On Friday (March 19), a Brooklyn street was renamed for Yusuf Hawkins more than 30 years after he was targeted and killed during a racially motivated attack.
According to CBS2, the ceremony surrounding the name change took place at the corner of Verona Place and Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant and fell on what would’ve been Hawkins’ 48th birthday.
On August 23, 1989, a group of white teenagers attacked Hawkins, who was 16 at the time of the horrid crime.
At the time, police said it was a racially-motivated attack and that the group believed Hawkins was dating a girl in the neighborhood. He wasn’t.
He was actually there to see a used car he wanted to buy with friends.
“You may see me crying, but these are tears of joy to see my son’s name up there,” said Diane Hawkins, according to CBS2.
“Anybody that walks down Fulton Avenue and Verona Place/Yusuf Kirriem Hawkins Way now, hey, take a look, turn to the mural, and look up in the sky because he’s looking down on all of us,” said Yusuf’s brother Amir Hawkins.
For Hawkins’ family, the pain is still very real after 32 years.
“This has got to stop. I hope it stops soon,” Diane Hawkins said. “Everybody needs to love one another and bring peace.”
“We can spend time on this Earth hating each other and the question is, for what? Because once we die, we’re gone,” Amir Hawkins added. “And I refuse to spend the rest of whatever time I have here on Earth hating someone for no reason.”
The family said the new street sign will hopefully remind people of past racial strife and the progress that still needs to be made.