By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Despite what Clarke sees as an Owens orchestrated disinformation campaign against her in black immigrant communities in Brooklyn, her involvement in the crusade against police brutality and racial profiling that engulfed the city following the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo caught the attention of the slain man's family. Five days before the Democratic primary, Kadiatou Diallo, the victim's mother, sent this emotional letter to Clarke, which the Voice publishes in its entirety:
Dear Councilwoman Clarke:
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When my son, Amadou Diallo, was brutally murdered in the Bronx by the New York City police department, you were the only elected official from Brooklyn to intervene. It was comforting to know that you took the time out of your very busy schedule to visit the vestibule of Amadou's killing, gathering crucial information to hold the Police Department accountable.
Una, your actions went beyond the duties of an elected official. Your expeditious response underscores the fact that you shared my family's pain not only as a public servant, but as a mother and a friend. Although I will never recover from the grief and agony in losing a dear son, we believe justice will prevail. However, it saddens me to hear a colleague of yours tout his "One Police Plaza civil disobedience arrest" against you as a political springboard or trophy for higher office.
To your credit, you have been a source of encouragement and consolation, whether you accompanied us to the house of Justice, public forums, or Police Brutality demonstrations. Una, you were there. No one in their right mind can mar your superb public record against Police Brutality and Racial Profiling in the New York City Council, or on the street. And I will not stand by and allow it to happen now.
Your Leadership has given me strength, especially since we both share a commonalitysisters of other world nations. As a friend in government, my entire family feels confident that you will not allow this city to rest until we receive total justice for Amadou. In solidarity, I wish you continued success and urge you not to stop because victory is near.
Clarke says that the letter was a motivating factor in her decision to explore a run on the Liberal Party line, and should put to rest questions about her commitment to grassroots causes. And for the 'RAT who shouted at a Clarke supporter that Clarke is an "old bitch" who should "run to the nearest nursing home," Clarke points to 71-year-old Regina Seltzer, a former librarian who is locked in a dead heat with Long Island representative Michael Forbes, a three-term incumbent who abandoned the Republican Party and became a Democrat last year. "So they can forget it, honey," Clarke chuckles. "My mother is 101. I still have a lot of kick in me. I am fully awake. No one takes pictures of me sleeping."
Additional reporting by Amanda Ward