Shame on Glen Cove! Every single letter about the demonstration for a homeless shelter had something to say about how it is not our responsibility, how other communities should do more, and how the Reverend Allan Ramirez was inappropriate in his use of caskets and city hall as a place for the demonstration. Not one person who wrote said anything about how, despite the Reverend's tactics, we might work toward really solving the problem of homelessness in Glen Cove. Did anyone stop to think of the reasons for the demonstration? Did anyone ask Rev. Ramirez why he felt pushed to such lengths? Or did the mayor in his anger at how his image was shaken from the pedestal he's put it on, get many of the people he knows support him, to write to this paper to complain? I noticed that the majority of angry letters were written by residents of Glen Cove who, obviously, know very little about the good works of the Brookville Church, but who are interested in Glen Cove politics and city matters.
I am a lifelong resident of Glen Cove who has been a member of the Brookville Reformed Church for 10 years. In that time I have seen the Reverend Ramirez work tirelessly for the poor in Glen Cove. Our church is not the pretty little church that does nothing for the poor, that some Glen Cove residents seem to think it is. Each year the Reverend Ramirez leads programs for the poor in Glen Cove, supported and paid for by the Brookville Church. Why in Glen Cove? Because that's where the poor people are. If the poor Hispanic men were waiting in Glen Head or Sea Cliff, the Reverend would be there feeding them and standing up for them, but they're not. They're here. So, the good Reverend has rallied the financial and moral support of his church and helped where the help is needed most.
Where have the angry residents of Glen Cove been when the Brookville Church is distributing breakfast to the day workers at the shape-up area every day? Or, when we are distributing the thermal underwear, hats, gloves and woolen blankets we give them every year during the cold weather? And did the angry people of Glen Cove see the 50 thanksgiving baskets distributed by the Brookville Church to needy families this year and every year in Glen Cove? Did you see that the baskets were delivered to families at the Brookville Church so as not to embarrass them in front of their neighbors? And during the summer did the angry residents of Glen Cove know that the Brookville Church sponsors over 40 children so they may attend Camp Warwick upstate? Most, if not all of these children, come from Glen Cove. As well as paying for the trip, members of the Brookville Church transport these children in their private vehicles for the two-hour trip (one way) and bring them home as well.
To say that the Brookville Church should house the Glen Cove homeless on freezing nights is impractical. The homeless are in Glen Cove. For whatever reason, they are not in Brookville, Sea Cliff, Locust Valley or Glen Head. So, the caring people who wish to help are coming here.
The focus should not be on what others are not doing, the focus should be on what we are doing. Obviously, it is not enough or two men would not have frozen to death in our city.
The mayor in his statement said that the police now do nightly "sweeps" of the city when the temperature is below freezing and bring the homeless either to the homeless shelter in Hempstead or to the hospital in Glen Cove. If they are a danger to themselves or others they are taken to Nassau County Medical Center. Then what? How do they get back to the only place they know they can get work? Or does everyone in Glen Cove hope they stay in East Meadow and get out of our way?
I understand that Glen Cove has done things for the poor here and I also understand the anger people have that we seem to be the dumping ground for any and all needy people in the area.
So get up and do something! Maybe Mayor Suozzi should be working to cooperate more with the surrounding communities to solve this problem. He said in his statement that he met with religious leaders in Glen Cove. So what happened? Obviously, not enough or two men would not be dead and Reverend Ramirez would not have had to mount a demonstration to get the attention that this issue needs.
Some writers last week had the audacity to suggest that Reverend Ramirez was doing this for his own personal gain. Does standing up for an unpopular issue assure you personal gain? Did Jesus stand up for only the people He felt were popular? Of course not. The Reverend should be applauded for his courage.
Where, also, were the angry people in Glen Cove when the Reverend Ramirez contacted the families of the homeless men who died? Did you know that he helped arrange and raise money to pay for the transportation of the bodies back to their native lands?
In experiencing the demonstration on Thanksgiving Eve in front of city hall I was also struck by the anger and arrogance of the mayor. During the argument I had with him after the demonstration he told me he was angry at how he was being portrayed. He went on and on about his image and his feelings. He said nothing (aside from the statement he made before the press conference began) about working to resolve this problem. His arrogance and poor attitude have lost my vote. Everything he has done that is good for this city, and it has been considerable in some areas, falls away since I saw him yelling on the sidewalk outside city hall about himself and not the people he works for.
Is there any solution to this problem that will please everybody? Maybe not. But can we help the people who need it most a little bit more? I think so. If we can find volunteers to run the animal shelter and be so innovative as to privatize the operation to where it is as good as it is, we can find people to help house the homeless on the coldest nights of the year. We have La Fuerza Unida. We have countless religious institutions in Glen Cove. It's the holiday season-dig a little deeper Glen Cove! I dare the mayor to do something more about this. Show some substance where the humans of Glen Cove are concerned, Tom. I'm waiting and I know I'm not the only one.
Lisa M. Denison
Having witnessed Rev. Ramirez' farcical demonstration in Glen Cove last week, I must write to say that little theater is still alive and well on the North Shore of Long Island. While it's a nice change to see our local shamans do something other than pass the plate and spout platitudes (even if the extent of that effort seems to go little further than Rev. Ramirez demanding that someone else solve the problem-real or imaginary-he brings to the table) the event seems to have been more tilted towards self-serving publicity than problem solving.
The event had all the lovely, warm, fuzzy feelings of a '60s' sit-in on a small mid-western college campus...proving, if nothing else, that our flower children are not dead, they've merely gone to seed. There was a redeeming feature or two of the performance...the dog they brought along captivated passersby and the Whitting Brothers had a chance to show off this year's most stylish casket. (Forgive me for playing Martha Stewart, Scott, but that lining was a bit plain! Although the style apropos of the event is somewhat inappropriate for funerals-tie-dyed Grateful Dead T-shirts-maybe a little gingham would brighten it up!)
I hope that Rev. Ramirez returns to our little village soon...with new (and, hopefully, better) entertainment. Perhaps the good Reverend will walk on water for us...or, better yet, maybe he will part Long Island Sound and lead his flock to Connecticut.
While I appreciate that street theater is traditionally free, maybe we could sell tickets. The proceeds could go a long way to defraying the cost of operating the homeless shelter which Rev. Ramirez has already, undoubtedly, established in his own community.
Should this Brookville shelter be registered as a "for-prophet" organization? I'm confused.