An Open Letter from Village of Ossining Mayor Rika Levin

Mayor RIka Levin

I write to you to share some troubling information. On the weekend of August 16, I received a call from a concerned citizen that there was graffiti, which included a swastika, on a slide at Nelson Park playground; this discovery was made when a group of community members were cleaning the area as part of Stash the Trash. I contacted the chief of police, who immediately sent officers to investigate, and I personally went to look at the slide and the graffiti. After taking the appropriate evidence and pictures, the police removed the graffiti.

As many of us know, there is nothing humorous or insignificant about a swastika. The equilateral cross was the official emblem of the Nazi Party. It is recognized worldwide as a symbol of oppression, hatred, and the sadistic death of millions of people. I myself am the child of two Holocaust survivors, and this symbol hits me deeply in the most personal way. Regardless of when it was drawn, it was discovered by a group of people in our village, only a few weeks ahead of the most sacred of Jewish holidays. This type of graffiti is an embarrassment to our village and wounds people of all faiths, and the fact that it was drawn in a children’s playground makes it even more despicable.

The board and I recognize that for all of us who seek a world where people live a respected and respectful life, there is a delicate balance between trying not to overreact while ensuring such acts are not overlooked or treated lightly. As I write this message, Ossining police had no suspects. Still, they are pursuing all leads and encourage community members to contact them if they know of anyone who has posted graffiti at Nelson Park playground. I have chosen not to post a picture of the graffiti so as to not give publicity or platform to this vile act and its creator. There is no place for hate in Ossining.

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