Arab American Association of New York Celebrates Memory of Activist Larry Morrish, Reported by Brooklyn Reporter

Posted on May 22, 2019

Bay Ridge gathers to dedicate Lawrence ‘Larry’ Morrish Way

Originally Published in Brooklyn Reporter on May 21, 2019
Written by Paula Katinas

There was plenty of laughter, along with fond remembrances and heartfelt tributes, at a ceremony Councilmember Justin Brannan hosted Saturday to co-name a Bay Ridge street corner in honor of late community activist Larry Morrish. Joined by Morrish’s wife Phillipa and members of the Morrish family, Brannan unveiled the new street sign for “Lawrence ‘Larry’ Morrish Way” on the corner of Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101stStreet, outside the main gate of the Fort Hamilton Army Base. It’s fitting that “Lawrence ‘Larry’ Morrish Way” is located directly outside the fort, according to Brannan, who said Fort Hamilton is “a base that Larry fought so hard to protect over the years.”

Morrish, whose outsized personality and ability to bring disparate groups together made him a Bay Ridge legend, played a leading role in many of neighborhood’s most significant moments over the past 45 years. Morrish was one of the founders of the Bay Ridge Ambulance Volunteer Organization (BRAVO), the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force and the Bay Ridge Saint Patrick Parade, and was a member of the Bay Ridge Community Council. Dr. Ahmad Jaber, a founder of the Arab American Association of New York, praised Morrish for reaching out to the Muslim community and making immigrants feel welcome. When Muslims first started moving into Bay Ridge, “there was some tension,” according to Jaber. Morrish “decided to say we are having one community,” Jaber recalled. That was the beginning of the Bay Ridge Unity Task Force. “When you are a newcomer, you feel timid. Larry took the hands of us. He introduced us to civic engagement activity,” Jaber said.

BRAVO President Tony Napoli recalled Morrish’s ability to get things done. “Larry was assertive. He had his hand into everything. He made us better and allowed us to grow,” Napoli said. “He couldn’t go through life without helping someone,” his brother George Morrish told the overflow crowd at the ceremony. Calling Morrish “our ultimate ambassador,” Councilmember Brannan said Bay Ridge “was really in Larry’s DNA” and that “not everyone leaves such an impact.”

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