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Monday, Nov. 3, the Interfaith community met with Ousmane Drame, the father of the two Senegalese boys, Pape and Amadou Drame, attacked at school, and the African community at the Senegalese Association headquarters in Harlem after the incident that occurred over a week ago.

The interfaith community reaching out to the African community in the midst of Ebola and the discrimination that adults and children are receiving because of it was appreciated. Charles Cooper Jr., chairman of the African Advisory Council (AAC), expressed how great an opportunity it is for both communities to work together and learn from each other as they continue to work together.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to learn from you and you to learn from us,” said Cooper.

Recognizing the African community is a strong and vital community in New York was echoed again by Sen. Bill Perkins, an elected official who is actively involved with the African community on a regular basis and was front and center in aiding the Drame family after the attack on the two young boys.

“It’s to the benefit of the city, its of benefit to the state to be in support of the African community,” said Perkins.

The interfaith community largely of Jewish representatives also ranged from African American, Korean, and Pakistanian, and together they discussed how to work together to educate the communities because they’ve all received discrimination at one time or another.

“We are all in the same boat, we’re all minorities,” said Dame Sy, board member of the Senegalese Association.

“We need to know the history and we need the connectivity,” said Rabbi Bob Kaplan, director of Jewish Community Relations Council.

Understanding that incidents related to discrimination comes from a place of ignorance. Everyone in the meeting agreed that educating the children was the most important step to connecting the communities in a long lasting way.

“Any effort we do has to include the children, its the kids being victimized by other kids because they’re ignorant,”  said Bronx resident in attendance.

At the end of the meeting they agreed to meet again after Thanksgiving to discuss working together in a tangible way for all minority communities. The meeting was initially organized after Kaplan reached out to Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, a Bronx community leader, to meet Ousmane Drame, Pape Drame, and Charles Cooper Jr. after seeing the incident with two young boys in the news last week.

 

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