CB3 Committee Green Lights ‘Danny Chen Way’ for Chinatown

Posted on: June 12th, 2013 at 5:22 am by
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Call it some form of street justice. Private Danny Chen is one step closer to having a slice of Elizabeth Street named for him.

Last night, the transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 unanimously approved the co-naming of Elizabeth between Canal and Bayard. The room was chock full of neighbors, peers, press, their gear, and the constant sound of camera shutters. As a rule, the advisory board requires 75% of residents in the designated area to sign in approval. Well over 80% on the little block inked their support. Furthermore, 1,585 signatures were reportedly collected from around the Five Boroughs. The positive vote was a complete no-brainer.

Private Chen’s mother delivered her heartfelt comments while choking back the tears. “I want my son’s name on Elizabeth Street so bad,” she said. “It’s a reminder of what happened to him.” A smattering of other advocate organizations and students spoke in succession, all with the same reasoning for the co-naming. That Chen was a native son of Chinatown, and deserved to be immortalized in a way that serves as a reminder of the community’s fight for justice, and the urgent need to prevent similar senseless deaths.

Chen shot himself while serving in Afghanistan in October 2011 after being harassed by fellow soldiers, eight of whom were charged. The incident became a rallying point for the local Chinatown community, whose tireless efforts led to legislation requiring the military to address hazing in its ranks.

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The full CB3 is expected to rubber stamp the subcommittee’s decision; then it’s off to City Council and the Mayor for ultimate approval.

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