Bay Ridge anti-hate activist wins hero award

January 31, 2020 Paula Katinas
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BAY RIDGE — A Bay Ridge activist whose rapid response to white nationalist posters springing up in her community galvanized Brooklyn residents into taking a stand against hate and racism was recognized for her work by Borough President Eric Adams.

Mallory McMahon, co-founder of the grassroots group Fight Back Bay Ridge, was named one of the Heroes of the Month by Adams at a Borough Hall ceremony on Jan. 28.

McMahon was a hero for December. McMahon — along with the leaders of 10 other groups — held an anti-hate rally at 86th Street and Third Avenue on Jan. 5 in response to the placement of a banner and posters from Patriot Front, a white nationalist group identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

The banner was discovered hanging on a pedestrian bridge over the Belt Parkway. The rally that Fight Back Bay Ridge helped to organize took place near the site where a Patriot Front poster was found. Protesters formed a human chain along Third Avenue.

The rally showed that Bay Ridge would not stand for hate in their community, according to the borough president’s office.

McMahon said she was honored to receive recognition. “I’m so glad to see Brooklyn and its politicians taking the threat of white nationalism seriously enough to feel my work to combat it is worthy of this award. I’m thrilled to stand here and accept this honor from the borough president on behalf of everyone who does anti-fascist and anti-hate work in our city,” McMahon said in a statement.

“It’s really exciting to be honored just for doing what feels right, and I hope others will be inspired by this story to do the same,” McMahon added.

Adams also gave a Hero of the Month Award for December to Jessica Chait, managing director of Food Programs at Met Council, who led a food drive and donated kosher food to the Jewish community in Jersey City after a kosher market was the scene of a shooting that killed four people. Chait and the Met Council’s volunteers amassed 10,000 pounds of kosher food to show support and solidarity with the Jewish community in Jersey City.

Adams also handed out hero awards for the months of November and October.

For November, Adams recognized Officer Michelle Schack, who was contacted on Nov. 15 by a family in Brooklyn who said their daughter was sending disturbing text messages and had taken her infant daughter out of daycare. The young mother said she planned to kill herself and her child. She also mentioned how easy it was to buy a gun in Pennsylvania, where her family had a home.

Photo by Erica Krodman/Brooklyn BP’s Office
Police officers were cited as Heroes of the Month by Borough President Eric Adams.

Schack used NYPD cell phones to track the vehicle, then found a gun store on Google that was close to the family’s home and contacted the owner. When a person matching the description of the distraught Brooklynite walked into the store, the owner called 911. Local police arrived and took the mom and baby to a hospital.

For October, Adams honored NYPD Officers Joseph Glorioso and Giovanni Cucuzza, whose quick action helped save a man’s life. Glorioso, Cucuzza and a third cop, Officer John Desiderio, of Brooklyn’s 61st Precinct were bowling on Staten Island when the man bowling next to them suffered a heart attack. While 911 was called, the officers ripped open the man’s shirt and used a defibrillator.

Glorioso and Cucuzza came to Borough Hall for the ceremony to pick up their award. Desiderio was unavailable that day, according to the borough president’s office.

“Our Heroes of the Month showcase the best our borough and our city has to offer,” Adams said.


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