1999-10-09 / Editorial/Opinion

Bringing Us Together

The Wave is a racist paper is what’s being said by some after last week’s edition. Last week’s front page featured two ‘Most Wanted," both black males, from Far Rockaway, and considered "armed and dangerous." Also on the front cover was the story of two high school star athletes arrested for attempted murder and carjacking an Arverne man. A picture caption entitled "Heading To Hollywood" also graced the front cover, which featured Michael Broughton, a Far Rockaway resident who rose to stardom and is now appearing in two television series. Columnist Gary Toms further developed a story about Michael inside the paper.

Why did The Wave make this front page news? First, this paper has had the highest success rate of any paper, dailies and weeklies, in New York City in assisting police in removing criminals off the streets of our community. The intention of the paper in profiling these criminals is only for one reason--to make the streets of Rockaway safe. The goal is to provide the safest community for our families, our children and our seniors.

Hopefully that doesn’t make us racist! Some suggestions have included removing the pictures off the front page so people don’t say things like "there’s another black man committing a crime." If someone says that, they are the bigot, the racist--not The Wave. By taking the pictures off the front page, the only winners become the criminals. They can roam our streets one more week, ready to take advantage of, or take the life of, the next innocent person. The Wave will not accept one more child’s life being taken innocently because it is politically correct to take a person’s picture off the front page.

As a community we must start addressing the real problems--and then make our elected officials wake up and smell the coffee. How can we make the streets of Far Rockaway safer? What ways can The Wave work with Far Rockaway residents and activists, as well as with local police, in resolving the concerns of the community? This is what we should really be talking about. How can we help each other?

The Wave’s lead story about two Rockaway teens, star athletes at respected high schools, confessing to attempted murder and carjacking, is big news. And guess what--there was not one mention of their race. It was news because one questions why teens, who seem to have so much going for them, would lash out in this way. Last week’s editorial addressed teen violence--not black teen violence--not white teen violence--just teen violence. Violence is color blind--it affects everyone in many different ways.

And then there was Michael’s story. The Wave enjoyed featuring such a positive role model for the community and for the children. We were accused of putting Michael’s picture around all negative stories, diminishing the impact. The Wave had no intention of taking Michael’s glory away. His achievement is one that The Wave respects and hopes that the community does as well. He is a neighborhood man who worked hard, believed in himself, and had a dream. He made his dreams a reality and The Wave wanted the community to appreciate his success.

It is the intentions of The Wave to work with the Far Rockaway community and make them aware that this is their paper too. Being a community newspaper requires the community to share with us the happenings around town. The only way we can bring positive news about Far Rockaway is if we know what is going on--religious events, festivals, clean-ups, etc. Who are the people that make up Far Rockaway? Is there a neighbor that you want to feature? Call us and we will serve you… we are your community paper.

Rockaway is one community. The Wave will not divide our community by "west end" and "east end." Politicians have done that and look where it has left us. The Wave wants to be in the forefront of making Rockaway one again. We all share the same concerns, and the only way we can bring prosperity to our community is if we stop being our own worst enemies. The Wave will be the voice of all Rockawayites. Put us to the test…together we’ll bring Rockaway to new places.

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