As I said a few weeks ago, I was waiting to post more
info re stopping the Bronx International Championship Rodeo, till I knew who
to thank. Turns out the US Tennis Assn (USTA), who was responsible for
bringing it in, ultimately cancelled. I don't feel to thank them, as they
lied repeatedly to us, and they were thanked every time they lied.
HOW WE DID IT: Perserverance...following the
It was originally advertised as the "GHI/Junior Tennis
League Rodeo." GHI initially told us they never wanted to be part of a
rodeo, but were told they had to accept it as part of a 'Tennis Classic'
event in the Bronx. Calls to the USTA told us they had nothing to do with
it, that the Junior Tennis League was COMPLETELY SEPARATE from them.
I repeatedly told them I KNEW that there DEFINITELY was
a connection (I knew there had to be, though I had nothing in writing).
Brief outreach to the Junior TL got us a vile, nasty man who was clearly
profiting; communication was terminated immediately (Anyway, why not go to
the top?) We asked another group to hold up signs at the US Open, which
unfortunately wasn't done. Contact info for the USTA was put on the AR
internet. Two activists stood outside USTA Headquarters with signs saying
TENNIS ASSN TORTURES ANIMALS.
Meanwhile, glowing articles about this rodeo appeared
in the NY Daily News and the NY Times - sickening. Requests for rebuttal or
equal time were ignored.
We maintained phone contact with the USTA and GHI; GHI
told us they wanted out. In the winter I received a phone call from the USTA:
since GHI wanted out, they were pulling out as well!
The rodeo came back to the Bronx, retitled "The Bronx
International Championship Rodeo." We called the ticket contact phone number
- lo and behold, we got the Junior Tennis League! So the two activists went
back to the USTA Headquarters with signs and literature that said TENNIS
ASSOCIATION LIARS. The Journal News ran an article entitled ACTIVISTS MAY BE
TARGETING WRONG GROUP (we weren't). Quoted both GHI and the USTA as
wanting to have nothing to do with any rodeo. The article also the USTA was
really really really out this time, and that the rodeo was being sponsored
by the "Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation."
The "Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation" had the
same phone number as the Junior Tennis League.
When I called them, they swore up and down that,
although they had the same phone number, they were completely separate from
the Junior Tennis League. I asked them how stupid did they think I was. I
also got their 501c3 info from them, and told them I was going to check with
the Attorney General, which I did. There were more glowing articles in the
Daily News and the NY Times.
At this point I was like Scarlett O'Hara with the
potato: As God is my witness, WE WILL STOP THIS RODEO!
We hit the politicians hard: the Bx Commissioner of
Parks had already been contacted; we reached out to Joel Rivera, Assemblyman
for the area, and John Dudley, District Mgr, Community Board Three, Bronx.
Rivera never returned a phone call till we tracked him to City Hall.
Outreach to Rep. Nita Lowey was unfortunately
unanswered, after repeated requests FROM HER for info.
Four activists went to Crotona Park, Bronx, and rallied
against this rodeo. We were featured on Fox Channel 5 and ABC Channel 7. We
yelled "Get Ya Cruelty Right Here!" like barkers, throughout the
performance. We handed out flyers about the Tennis Assn, and the right to
sue, due to the NOTICE OF DANGEROUS CONDITION, if people became distressed
by the cruelty and needed medical help.
This winter I got a phone call from John Dudley, saying
the Bronx International Championship Rodeo was over.
Huge, great big thanks to all who helped with this
effort: ACTIVISM ROCKS!!!
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