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One Peninsula

Dear Friends,

 The death of George Floyd, dying, gasping for air as all the world watched, was a powerful and lasting image of the dark, shameful history that many Americans thought we have moved beyond. Regardless of the circumstances that led up to Mr. Floyd’s arrest, I ask you the question, did the punishment fit the crime? Think about it for a moment. In the midst of a global pandemic, people across America are risking their own health and safety by violating any type of safe distancing orders to protest the killing of a Black man so causally by a White police officer…what do we do to get those with narrow vision to see us for who we are, Americans of African ancestry who can also lay claim that we too helped build the United States into the greatest country in the world!

Going forward, I can only hope there are many uncomfortable conversations going on around dinner tables across America about ugly history of American slavery and the institutionalization racism for generations because discrimination was never separate but equal under the law.

My call to action as President & CEO of Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation is to find those opportunities for discussions on race and what we can do together to overcome biases and opinions that have no basis, just generalizations. My challenge also extends to many Black Americans who can also be just as biased, seeing all Whites through one lens because they have not had the experience of meeting and interacting with persons from different areas of the community who happen to be White, or Brown, Christian or Jewish Americans. Maybe we as adults and leaders let them down because of our own biases and didn’t see what are now seeing, a movement supported by Americans of all races, genders, religions, ethnicities and economic status united in protest.

Last Tuesday, my colleague, Valerie Stevens and I started out on our mission, along with the Rockaway Business Alliance to distribute over 30 cases of face masks (that’s about 300,000 if my math is correct) donated by the City of New York and the NYC Small Business Services to Rockaways and Broad Channel Businesses. We started on the west end of the Rockaways in Rockaway Point and Belle Harbor along Beach 129th Street where we had such a great time interacting with not only businesses, but shoppers and residents thankful to us for thinking about them. You know, it wasn’t about race, it was about people helping people in their time of need. I don’t know whether or not we can complete our mission, but it will not be from a lack of effort, it will be from an over-abundance of care that leads to the first of what will be many conversations going forward as One Rockaways, One Peninsula!


Kevin W. Alexander, MPA
President & CEO


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