Despite a defeat in the City Council, East New York City Councilman Charles Barron led a small group of activists in the renaming of Gates Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant to Sonny Abubadika Carson Ave. on Saturday, June 16.
Met with little resistance from the police, who watched from inside paddy wagons, Barron and members of the December 12th Movement placed official-looking stickers with Carson’s name over the smaller Gates’ signs where the street intersects with Nostrand Ave. “We chose to go the right route; we were going to do it this way originally. So when the City Council said no, we said we have a right to self-determination as a people so we are
going to put up the sign anyway,” says Barron.
The councilman says, “If they take it down, Sonny Abubadika Carson is in the
minds and in the hearts of our people, it’s not in the sign. So every time
they take it down we are going to put it back up.”
Repeated calls to the head of the City Council, Christine Quinn, were not
returned. A month ago, the councilwoman was in the center of the firestorm
that ensued after she urged the council to reject the name change, suggesting that Carson was a divisive racist. Barron argues that the only one who is being divisive is Quinn. “She has been more divisive than Sonny Carson had ever been in his life. She divided the City Council down the
line; 24 whites said no and 15 people of color voting yes. The council has
never been this divisive in its history.”