Brooklyn Street Corner Renamed In Memory Of Yusuf Hawkins, Victim Of Racially Motivated Mob Attack

A street corner in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, has been renamed in memory of Yusuf Hawkins, a Black teenager killed more than 30 years ago in a racially motivated mob attack; CBS2's Kevin Rincon reports.

Video Transcript

- A street corner in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn has been renamed in memory of Yusuf Hawkins. He was the black teenager killed more than 30 years ago in a racially motivated mob attack. CBS 2's Kevin Rincon has the story today.

KEVIN RINCON: On August 23, 1989, Yusuf Hawkins was shot and killed in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He was attacked by a group of white teenagers. Police say it was racially motivated. They thought Hawkins was dating a girl in the neighborhood. Instead, he was there to see a used car he wanted to buy with friends. Nearly 32 years later on what would have been Yusuf Hawkins 48th birthday, this street in Bed-Stuy was co-named in his honor.

DIANE HAWKINS: You may be seeing me crying, but these are tears of joy to see my son's name up there.

KEVIN RINCON: His mother Diane was flanked by family for the unveiling.


AMIR HAWKINS: You know, anybody that walks down Fulton Avenue and Verona Place, slash Yusuf Kirriem Hawkins now-- hey, take a look. Turn to the mural. Hey, you know, and look up in the sky because he's looking down on all of us.

KEVIN RINCON: His brother's death sparked a movement filled with calls for justice, equality. Demonstrations that mirror a lot of what we see today. The attack on Yusuf was the subject of an HBO documentary directed by Muta'Ali.

- The moral arc bends towards justice, as they say, but it bends a little slowly. And there's another arc that bends towards injustice. And we need to push together to make sure we head toward justice as quickly as possible.

KEVIN RINCON: For this family, the pain is still real and they understand the need for change.

DIANE HAWKINS: This has got to stop. I hope it stops soon. Everybody need to love one another and bring peace.

AMIR HAWKINS: We can spend time on this earth hating each other. And the question is, for what? Because once we die, we're gone. And I refuse to spend the rest of whatever time I have here on Earth hating someone for no reason.

KEVIN RINCON: And the family says it's their hope this street sign, along with the mural nearby, can offer folks a reminder of where we've been and a reminder of where we need to go. In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Kevin Rincon, CBS 2 News.