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Protesters want change to a mural in Red Hook, and statues in Kingston

Jun 15, 2020 6:33 am
Over the last several weeks there have been protests in Ravena, Coxsackie, Chatham, Hudson, Catskill, New Lebanon, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Albany, Troy, Delhi, Saugerties, Beacon, Red Hook, Newburgh, Schenectady, Marlborough and many other municipalities in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. Government officials have made minor police reforms in Albany and Schenectady, and a Black Lives Matter mural has been painted on an Albany street, with others planned in Hudson and Schenectady. Now there are also petitions to change statues and murals in Kingston and Red Hook. The Daily Freeman reports that there is an online petition calling for the removal of three statues overlooking Kingston's Academy Green. These online protesters want the statues of George Clinton, New York state's first governor and a U.S. vice president; explorer Henry Hudson; and Peter Stuyvesant, former governor of New Netherlands, should be removed from the Kingston park. The petitioners say that Clinton was a slaveholder, Stuyvesant was an anti-Semite, and Hudson colonized territories for the Dutch East India Company. “Paying tribute to these men in a public place, where the Kingston community rallies and marches for Black lives, is unacceptable, and reinforces the traditional structures of power that make these lives feel unsafe in any space,” the Kingston petition says. “Let’s call on city officials and others to remove these statues. Then, the communities in Kingston that are most affected by racist violence should decide who is memorialized in Academy Green.” The three statues had been taken down before, from the Exchange Court Building on Broadway in New York City before being claimed in a Brooklyn junkyard. Another online petition wants a Red Hook mural "partially redesigned and repainted to remove harmful imagery." The "Harvest Past" mural at the intersection of routes 199 and 9 in Red Hook includes "a woman of dark brown complexion wearing no shoes, and a dress and bonnet pushes a cart of apples," the petitioners say. Robert Pemberton, co-leader of the Stop the Violence, organized a June 2 protest in Poughkeepsie. “Enough is enough,” Pemberton told the Poughkeepsie Journal. “You can’t go for a jog. And you can’t come back from the store with a bag of Skittles and iced tea. And you can’t have your hands up with your back to the police. And you can’t reach for your ID with your kid in the car. ... I think all of America is saying, ‘Enough.’” This week there are protests at 4:30 p.m. June 17 in Chatham and Kingston; and Juneteenth events in Albany, North Rockland, and Guilderland.
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