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Amy Cooper’s 911 Call, and What’s Happened Since

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Credit…Christian Cooper

A Black man asked a white woman to leash her dog in Central Park, as rules required. She refused. Then she called the police to say she was being threatened.

After the episode, Christian Cooper, an avid bird watcher, gave an interview to my colleague Sarah Maslin Nir. He told Ms. Nir that he was in the Ramble, a semi-wild section of Central Park, when he revert Ms. Cooper, who is unrelated to him, loudly calling after her dog.

After he ask for her to leash the cocker spaniel, the two exchanged words. While he filmed on his phone, Ms. Cooper called the police.

“There is a man, African-American, he has a bicycle helmet and he is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” the clip shows Ms. Cooper saying to the 911 operator.

Within hours of the video becoming public, countless celebrities, activists and city and state officials had weighed in. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the episode “racism, plain and simple.”

Last month, state lawmakers approved legislation that allows people “a private right of action” if they believe someone called the police on them because of their race, gender, nationality or other protected class.

Ms. Cooper was charged on Monday with filing a false report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 14. If convicted, she could receive a conditional discharge or be sentenced to community service or counseling rather than jail time.

My colleague Jan Ransom wrote that the pending charge appears to be among the first that a white person in the United States has faced for wrongfully calling the authorities to make a complaint about a Black person.

There is no official count of New York children who have lost a parent or caregiver to Covid-19. But those who have are facing hardships beyond grief. [The City]


The Times’s Sandra E. Garcia writes:

The faces of the women in her portraits are often partly covered by a mask tied behind their heads, tugging at braids, low buns or tufts of curls. They are dressed in uniforms that show their essential jobs, but their style and charisma shine through their everyday armor.

They are Black women who work in jobs that the coronavirus pandemic quickly revealed as essential to the functioning of New York City. And the images were all drawn by Aya Brown, 24, a Brooklyn artist. The drawings comprise Ms. Brown’s intimate Essential Workers series. It’s not just the women’s jobs that are depicted through the lines and colors, but also their panache.

“My goal is to uplift Black women who look like me and inspire me — to give them a space to be seen and to bring awareness to them,” Ms. Brown said.

[Read more about Aya Brown.]

Women have been the heroes of the pandemic: One in three of the jobs held by women is essential, according to a Times analysis. And most of the women who have essential jobs are women of color.

Ms. Brown started her series in April after a trip to the emergency room. She watched as her nurse, a Black, West Indian woman, took care of her while her doctor stopped by intermittently, and she began to think more about the other Black women going unnoticed “on the front lines.”

Some subjects of the portraits said they had never considered themselves essential workers before, a mind-set Ms. Brown aims to change by putting Black women at the center of her artwork. Even the materials she uses are intentional: She draws on brown paper, she said, because “Black bodies do not need to start from white.”

Chaédria LaBouvier, who curated a show at the Guggenheim Museum, said the series was not about being left out of the white, heterosexual, patriarchal art world, but about the Black working class saying, “I am already the center, and there is a lot of beauty here.”

It’s Wednesday — recognize your beauty.


Dear Diary:

As I walked across 11th Street to visit friends in the Village, the Larchmont Hotel caught my eye. An S.R.O. 50 years ago, it had been refurbished as a boutique hotel.

I had rented a room there while I was in graduate school. Living just opposite the elevator, I heard clanks at all hours. Feet shuffled. High heels clacked. Doors closed.

Two toilets and one shower served seven occupants on each floor. Five rooms opened off the corridor, with a more spacious room at each end. I coveted the larger room with tall windows overlooking the street.

In my room, a twin bed took up one wall; a sink hung on another. Most nights I cooked a little meal on a two-burner hot plate.

Days come clearest now. Grilled cheese sandwiches at the Joe Jr. Diner, occasional tea with a classmate. Each morning I walked to the New School library, where a flow of students returned to the same seats.

Fifty years later, my home now feels huge. Maybe it’s expanded since my husband, Jerry, died. Through the window, I glimpse the Taconic Range. Geese traverse the sky. Yet the hotel resides within me: radio, hot plate, stacked textbooks.

Morning stillness links my ranch house and the Larchmont, a silence heightened by refrigerator rumblings, furnace clicks, a snowplow passing.

I’ve been alone before.

— Cecele Kraus


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