To call for NYPD policy changes — especially stop and frisk — in observance of Human Rights Day, area residents came together on Saturday to sign a new Flushing Remonstrance at historic St. George’s Episcopal Church.
The event was sponsored by Flushing Interfaith Council, Friends Committee for Black Concerns of the New York Yearly Meeting of Quakers and others.
More than 350 years ago, English citizens of Flushing in New Amsterdam wrote and signed the Flushing Remonstrance in defense of Quakers, who were persecuted for gathering to worship.
Many believe the document established an important legal precedent guaranteeing religious freedom in the United States.
Following in this tradition, area leaders and concerned residents signed a new Remonstrance in protest of city policies that they say have marginalized and alienated some fellow New Yorkers.
Just as the founding settlers of Flushing rallied to support Quakers and others, religious leaders gathered to express support for Muslims and people of color impacted by profiling and what they see as discriminatory policies.
Written in nine languages, the new Remonstrance criticizes stop and frisk, an NYPD policy that organizers say has routinely violated the rights of young males of color and Latinos on a massive scale, as well as warrantless and wholesale surveillance of New York City mosques and other Muslim-American institutions.
“I congratulate Flushing Interfaith Council for spearheading this effort and wish this important event success,” said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing.
“Religious freedom, without discrimination of caste, creed or color, being a basic human right should be ensured and upheld and any effort to undermine this should be strongly resisted,” she added.
According to John Choe, director of One Flushing, “We hope the second Remonstrance will help set a more open and inclusive tone in the next administration at City Hall. We expect to see much better protections for the rights of all New Yorkers under our next Mayor Bill de Blasio.”