[Emily and Logan]
East Village resident Emily Rems shares a letter that she sent to her building's management company after her partner was a victim of racial profiling and harassment in the lobby this past Friday.
To the Managers of 230 E. 14th St., NYC,
My name is Emily Rems and I have lived in your building for 17 years. For the last 15 of those years, I have been living here with my partner Logan. I am white and Logan is Black. And unfortunately, over the years this has meant that we have not always been treated equally as residents of your building.
The latest example of this disparity happened last night, ironically on the evening of June 19th (aka Juneteenth). Logan was coming home in the evening after running some errands, and he found himself entering the building behind a young white man with a mustache who is unknown to us, and a young white woman who was with him.
The man with the mustache stopped Logan before he could climb the stairs and demanded to know if he lived here, stating that he was asking “because a lot of stuff is getting stolen here.” Further aggression and hostility followed when Logan refused to engage.
Please understand, we are well aware that mail theft is a huge issue in our building. Logan and I have both had our packages stolen from the lobby of this building and we understand how frustrating that can be. It is my understanding that this is the reason security cameras have recently been installed near our mailboxes. But for a white tenant to corner one of the only long-term Black tenants still living in this building and demand some kind of proof of residence is to create a hostile and racist community environment. It is harassment, plain and simple, and I think management should address it in a letter to everyone who lives here.
When it came to management’s attention last year that new residents were renting out their apartments as illegal Air B&Bs, cease and desist warnings were sent to everyone living here multiple times, and signage went up in the lobby in two places letting everyone know this behavior was unacceptable. I think what happened to Logan warrants the same type of action.
I am confident that you will be sensitive to this situation. Let your residents know what actions you are taking to safeguard our property. Let us all know how you would like us to contact you in the event that our property is stolen and we need someone to check the security camera footage on our behalf. But most importantly, please remind everyone living here that you will not tolerate any harassment among tenants.
I look forward to hearing back from you about your plans to address this issue and thank you in advance for hearing me out. I believe that if this were happening to a member of your family, you would feel equally outraged and would want to speak up on their behalf. And we know this is not the type of environment you want in your building.
Managing Editor of BUST Magazine &
Long-Time Tenant of 230 E. 14th St.
There has not been a response yet from the management company.