May his spirit rest in peace.
A Brooklyn block was just renamed in honor of Yusuf Hawkins, 32 years after his death, Blavity reports.
In 1989, 16-year-old Yusuf Hawkins joined a friend to travel to nearby Bensonhurst to go look at a potential car his friend wanted to buy. When the two teens arrived, they were met by an angry mob of mostly white men who mistook them for a Black man accused of dating a white woman they knew. The mob, armed with guns and baseball bats surrounded the teenagers, eventually killing Hawkins in the process. The case sparked nationwide protests led by Rev. Al Sharpton and Minister Louis Farrakhan, eventually leading to the arrest of the gunman who has maintained his innocence even after conviction. 32-years later, Hawkins Brooklyn neighborhood is keeping his name and memory alive, renaming a block in his honor.
The renaming ceremony took place this week in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood Hawkins grew up in on what would have been his 48th birthday. The community came together to celebrate Hawkins and to watch the corner of Verona Place and Fulton Street officially become Yusuf Kirreim Hawkins Way.
Diane Hawkins, Yusuf’s mother, spoke about the honor, saying, “I’m so happy and grateful that this is happening today.”
There is also a mural on the same street corner remembering Hawkins. Last year, the HBO documentary about Hawkin’s murder, Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, ignited a new rallying cry for justice. Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr., who led the efforts to rename the block, said Hawkins was a “bright young man with limitless potential.
Darlene Brown, cousin of Hawkins, said the family is grateful that people are still keeping his name alive.
“From day one it’s been overwhelming for the family, but for the most part I just thank god that he will still live on when we’re not here because he leaves the Hawkins name on the map,” Brown said.
Photo Courtesy of Gothamist/Twitter/NY Daily News