GOVERNORS ISLAND, LIFEBLOOD OF AMERICAN LIBERTY, joins Liberty Island and Ellis Island as National Symbol and omnipresent iconic emblem when restored to its thematic integrity and message of historic meaning.
New York State's birth—a momentous event with a vital message of 21st century relevance—took place on Governors Island in 1624. The island is the place on which the first New World expression of religious tolerance (i.e., toleration) as an individual liberty took place.
This unique jurisprudential event, the foundation for religious and ethnic diversity in the NY Tri-State region as of 1624, will be the basis for the Island's transformation into an American symbol through a living edutainment park which will function as a Park-to-Tolerance with the Tolerance Monument as centerpiece—a critical facet of American liberty.
The yacht “Halve Maen” (Half Moon) of the East Indian Company—the first ever European sailing vessel recorded to sail through the Narrows into New York Harbor on precisely September 11, 1609—became the covert forerunner for the overt introduction to North America of a republican, non-royalist, pluralist culture based on toleration, commerce and social mobility.
That culture’s precepts of freedom and liberty, based on the “Right-of-Man” doctrine and the dynamic notion of “Tolerance”, became the foundation of the Original Thirteen and are New York’s cultural heritage to the nation.*
The planting of that legal-political condition took place on Governors Island in 1624—the birthplace of the New York Tri-State region and the origin of American freedom of conscience and [religious] tolerance. That right to toleration was perfected to the uniquely American conception of Religious Freedom as promised in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of 1791 by forbidding the [political] establishment of a religion thus making all religions equal and free under the Constitution.
The horrific 9/11/2001 assault—an act of global intolerance—was perpetrated in the name of religion. Not acting upon recognized intolerance affirms that laxity, passivity and apathy are its friends.
Tolerance—an active notion—demands. Always a two-way-street, not one-way accommodation, it defines and gives meaning to an otherwise undemanding, generic or static liberty.
Only broad awareness and conscious vigilance of religious, ethnic and racial tolerance as inseparable from liberty will help safeguard and sustain “American” freedom because in an intolerant [disrespecting, discriminatory, prejudiced or bigoted] society freedom-for-all is not possible.
Through the political process and the legislature of New York State and with the support of New York City, we are seeking, as of 1998, broad acknowledgment of Governors Island—New York State's birthplace and most important landmark—as the nation's earliest fundamental intercultural asset so it can serve as a physical reminder to the world that tolerance and liberty are indispensable partners in the notion of American freedom.
For more on the island's national historic significance go to five related pages on www.TolerancePark.org or CLICK HERE for a deeper understanding of that historic bridge that linked cultures across the Atlantic. To view the mission statement of the Tolerance Park Foundation CLICK HERE. For contributions CLICK HERE.