At Dr. King Tribute, Public Advocate James Asks TD Bank To Deny Loans To Gun Producer

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State Senator Kevin Parker, WBLS Radio Personality Liz Black, Gospel Musician Ricky Dillard and Board Chair of A Shared Dream Foundation Tani Chambers. PHOTO CREDIT: Cali York Photography  The 12th Annual “A Shared Dream MLK Tribute Concert” which featured song and dance performances also included remarks from elected officials who urged audience members to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and pursue justice in their everyday lives.  “Tell TD Bank to stop loaning money to Smith and Wesson,” said Public Advocate Tish James. In a previous press conference about the same issue, James revealed that TD Bank loaned Smith and Wesson about $300 million.  “It’s about action. He [Dr. King] wanted to engage in a revolutionary and militant change. Let’s not redefine him and limit him to excerpts of his speech,” said James to the crowd of nearly 1,100 people.  James also spoke about a recent incident in which five African-American teenage boys allegedly raped a girl in a Brownsville playground in Brooklyn; however several questions have now been raised about that case and the King's County DA, Kenneth Thompson has so far deferred any action.  “He was a man of action. He was a dreamer but a man of justice. We too must seek to find justice,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), said of Dr. King. The Senator continued to read portions of Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” including in part:  “For years now I have heard the word ‘wait.’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with a piercing familiarity. This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never…. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say "wait." …when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people…"  Other government officials included Maya Wiley, Counsel to Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office, who reminded the audience that the mayor has funded 40,000 units of affordable housing that will provide shelter for 100,000 families in New York City.  Grammy nominated gospel musician Ricky Dillard and New G was the headliner act of the night. They had the audience on their feet several times performing hits like “Grace,” “Celebrate the King,” “Amazing” and much more for close to an hour.  This free concert, which took place on January 18 was organized by New York State Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) and A Shared Dream Foundation.   “Every year, I look forward to bringing the community together to celebrate Dr. King’s life and accomplishments on behalf of people of color,” said Parker in a statement after the event. 

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