By an attendee
Who is a true leader? Leadership is a task that is not easily embraced or perceived as desired. Today we find a handful of those willing to risk it all for the ideals we feel deeply about. The success of the past is based on the will and devotion that exist in the present, and encouraging change will help us as a society to become more tolerable and a just place for humanity.
Thursday night the community held a first ever debate between two men vying to become the next state senator of the 20th district.
The moderators Tim Thomas and Milford Prewitt worked very hard in asking questions to candidates Jesse Hamilton and Rubain Dorancy that pertained to the various communities that make up the 20th senatorial district.
Unfortunately both men kind of bounced around many of the questions, or avoided giving a direct answer.
One question is particular that the moderators tried to get a yes or no answer from the candidates, was would they support senate bill 4099. This bill was introduced last year in the senate, and if passed would provide those parents who send their child to a Yeshiva or any private school with a tax credit.
Both candidates answered they would review the bill, and ensure that it does provide the necessary resources for parents who opt out of sending their kids to a public school. What is interesting is that both Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Dorancy send their kids to private schools.
There were times during the debate where each of the candidates seemed to have a stronger and more realistic approach to the question asked.
For example, when asked what they would do to help improve the lives of young black kids who have no future, and instead lead a life of crime. Mr. Dorancy made a very strong case that both parents, teachers and the black community as a whole must come together to help ensure that these kids get the push they need to succeed. Instead of blaming society, he pressed that the black community must take control of the future of its people instead of blaming others for the current statuesque.
When asked how they would work to prevent another Ferguson from breaking out here in Brooklyn, Mr. Hamilton made a strong case. Mr. Hamilton said that instead of waiting for something to happen, the community should and must ensure a good working relationship with the NYPD is in place, this way any situation can be addressed before it becomes a powder keg.
On the issue of whether they support charter school vs public schools, both candidates agreed to expand the opportunity to charter schools.
However, Mr. Dorancy focused on reviewing which schools should not be awarded co-location because they have the financial means to pay rent, and which of these schools should be exempt. Mr. Dorancy also focused on opening up charter schools to all kids of the community, and not only those deemed to be the best. Because in the current climate you are creating a system where some kids will succeed while others will not.
Mr. Hamilton expressed that he is against co-location within the public system, for in many instances you have middle school children sharing a facility with high school kids, and Mr. Hamilton believed that this wasn’t a good idea.
Finally, when asked how they would respond to the recent attacks on members of the Crown Heights Jewish community, both men expressed a strong condemnation of such attacks.
Mr. Hamilton told the crowd that when the “knockout” attacks started last year, it was he who reached out to members of the Jewish community to stand with them, and push the NYPD and others to stop these attacks. Mr. Hamilton also said that he has been working with the Jewish community for the last 20 years, and plans on continuing to do so if he is elected state senator.
Mr. Dorancy said that being a first generation Haitian American he has experienced himself how bigotry and hate have become unfortunately a part of life, and that he will work with not only members of the Jewish community, but with members of all communities to ensure that we all fill safe and secure in the communities we live in. Mr. Dorancy said that no one should live in fear of being attacked because of their race, religion or creed.
So in conclusion, the debate was informative and highlighted the differences between Mr. Dorancy and Mr. Hamilton. There was a nice turn out; however, one thing that was noticeably absent was the lack of representation from members of the Jewish community.
Both candidates were asking as to why members of the Jewish community would not come out to debate that was being held in their community? And the organizers of the debate had nothing to answer.