Co-name 6th Ave and W 8th in honor of Mark Carson, hate crime victim in Greenwich Village

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I'm Tre D'Ambrocia; I'm a former resident of the East Village, and an active member of the Greenwich Village queer community. Five years ago, while walking home from an evening out with coworkers, I dropped my coworker off at the West 4th station, put my headphones in and stopped in front of the Barnes and Noble to tie my shoe. When I turned the corner on 8th, I saw a man in a white, diamond-emblazoned hoodie lying facedown in the street in a pool of blood. An unmarked car pulled up and an officer, with his gun drawn, was rushing towards me. I quickly walked home to my Saint Marks apartment and tried to piece together what I had just seen. The next day I read in the paper that that man was Mark Carson, a gay man out with his friends. He had been walking down 6th avenue and was being repeatedly harassed, and when he stood up for himself and his friends when he was shot point blank in the face.

As a gay man and a New Yorker, that evening woke me up. I felt scared in a place that I had come to as a teenager because of the history of gay liberation and suddenly felt the reality of the struggle still exists even here. Mark and his friends were going out in a neighborhood that so many of us do every night, to celebrate the freedoms that are rare in other parts of this country and even, at times, in the city.

Since the day after that night that I passed by Mark's body, I have wanted to do something for his memory. Mark Carson was a hero: he stood up to bigotry and lost his life in the process, and if it wasn't for luck, I would have walked into the middle of that situation; it could have been me, but it wasn't. I'm ashamed that it has taken me five years to reach out to the community board, but I feel that I (and so many of us) owe Mark so much. He stood up for himself and his friends and in that stood up for all of us. I want his memory to live on, and I have reached out to the Community Board No. 2 in Manhattan that serves Greenwich Village to propose to the board that the southeast corner of 6th avenue and 8th Street be named in Mark Carson's honor.

I received a response from the community board asking me to review the application guidelines for co-naming a street. They are as follows:

1. The person or entity proposed for the co-naming must have contributed in some extraordinary way to the welfare of the block and/or the community with a consistent voluntary commitment and dedication to improving community conditions (e.g., land use, social services, housing, preservation, public safety, civil liberties, transportation, streetscape, environment).
2. The person or entity must have had a longstanding direct presence and relationship with the community (preferably at least 10 years of community involvement) in the vicinity of the proposed co-naming and a special significance for the block.
3. The proposed entity must be a non-profit organization.
4.. The proposed co-naming must have the support of a substantial number of residents as well as businesses on the block that’s under consideration and significant support from the immediate surrounding community.
5. The person proposed for the co-naming must have been deceased more than five years prior to the initiation of the co-naming.
6. A community group or member of the community must initiate the co-naming process.
7. Objections by family members to the co-naming must be considered.
8. A street co-naming application form must be submitted, accompanied by a petition of community support including signatures, information on the person or entity and co-naming rationale (See Street Co-Naming Request Application and Street Co-Naming Request Instructions).

I know that this may be a long road ahead, but in the struggle of LGBTQ freedom, Mark is one of many who have given their life simply standing up for who they are. His action that evening was a defense for the preservation of our civil liberties as queer people. The least that we can do for him and his memory is to not let him be another headline that is forgotten. He is a hero. He was a warrior in the struggle for all of our rights, and deserves to be recognized in the neighborhood we've called our own since the dawn of the LGBTQ movement.

I would really appreciate any response, and any help in making this a reality.

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