Residents of Great Britain last month voted to leave the European Union. The now infamous “Brexit,” as it’s being called, sent shockwaves around the world, and emphasized that the majority of people in Britain — even if it was just a small majority — felt like they could do better on their own than as a part of a larger union of nations.
This sort of sounds familiar here in Staten Island, a place that has been dubbed, infamously, the “forgotten borough” of New York City. We often get overlooked for public funding from the city — for initiatives as important as public transportation, for example — and we often get overshadowed by our “bigger siblings” in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Those leading the resurgence throughout Staten Island are doing their best to overcome all that, and prove to the rest of the city — and to the rest of the world — that we’re not to be forgotten.
City Councilman Joe Borelli thinks the Brexit should serve as motivation for Staten Island residents. Borelli posted an op-ed recently, citing a vote cast in 1992 when two-thirds of Islanders voted to secede from New York City. We’re not so sure a full-scale secession from New York City is in Staten Island’s best interest, but we do agree with the message that Borelli’s suggestion sends: That we, as Staten Islanders, need to fend for ourselves. We need to not complain when we are overlooked or forgotten, but rather take the bull by its horns and do something about it — by ourselves, for ourselves.
A drive around the Island will show you that we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that over the last few years. Five years from now, Staten Island will look much different than it does now, and that’s because of the hard work of our Island’s leaders and businesses. Maybe then, when the dust is settled, the rest of the city will recognize us. If not, so be it; we’re Islanders!