Ceremony commemorates the Howard Beach horror

Caribbean Life columnist and reporter Vinette K. Price was honored for her continued commitment to coverage of stories addressing the concerns of various communities and in particular her coverage of the ‘Howard Beach Incident’ of December 1986 which shocked New York when Michael Griffith, a Black teen was struck and killed by a passing car as he ran onto the Belt Parkway to escape a group of white teens who were chasing him, following a verbal exchange in Howard Beach, Queens.

Three African-American men: Griffith, Cedric Sandiford and Timothy Grimes entered a Howard Beach pizzeria after their car had broken down in the neighborhood. A teen driver in a passing car yelled racial slurs at the victims, leading to a verbal dispute. A short while later, a large group of teens returned and chased the victims.

Grimes escaped while Sandiford was caught and brutally assaulted.

Three of the attackers were convicted of manslaughter and received lengthy prison sentences.

The Griffith-Sandiford Family Assistance Fund, founded as a result of the incident, commemorated the 25th anniversary with a memorial service and award ceremony at Our Lady of Charity Church at 1669 Dean St. in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

At the event, hosted by activist and award-winning author and journalist Herb Boyd, with the keynote address by Nina Krauss, the jury fore-person during the Howard Beach trial, Vinette was one of four special individuals honored for their work and spirit of community.

The Governmental Award was presented to former N.Y. Gov. David Paterson for his moral support to the victims’ families and his passing of a bias crime bill which increases the prison terms defendants could face if it is determined that they chose the victim based on prejudice.

The Legal Award was presented to Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes for his loyalty and commitment to the issues of race and diversity, and protecting the rights of hate crime victims, while prosecuting hate crime defendants to the fullest extent of the law.

Ms. Pryce received the Journalism Award for her committed coverage of the Howard Beach incident, and continued reporting of stories addressing the concerns of various communities.

State Assemblywoman Annette Robinson received the Community Award for her leadership on civil rights, senior services, health, education, employment and economic development.

“The Griffith-Sandiford Family Assistance Fund acknowledges many changes in our world over the last 25 years but hate, race bias-and gender related crimes continue to plague our society and we have to do all that we can to change this,” says Christopher Griffith, brother of Michael Griffith.

The Griffith-Sandiford Family Assistance Fund provides support and counseling to families and individuals who are hate crime victims and/or also face challenges related to the HIV/AIDS virus.

Christopher Griffith at 718-568-7999

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