three four hundred Bay Ridgites—enough to cover the west side of Fifth Avenue from Al Safa to the Knights of Columbus—marched on Martin Luther King Day yesterday to promote unity, especially between the Arab population and its neighbors. It had been organized by concerned locals who wanted to push back against intimidation intensifying online and IRL.
The march, which featured participants of all ages, sexes, religions and backgrounds, began at the corner of 86th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, where organizers said a young woman had been kicked in the thigh while waiting for a bus because she wore a hijab; it went down Fifth Avenue and ended at the old Our Saviour’s Lutheran church on 80th and Fourth, which now most prominently houses the Salam Arabic Lutheran congregation, previously of Ovington Avenue.
Marchers filled the church’s gymnasium and made plates of food, piling falafel balls atop halved muffins, cheese cubes next to spinach pies. Children read quotes from inspirational civil rights figures, and adults made speeches; members of the Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge sang a medley about building bridges, which recently some have tried to burn with rhetoric. “If you think about it,” one politically active local told me, “this is all because of Donald Trump.”