As the Civil Rights Movement grew, multiple leaders and organizations emerged with differing ideals from the original language upon which the movement was founded. We are seeing this now with the Black Lives Matter movement. Recently, movement for black lives, an organization within the movement has been criticized for using anti-Semetic language as part of its platform. It is unfortunate that one organization is causing the entire movement to be labeled as being racist against the Jews. To say that Black Lives Matter as a whole is anti-Semetic is simply not true.
It is no secret that international debate over the conflict between Israel and Palestine is deeply rooted in the foreign affairs history of the United States. Yet, I do not consider myself to be the most qualified person to give an opinion on the conflict. I am, however, fully aware of the significant role American Jews have played in helping lay the foundation of some of the most important civil rights organizations that rose as a result of racial injustices against blacks in America. NAACP, Urban League, Congress of Racial Equality, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference all had backing by American Jews.
Now, I know times have greatly changed since the Civil Rights movement. But, as a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, I have learned how to focus on the enemy. The true enemy is institutionalized racism and an oppressive criminal justice system. My aggression is toward a system that was purposely designed to oppress the lives of all people of color. My passion is in helping my community succeed in the face of the enemy. We must continue to strategically apply pressure to the system, particularly the elected public officials. So that justice can be achieved on behalf of blacks who presently are being and treated unfairly at a highly disproportionate rate in this country.
I want to invite my Jewish Brothers and Sisters to join us and stand with us in the fight against the injustices Black Americans perpetually face. In fact, I challenge any member of any race and any ethnic group to stand with us in closing the racial inequality gap. The responsibility of creating a fair and equal society does not fall on just one group. This is one fight in which all Americans must contribute.
Activist, Black Lives Matter Greater NY
After graduating from Concordia College, Hawk worked for the Honorable Robert T. Johnson at the Bronx County Office of the District Attorney, as a paralegal assisting Assistant District Attorney’s to prosecute crime. Hawk was then promoted to the position of Special Projects Coordinator. As the DA’s liaison to the community, he worked with N.Y.C.H.A tenants associations and social service organizations throughout the Bronx. In his spare time he organized drives to send medical supplies to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Hawk joined Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP as a project manager overseeing efforts inthe law firm’s 22 national and international offices. During this period, Steve founded the Bronx Sharks an athletic club that has sent numerous risk youths to college on scholarship. Hawk attended the prestigious Howard University Law School in Washington, DC. and completed his Jurist Doctorate at Touro Law School in Long Island, NY. After which he ran for City Council for the Bronx district where he grew up.
Throughout his life Hawk has engaged in protests and activities to combat injustice. Over the past few years, he has worked tirelessly leading protests and seeking justice for the families of those slain by overzealous police officers. In 2014, Hawk joined the Justice League NYC and has engaged in their national campaign to fix the broken criminal justice system. Hawk’s parents actually met at a civil rights rally in the 1960’s, so you can say that he was born into this fight. Hawk is the single parent to his thirteen-year-old autistic son, whom he loves dearly. Hawk loves his family, he loves his people, and he has pledged his life to bringing justice to this unjust system.