New Ways to Heal Old Wounds in Crown Heights

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Crown Heights

Jewish and African-American community leaders gather at a press conference on January 8, 2002 in New York City's Crown Heights. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nearly 17 years ago, riots and recriminations engulfed the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

The neighborhood is a mix of Caribbean-Americans, black Americans born in the States, and Orthodox Jews.

In August of 1991, a rabbi's motorcade hit a seven-year-old Guyanese boy, named Gavin Cato.

He later died from his injuries.

Some neighbors believed that a Jewish ambulance crew that arrived slightly before the city ambulance should have taken Cato to the hospital.

Within hours of the boy's death, a mob of young black men killed Yankel Rosenbaum, a young orthodox Jewish divinity student.

Stores were looted or burned; and dozens of people were injured in the subsequent days.

Flash forward to the present: In the last few weeks, a series of new incidents — though smaller — have put Crown Heights on a slow boil.

Can members of the black and Jewish communities ease the tensions?

For insight and solutions, Farai Chideya speaks with Richard Green — founder of the Crown Heights Youth Collective — and Yossi Stern, leader of the Shmira, an Orthodox Jewish street patrol.

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