandalism or the rally. The NYPD said as of last week, there have been 25 reported hate crimes against Muslims in 2016, 13 more than last year, and 111 reported Jewish hate crimes, nine more than last year.
Also on Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced expedited efforts to investigate and curb hate crimes statewide.
He told congregants at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem that he called on the State Police and the Division of Human Rights to put together a special team to look into bias incidents. That team will offer assistance to other law enforcement agencies and district attorneys, the governor’s office said later Sunday.
“We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the perpetrator of any of this ugliness and divisiveness,” the governor said to applause.
Cuomo will also urge on the state Legislature to give the human rights office the power to investigate harassment and other discrimination in public and private schools.
“The ugly political discourse of the election did not end on Election Day,” Cuomo said. “In many ways it has gotten worse, (growing) into a social crisis that now challenges our identity as a state and as a nation and our people.”
Democratic elected officials -- including Public Advocate Letitia James at Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza and City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez at the Hebrew Tabernacle in Washington Heights -- held other gatherings Sunday to denounce Trump’s appointments while vowing to protect New Yorkers’ basic rights. Outside Trump World Tower, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, joined by four other House members, said the president-elect’s pick of Steve Bannon reflected support for the white nationalist movement and an agenda to “make America hate again.”