Activists demand Bed-Stuy studio close over racist Halloween display

Advocates rallied to demand nonprofit ceramics studio Artshake close over a racist Halloween display.
Brooklyn Paper
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Residents rallied on Saturday to demand the closure of a Bedford-Stuyvesant ceramics studio after the nonprofit’s co-director placed Halloween decorations that looked like black children hanging from nooses in her home last week.

The co-director, Dany Rose, has since quit her position with Artshack Brooklyn amid the public uproar, but the public outcry continues.

“All I know is they have got to go,” said Reverend Kirsten John Foy, found of the Arc of Justice, to a crowd of about 50 protesters outside of Artshack at 1131 Bedford Ave..

Rose first received pushback for her decorations on Oct. 23, when a Facebook post of the brown paper dolls hanging from white string went viral. Rose removed the decorations, which were inspired by the horror movie “Annabelle,” after receiving concerned phone calls from parents of students from nearby PS 11.

“I grabbed my chest, I couldn’t believe it,” said Bed-Stuy resident Marilyn Burns, when her granddaughter showed her images of the decorations online.

The protest took place a day after Rose sent a short letter of resignation to the studio’s board of directors.

But to Foy, Artshack appeared more concerned about Rose’s well-being, rather than the community, in allowing her to resign rather than not immediately firing her. Foy insisted that Artshack do more to demonstrate that the action was not in line with its belief system.

“[Rose] is the tip of the iceberg, now we are dealing with the other 90 percent of the iceberg that we can’t see because it’s submerged,” said Foy.

The protesters said the fight was far from over, and that there would be a further call for action in the weeks ahead. The Arc of Justice announced on its Instagram account that it would launch a boycott of Artshack at all of its locations, as well as an educational program.

Founding Director of Artshack Brooklyn, McKendree Key, said in a statement on Artshack’s website that the organization will “address the systemic racism that inherently pervades white-owned businesses in historically black neighborho­ods.”

“Since the moment we found out about the racist Halloween decorations, I, and dedicated board members, advisors and staff have been working around the clock to move forward with a plan for restorative justice,” Key wrote, adding that the nonprofit is working with community development organization called The Human Root.

“I believe in this work and I am humbled and heartened by the opportunity to better serve Bed-Stuy,” Key added.

Reach Editor In Chief Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, October 29, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Rose from Park Slope says:
I think we can all agree that pottery and cermaics are, at their heart, always racist. The idea of putting supple (brown!!) clay into an oven for firing just makes my blood boil (pardon the pun!). It's both institutional as well as systematic - and we will not rest until it is protested out of "our" community.
Oct. 29, 2019, 5:27 am
Jamel Burke from Bedford Stuyvesant says:
This is ridiculous, the artshack people got rid of the woman, what more do they want? She did something very stupid but nobody in their right mind could think it was intentional that she would show blacks being lynched, certainly not in Brooklyn in 2019. These people want to destroy businesses and lives instead of opening up dialogue. I walked by this place a few days ago and one of the ceramic workers, wearing an apron, was outside talking to a woman, most likely about this ordeal. He happened to be Black, and he will be out of work soon. What a shame. Furthermore, for the owners to make this about systemic problems with White businesses is a total deflection on the actions of this one woman, Mrs. Rose. Don’t try to blame all White people for the stupidity of one person. This woman needs to accept the responsibility for her mindless actions. No one else needs to be blamed for this. Ironic though how these liberal SJW leftists always wind up getting in messes like this. Looks like the only ‘white supremacy’ these days comes mainly from the liberal Left. Hillary Clinton has proven that over and over again but with zero repercussions. Wake up people!
Oct. 29, 2019, 7:27 am
Freesia from Park Slope says:
This targeting of a female-owned business’ female boss by a Christian Church just reeks of misogyny! When will the church end its war on woman? As a feminist, I am appalled.
Oct. 29, 2019, 7:41 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I don't think other people should lose their jobs because of what some dumbasse did in their windows at home. She was right to resign and as a founder/board member I don't think there was anyone in the organization would could just sit down and to a Trump-style "you're fired" thing. Probably would have needed committee meetings and a vote or something inane like that. But if you're just the part-timer who sweeps up and stuff, you shouldn't lose your job by having the place close forever. There are better ways to do an Annabelle theme too. God this lady is an idiot to say the least.
Oct. 29, 2019, 10:04 am
Malcolm from X Blvd says:
Kirsten John Foy must be a reverend from the church of satan or it’s just trying to pull some kind of tax scam by calling itself a ‘reverend’. The woman quit in order to spare the people who work there any harm and also it’s loyal customers. The business should not be ‘shut down’ because of one idiot’s mistake. Yes it was a mistake. This ‘reverend’ is sickening and is a good example of a racist with a major chip on it’s shoulder. This seems to happen quite often when people like this take things to extremes and demand that businesses suffer because of stupid mistakes. I remember when they forced the closure of the Strand cafe on Nostrand Ave. when a black kid was denied Halloween candy prior to a white kid receiving some. Turns out the employee was an immigrant who did not know the traditions here. The violent protesters demanded the white business be shut down and screamed about gentrification and other anti-white matters. Turns out the owners were Muslims from South Asia. They even said they were ‘brown people’ too but it didn’t stop the racist protesters from going ballistic over ‘white gentrification’. These people are sick in the head.
Oct. 29, 2019, 5:06 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
Let's just make life as non-offensve,as possible. Why don't all the Whites,who came to Bedford-Stuyvesant during the past 20-years or so,just to back to where the came from? Places,such as Syosset,or Hohokus? Bedford-Stuy.,would revert to their good-old pre-gentrified days. And some nostalgic malcontents,will live happily,ever after? Problem solved.
Oct. 29, 2019, 6:53 pm
Phineas from Fort Grenne says:
Can someone from Human Root, the group hired by Art Shack to help in this horrible, shameful, sad time for the neighborhood, explain what they mean by having Art Shack's statement state that goal to “address the systemic racism that inherently pervades white-owned businesses in historically black neighborho­ods.” Because I have no idea what they are talking about. Should white business owners simply NOT operate businesses in the area, or should they choose businesses different than restaurants, coffee shops, art studios, boutiques and florists?
Oct. 29, 2019, 9:27 pm
Mrs CeeMae from Park Slope says:
That female is Insensitive and dangerous, suppressive and narcissistic. She Wanted a broken window! A broken window must have been in the plan!!! What do Russians or Jews fight about? Correct; their history and right to well-deserved futures. I respectfully would want Dary Rose and ARTSHACK to drown in their own tears. They are RICH and have RICH friends. Go, go away.
Oct. 30, 2019, 12:30 am
Mrs CeeMae from Park Slope says:
That deliverable is Not valued in the Bed-Stuy or Crown Heights community. A hidden threat. Wrong thinking.
Oct. 30, 2019, 12:32 am
T from BATH BEACH says:
So much for the detente of interloping white gentrification and the old guard African Americans who were never comfortable with the BED STUY area changing. Why anyone would think in 2019 that someone would put dark clay figures of a lynching in a window in a still largely black area is overly sensitive and thought process does not make sense. The lady resigned and the business prostrated itself with a silly statement about systemic white business racism which goes beyond the pale. Time for everyone to let this go.
Oct. 30, 2019, 5:18 pm
Fred from Windsor says:
Foy’s organization is ironically named “Arc of Justice.” Foy is out to destroy an innocent organization and, in the process, exhibiting her own racism.
Oct. 30, 2019, 8:09 pm

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