WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Activists and leaders from across Westchester County gathered for a press conference in front of the Westchester County Office Building to mark Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday Thursday.
The aim of the conference was to demand an end to abuses in law enforcement practices and to deliver a letter to County Executive Rob Astorino.
“Dr. King practiced nonviolence and fought for systemic change to battle injustice. We feel this is the appropriate way to honor his legacy in light of the challenging times we live in,” said Juanita Lewis, community organizer with Community Voices Heard in Yonkers.
Along with the Community Voices Heard group, 11 other groups were represented at the conference.
They were WESPAC, Community Development Governance Council, Westchester MLK Institute for Nonviolence, the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, the Antiracist Alliance, The New York Immigration Coalition, New York Civil Liberties Union, Bethel Baptist Church, Concerned Families of Westchester, the Memorial United Methodist Church and the Westchester-Putnam Working Families Party.
“A strong voice is needed to get the county executive’s attention to the needs of police accountability and transparency at the county level. We are personally delivering a message to County Executive Astorino requesting a public meeting to discuss these items of concern,” said LaMont Badru, founder of the Community Governance Development Council based in Yonkers.
Astorino’s office prohibited the group from entering through security to deliver the letter, and were asked to leave their letter with the security desk.
“WESPAC is disappointed that the county executive is not accessible to community leaders,” said Nada Khader, executive director of the WESPAC Foundation. “We are hoping that he will get back to us very soon with a date for a public meeting.”
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