I find it hard to be giddy and gay this week, as the two recent grand jury decisions not to indicate the police officers, Wilson and Pantaleo, respectively, in the slayings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
In the case of Brown, well, we just don’t know. If he had just robbed a store and upon being stopped by Wilson for questioning, reached into the patrol car, punched the officer in the face, reached for his gun and when he couldn’t grab it, ran off, then—hey. Although Wilson didn’t have to shoot to kill, you just can’t do that.
The thing is, we don’t really know what happened and will probably have to wait until we die and go to Heaven to find out. In any event, the killing of Brown was unjustified.
In the case of Garner, his wife, Esaw, said it best: “Didn’t they watch the video?” It brings tears to my eyes to see the defenseless man brutally killed, and I find the action reminiscent of the days of lynchings. I applaud Esaw Garner for continuing to fight for justice. She is articulate and very serious, and she presents herself as very true to her spirit, nothing pretentious.
With all of the serious crimes being committed in our city and across the nation, in addition to worldly acts of terrorism and random shootings that claim innocent lives, it is extremely troubling to see that so much rage, hatred and disrespect for human life continue to exist in the guise of those whose job it is to serve and protect. The souls of Wilson, Pantaleo and the officers who shot and killed Amadou Diallo and, let’s not forget, George Zimmerman must be pent up with anger and hate. I can’t imagine a human being living that type of life. They can be best described as monsters.
When you think about it, all we are really asked to do during this turbulent time is to be kind to one another. Can’t we all get along? I think of myself as the quintessential New Yorker. I ride in overcrowded subways and standing-room-only buses. I am as comfortable on the Upper East Side as I am in the Village, at a gala event or a block party. I order a slice with pepperoni and carry my lunch in a brown paper bag. My favorite department store is Saks Fifth Avenue. I was born and raised in Harlem, where I continue to live, and I try to always be mindful of the needs of others.
Yet, as I journey about the city, I no longer feel one love, but guarded, because the atmosphere is one of suspicion and fearfulness, and people keep to themselves as they scurry about like ants trying to get from one place to another, as quickly and quietly as they can. This is becoming scary. What are we going to do about it?
While we ponder all of this, let’s give a birthday shout-out to Kim Getty, Judge Cheryl Chambers, Marlene Bunny Ledford, Cyril Poindexter, Lucille Carrion and Lloyd Martin Mitchell. Condolences to Robin Leach Harris, whose mother, Jean, has passed away. It was around this time last year when Robin lost her dad. With heartfelt memories, Robin has told friends and family, “Mom let dad spend one Christmas by himself. He wasn’t going to spend another one alone.”
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Fine art photographer Herbert Williams of Imagezs of Us has a limited edition of fine art photos available for sale. All prints are signed originals and come with a certificate of authenticity. To order and for more information, go to www.IOU.Photoreflect.com or call 917-375-0646.
Having a party? The Winery, located at 257 W. 116th St., now rents wine glasses. So no more plastic. Call 212-222-4866 for details, or stop by for the wine tastings Friday, Dec. 12 and Saturday Dec. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Featured Friday will be de Trafford wines from South Africa. According to its description, the de Trafford Winery is located at the top of a valley, 380 meters above sea level, between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains, “where the unique deep red Hutton decomposed granite soil produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon.”
The Saturday tasting will feature “eclectic wines from France,” where tasters are encouraged to expand the palate and knowledge about other wines of the world. The ultimate gift in wine this season is Dominus Estate Napa Valley Proprietary Red. The thing I love about the Winery is they give you so much history and background about the wines they sell. They like to educate their winos. This variety, too, has a limited edition, and it isn’t cheap, but that’s what makes it all the more special.
Not at all expensive, but special just the same, is Harlem School of the Arts’ rendition of “Soul Nativity.” “Soul Nativity” is a joyous pageant for all ages and a celebration of music, dance and the holiday season. This year’s performance will feature stage direction from Alfred Preisser, writer, director and producer of theater; choreography from Tracy Jack, actor, dancer, director and renowned choreographer; musical direction from Jeffrey Bolding of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, professional guest soloist; and the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir.
Performances are held at the HSA Theater, 645 St. Nicholas Ave., with tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door and $15 for students and seniors. Showtimes are Friday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 13, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21, 3 p.m.
Next on the social scene is the Brooklyn Old Timers Foundation 42nd annual Dinner Dance, Dec 14, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Antun’s Catering, 93-43 Springfield Gardens Blvd. in Springfield Gardens, Queens. The Old Timers always host a lovely affair at Antun’s, giving out scholarships galore to deserving students. Though all students are deserving, the Old Timers do the best they can with what they have.
Also on the same day’s the Greater New York Chapter of the Links’ Power of Partnerships Holiday Gala at Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway in Manhattan, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Congratulations to grandpa and grandma, Mr. and Mrs. Mel and Debbie Jackson, whose daughter Kari has given birth to a baby girl, Chole. It’s so nice to have a baby around the house for the holidays.
Until next week … kisses.