September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46

MITCHELL SILVER
Mitchell Silver and Lynda Ricciardone,
Staten Island borough commissioner for
New York City Parks, participate in the
city's Hug A Tree campaign.
I felt, there would be consequences.
I didn't care anymore. And as
that scab was picked off, I felt the
decades and decades of racism that
I've experienced in my life.
I'm thankful, not for the incident
of what happened, but that there
was a national and international
awakening of all the decades and
generations of systemic racism.
And the trauma about what happened
affected me personally. As a
Black man and a leader of an organization,
I knew I had to lead by example,
and that started off a series
of things that I had done since then.
public space and feel alive. For children
[and older adults], you want to
make sure that parks are designed
from 8 to 80. So, whether you're 8
years or 80 years old, there's something
in there for you. And then...
in the age of diversity, equity and
inclusion, parks have to be inclusive
for all. And when someone's
in that space, I want them to say, " I
belong here. I feel welcome here. "
Having an inclusive parks system
is so important. And then, finally,
safety. For women and seniors, we
want to make sure we remove any
barriers in their sight lines in the
park design, so that they feel safe.
Those are some of the things that
I believe are part of a 21st century
parks system. [It's] a new design
approach that really addresses the
demographic changes in terms of
[DEI], so that everyone feels welcome
and safe in our public spaces.
P&R: It's been more than a year
since George Floyd's murder,
which led to a racial reckoning
in our nation. Tell us about your
46 Parks & Recreation | SEP T EMBER 2 0 2 1
experience on that tragic day,
especially when you first learned
the news.
Silver: Earlier that day, there was
another incident in Central Park,
the same day as George Floyd's
death. A birder [who is Black],
named Christian Cooper, was confronted
by a [white] woman [who
threatened to have him arrested].
He [took] video and that was going
viral. I was dealing with that issue
when the news broke about George
Floyd. When I saw the video, it really
broke me, and it changed me
forever. I think all of us felt enough
was enough. And for me personally,
being a Black man, it was a
point in my life when I realized
there was something I had to say
and do. About two days later, after
I had reflected on what happened, I
wrote a statement to my staff about
how I felt. People requested that it
go out to the public audience, [and]
we did share that.
I was tired of checking my Black
identity at the door because I always
felt that if I spoke up, or shared how
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
P&R: Did you and your park
and recreation staff discuss
the events and racial injustice?
What did you glean from those
conversations?
Silver: Everyone kept saying, " What
can we do? " I felt that was the
wrong question. The right question
was: How do you feel? To me, it was
more important to understand how
people were feeling. So, we decided
to create a safe space for our Black
employees. We moved on to other
groups later on, but we created what
we called " Reflections On, " [which]
was just a Zoom platform. You did
not have to show your video, and
we wanted to give people an opportunity
to tell us how they felt about
what was going on. Those conversations
were powerful.
Out of those conversations, the
staff wanted to show solidarity
with the Black Lives Matter movement.
This was June now [and]
Juneteenth was around the corner.
It wasn't celebrated much, but I felt
it was an opportunity to make a
very strong statement about sharing

September 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of September 2021 - Parks & Recreation

September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6a
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6b
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 52
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 53
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 57
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 58
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 59
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 60
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 61
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 62
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 63
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 64
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 65
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 66
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 67
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 68
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 69
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 70
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 71
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 72
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
September 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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