Pol should speak to locals before making accusations

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An open letter to City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens):

I was disappointed in your assessment of the Bellerose community at large. We have gone out of our way to welcome the many cultures that have recently come into our area. We ask everyone to come to our meetings and express their views and desires — with little results.

Our association is open to all cultures. Our executive board and administration have openings that need to be filled. We plead in every newsletter, which is delivered to every household regardless if they are dues payers or not. You have been at our meetings and have witnessed the sparse attendance while we have gone out of our way to provide interesting and informative guests for their pleasure and enlightenment.

What else can we do to encourage participation in our community?

We recently had a situation with the Indian community, which you are aware of, that branded us as racist. A poor choice of words! Is it racist to try to protect the fabric of our community where we have chosen to live, raise our families and possibly spend whatever the time the Lord gives us in? I think not.

As a civic person who has spent more that 40 years in the struggle, I am disappointed in your inflammatory letter in a community publication (“Show tolerance for South Asians in Queens,” TimesLedger Newspapers, July 21-27). You know us better than that. Have we ever displayed unwarranted accusations against any cultures different from ours?

There are times where, in the heat of a confrontation, things are said that are cruel and intolerable. The accusation concerning military service was one. That in no way should brand an entire community as racist!

If you think we are unfair, then instead of writing a condemnation in a local periodical, call us together before you do so. That way, you may share your views and we can respond with ours. This will result in a better understanding for all concerned. Your public comments can only fan the flames of misconceptions and discontent.

Bernard Aquilino

President Emeritus

Rocky Hill Civic Association

Bellerose Manor

Updated 11:09 am, October 12, 2011
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