2000-08-12 / Columnists

From The G-Man...by Gary Toms

From The G-Man

We’ll Miss You ‘Miss Maggie’

Hey people! Far Rockaway lost another outstanding member of the community two weeks ago, and that person was lovingly referred to as "Miss Maggie". I didn’t know this woman personally, but because of the way that I was brought up, I considered her to be my grandmother. I found out that many people from her neighborhood felt the same way.

Murders occur everyday in this city and state, and all too often the innocent victims are featured in three-minute sound bites on the nightly news. In a matter of time, these people are forgotten about, and the story becomes just another example of how violent, and out of control, our society really is. I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and let that happen in this case.

There are some striking similarities between the murders of "Miss Maggie" and Maria Medina. In both cases, these women were truly loved by the community. They served as "teachers" to the many kids they cared for and looked after. They were free spirited, strong-willed and compassionate, and in the end, death came quickly and violently for them.

I get angry over many of the social ills in this country, but the one thing that pisses me off to no end is when the elderly of this country are brutally and senselessly killed. They are the true pioneers who have but a limited amount of time left to enjoy life. I’m not a strong proponent of the death penalty, but in these types of cases I would pull the switch without hesitation!

It’s hard for me to understand why great people, like "Miss Maggie" have to die in such a horrible manner. Everything about this woman illustrated that she was a fighter. For example, the area that she lived in has a reputation as one of the most dangerous projects in the city, but she always came out to be with the kids and fellow residents. She was a survivor. At 80 years of age, she made it through the civil rights period and segregation, which is something that too many African- Americans take for granted today. She was a survivor. Then, recently, when death tried to take her, in the form of a heart attack, she kicked its ass! Make no mistake about it folks. She was a survivor!

The thing that hurts me the most is the fact that she endured all of these hardships, only to die at the hands of one of her own people. This was someone who was concerned about the state of African-Americans in this country, and she fought to make sure that this screwed up society did not swallow up the children of the neighborhood. Even at the age of 80, she was just getting started. Sadly, in all the things she fought against, she could not stop a crack-induced maniac from repeatedly plunging a knife into her frail body.

I think about this elderly angel lying in a pool of blood, and I cry. I think about her attempting to call for help, as the pain from the stab wounds shot through her body, and I cry. I think about her pleading with God to let her live, and I cry. I think about how no one came to her rescue, until it was too late, and I cry. I think about how this gentle soul should have lived to be 100, or better, and she never will. I cry.

As usual, the local "pollys" (politicians) were nowhere to be found after the incident. I don’t get these people at all. It’s like they really don’t give a (expletive)! You know what a true leader of the community would’ve done? A true leader would’ve made it their business to hold a press conference at the site of the murder, and they would denounce the act and attempt to unite the community against any future acts of violence. You’re supposed to have so much damn power and influence, well use it!

By my count, there have been three major incidents in Far Rockaway, involving the deaths of innocent people: Theresa and Melissa Ramlochan, the building collapse victims; Maria Medina, the stray bullet victim from Redfern; and now "Miss Maggie". Hardly anyone has shown up to at least have some type of community prayer session for the victims. One or two "pollys" here and there just doesn’t cut it! The sooner you make your presence known, and show the people you serve that you care, the faster we can stop the "demonization" of Far Rockaway and its’ residents!

I don’t know if anyone in power has thought about it, but something should be done to honor "Miss Maggie". No one, especially an elder, deserves to die the way that she did. I don’t want to hear any crap like, "We can’t honor every single person that falls victim to a violent crime!" "Miss Maggie" was not the image, so often projected by the media, of a typical housing project resident. While many are shown using bad English and lifting up a "joint" or a 45-ounce bottle of beer, "Miss Maggie" lifted the honor and pride of many good Black people within her housing complex and community, and many should be reminded of that on a daily basis. I don’t care if it’s a memorial site, a play area for the kids or a "tree of hope". Find a way to honor this woman’s memory.

I hope the death of "Miss Maggie", and the words of this column, send a message to the people in all of the lower income housing developments. We need to start taking care of our elders and communities. Everyone, including local and state officials, is dogging Far Rockaway and hose who live there. We are not what they make us out to be, and the best way to prove this is to stand up and fight back. "Miss Maggie" can’t fight any longer, but there is no reason why residents, from Arverne to Redfern, can’t continue to help promote Black pride and respect in their communities. That’s what "Miss Maggie" would’ve wanted.

If you need me, I’m at

Mapel2000@aol.com. Let’s get it together Black people! I love you all, and I’ll see you next week.

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio