On Monday, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx), a native of Puerto Rico, released a letter to the parade’s board commending the organization “for recognizing that Oscar Lopez Rivera represents the voice, tenacity and resolve of Puerto Rico and its people.”
The letter, signed by 30 members of the City Council including seven who represent Queens, concludes by saying, “We stand in solidarity with Oscar and express our full support for the board’s decision to recognize and uplift the legacy of Oscar Lopez Rivera.”
The Queens Council members who signed on include Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria); Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights); Julissa Ferreras Copeland (D-East Elmhurst); Peter Koo (D-Flushing); Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans); Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton).
The Chronicle contacted the offices of all Queens Council members to ask about either their reasons for signing the letter or whether they intend to march. A handful responded via email.
“Oscar Lopez Rivera was pardoned by President Obama because he was never convicted of a violent crime,” Councilman Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) wrote. “He is one of a number of people being honored at the parade for his work highlighting the struggles of his people. The parade is an event that gives all of us an opportunity to celebrate the Puerto Rican people and I proudly support their efforts.
“Additionally, I am curious as to why some people are so unwilling to give Oscar a second chance but glowingly highlight a visit from Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to dedicate Easter Rising Way in Maspeth [last November] an effort that I also supported.”
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) said she was not attending the parade but that her reasons had nothing to do with Lopez Rivera.
She also took issue with any implied criticism tying Adams, a leader in Northern Ireland Sinn Fein political movement, to terrorism. While he had been imprisoned by the British as a young man, he has continuously denied involvement with the Irish Republican Army, a violent revolutionary group long tied to Sinn Fein.
“Adams was central to bringing peace to a long, bloody conflict in Northern Ireland,” Crowley wrote. “I’m pleased that while he was visiting New York City, he could make time to celebrate a historic moment in Maspeth at the co-naming of Easter Rising Way.”
Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) will attend.
Do you ever feel like you're living in a bizarre nightmare by staying in NYC?