.

Rockland Building Civil Rights Memorial

C. Scott Vanderhoef, Ram Nagubandi and Jan Degenshein
C. Scott Vanderhoef, Ram Nagubandi and Jan Degenshein

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced the county is building a civil rights monument to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Rockland’s Commission on Human Rights. 

The monument plans unveiled on Tuesday, which was Universal Human Rights Day, incorporate a granite retaining wall featuring a quote used by Martin Luther King Jr., a waterfall and a base in the shape of Rockland County. There will be an area to contemplate and several placards describing civil rights events on a local and national level.

The memorial will be located by the entrance to Dutch Garden and adjacent to the county courthouse on South Main Street in New City. County Human Rights Commissioner Ram Nagubandi said it was an appropriate location since the courthouse was the site of the decision to integrate the Hillburn schools.

Nagubandi said despite the existence of the human rights commission and Rockland’s efforts to promote and protect civil rights, there is still discrimination and racism in the county. 

“50 years we have been protecting the rights of people in Rockland County,” he said. “In the last two dozen years or so we were more active, more proactive. And one thing we could say is we are not only fighting discrimination but we are also being seen by the respondents as trustworthy and fair. We fight hard but we are fair.”

Vanderhoef said the memorial would be completed in March or April. It is being considered as part of the improvement to Dutch Garden and he said would not cost the county additional money. Planning began during the spring of 2013. Architect Jan Degenshein of Nyack donated his time to design the memorial.

“I don’t think any of us are exempt from discrimination,” Degenshein said. “We’ve all observed it. We’ve all felt it. And for me this is an opportunity to express a reminder of what still has to be done. We’ve come a long way and we have a long way to go.”

The quote inscribed on the wall appears in the Bible, “Let justice well up as waters, and righteousness and like a mighty stream.” 

Commission member Willie Trotman, who is also the president of the Spring Valley NACCP, said, “This is a step in the right direction. Let us look for equality for all.” 

Incoming County Executive Elect Ed Day attended the ceremony and said his administration will continue to be vigilant to fight against discrimination.

The commission’s board members include Chairperson Lyn Davidson, Vice Chairperson Vivian England, Antoinette Bennett, Linda Berns, Benjamin Breskin, Dr. Roger Davis, Ted DeGuzman, Nancy Genova, Nemesio A. Montenegro, Daniel Salmon, Debbra Stolarik, Esq. and Willie Trotman.

 

Rob T December 11, 2013 at 09:26 AM
Considering that Rockland is 140 Million in debt, question is how is this being paid for and what friend got the contract to build it ?
Robert F. December 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Will someone connected with this article please articulate exactly where all of this so-called discrimination is occurring today in Rockland County? I keep hearing about it, but I've yet to see any tangible proof of it. I too would like to know exactly who is paying for this monument. If it's not costing Rockland any more money, then someone or some other entity is paying for it. WHO? If it's the state of New York or the federal government, it's still my tax dollars. What I would like to see the County of Rockland do is to resolve our fiscal crisis and lower our tax rate, instead of wasting more and more resources on pandering to overbearing special interest groups. We do NOT need more monuments. We need competent fiscal control in Rockland County.
Charles Clewsow December 11, 2013 at 05:22 PM
"“I don’t think any of us are exempt from discrimination,” Degenshein said. “We’ve all observed it. We’ve all felt it. And for me this is an opportunity to express a reminder of what still has to be done. We’ve come a long way and we have a long way to go.”.....I am sorry to hear that you and your family still have a "long way to go" Mr. Degenshein...mine doesn't so please don't speak for me, my friends or my family.
Charles Clewsow December 11, 2013 at 05:24 PM
"Nagubandi said despite the existence of the human rights commission and Rockland’s efforts to promote and protect civil rights, there is still discrimination and racism in the county. "....Where?
steve December 13, 2013 at 01:01 AM
Its wonderful that they want to make a Monument, Can you tell me who is going to pay for this. I think we the Tax Payers have had enough. If Mr Vanderhoef wants to pad his future record, then lt let him raise the monies from his own pockets.
George jakowenko December 13, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Not sure why everyone complains about who is going to pay for anything. I have been here for over 20 years and have voted down every budget increase request but the yes votes continue to exceed the no votes every year. Thats why we are leaving the county (house on market this week). How many times has any increase been defeated? The county officials know that they can spread the cost of any item among thousands of home owners. What is only a few dollars here and there?. But over 20 years it is no longer a few dollars. Officials beleive the homeowners are a bottomless money pit.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »