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Hands off, Lloyd Williams!

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 8/3/2011, 2:15 p.m.

It is absolutely baffling that Williams would currently be the one under attack. All the paper and its reporters would have to do-though it would completely nullify their attempt to demean and impugn his character-is to check with hundreds of persons on and off the hit list. With limited if any exception, they would vouch for Williams' integrity and the remarkable contributions he has made to New York City, his beloved Harlem and the Harlems of the world. Of course, the paper has already maligned many of his celebrated friends and associates.

What becomes very clear to any discerning reader is that the Post has no interest in people who are making substantial differences in their communities. It would rather disparage individuals such as Williams, the product of five generations in Harlem and was mentored by Malcolm X, Harry Belafonte and Percy Sutton, to say nothing of his continuing role in community betterment and empowerment.

The recent gala at Gracie Mansion and the massive attendance at last Sunday's "A Great Day in Harlem" at Grant's Tomb are testaments to his peerless leadership that, by virtue of these events, extends his influence from the White House to City Hall and to the late, great Gil Scott-Heron-to whom Williams and his associates, including Imhotep Gary Byrd, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright and Felipe Luciano, paid homage during "A Great Day in Harlem."

However, there is no need to sing Williams' praises, though one feels compelled since he is so reluctant to toot his own horn. It should be understood that an attack on Williams is an attack on all of us, particularly those who stand firmly behind him. In many ways, these attacks are a red herring and basically an assault on Rep. Charles Rangel, who is also implicated in the Post stories.

In effect, assailing Williams and the GHCC is done perhaps merely to distract the public from the welter of wrongdoings by the paper's parent company, News Corp. Such a ruse is a waste of time. It will not be a waste of time, however, for the Black media, especially our local newspapers, to challenge these nefarious and demeaning attacks on our leaders. Such a stance would be consistent with their overall stated mission.

What the Post should realize is that Williams and the Chamber are longstanding community beacons, and no amount of castigation will reduce their legacies or current status. Both are irreplaceable.

What the Black community needs to know and understand is that if they come for Williams and the GHCC in the morning, they will be coming for you and us in the evening. Let's stay close together. The family, people of color, is under attack.

Stay strong, Lloyd, we've got your back!