I was chilled to the bone. The line outside Cooper Union University was not that long, but the doors hadn’t opened, and at 10:00 am that Monday morning, just standing in line, I was getting a full dose of ‘wind chill’.
‘With all the choices he had, why did the Mayor pick this rather small hall to give his public speech?’ I wondered as I entered the Grand Hall and took my seat with a lucky view of the stage. I asked the minister sitting next to me if he had any idea what the mayor was going to talk about.
“He is going to talk about what’s on everyone’s mind.’
What’s on everyone’s mind!
I took a look around. At one time one would have exclaimed, ‘It’s the United Nations’.
I submit: ‘Its New York’. People of all colors, all national origins—almost, all faiths—yes indeed; visible in their distinction, and sharing the one concern.
It’s on everyone’s mind.
Talk about setting the stage, literally and figuratively. People filed in to take their place on the stage, seating themselves on the rows of white chairs lined up behind the podium. People—white, Black, brown, women in headscarf, men in turbans, men in beards, Asian, South Asian, Hispanic—a microcosm of the audience—no one left behind.
The Mayor walked in, but not before the Pledge of Allegiance led by a Muslim Police Captain's family.
The Mayor walked in, but not before the opening prayer, led by a Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Chaplain.
The Mayor walked in, but not before the Acting President of Cooper Union spoke—and I got my answer. This hall is where Susan B. Anthony launched the suffrage movement; the Red Cross was born here, the NAACP was organized here; and today, people had assembled once again, to fight for their rights.
The Mayor walked in, but not before the First Lady of NYC, Chirlaine McRay set the tone: We must learn from what people before us did to secure our rights.
And finally the Mayor, towering and imposing.
A Surge of Hope
“It’s not the first time we have felt a sense of foreboding...
Our values don’t change because the election went another way.”
The Mayor Acknowledges My Fears
"People without health insurance…where will they turn?
Will I be able to stay here? What will happen to the Dreamers?
Will a registry subject Muslims to a different set of rules?
Will we go from being inclusionary to exclusionary?”
He Has Our Backs- A Mayor's Pledge
"To all Latinos, who heard their culture denigrated, we stand by you
To all African Americans who heard their history denied, we stand by you
To all the women who heard their rights being threatened, we stand by you
To all the Muslims, who heard their faith belittled, we stand by you
To all those in the Jewish community, who heard resonance from history…we stand by you,
To all those in the LGBT community…we will never go backwards, we stand by you
To All New Yorkers, we will protect you. This is your home."
Uplifting, Yes. But how do we translate that into action?
A Mayor's Promise
Did he read my thoughts?
"Here is my promise to you as your Mayor:
...If all Muslims are required to register, we will take legal action to block it;
If the federal government wants our police officers to tear immigrant families apart, we will refuse;
If Jews or Muslims or people in the LGBT community or any community are victimized or attacked, we will find their attackers, we will arrest them, we will prosecute them....
Watch video of Mayor’s promise.
That is your role, Mayor. But what about our role? May I ask what we can do for our country.
You May. The Mayor Offers a Prescription - an Anti-dote
1. Sign up for ID NYC.
2. Get your family & friends to sign up for the Affordable Care Act - today.
3. Register to vote.
4. Pray. But not just in your own house of worship, but in a different house of worship – for solidarity.
5. Volunteer. Go to nycservice.org
6. Don’t be silent when you see bias and hate committed. Call 911. Call 311.
7. Parents: Talk to your children. They are afraid, ‘Is my friend going to be taken away?’ Show them that you are doing something, that you are acting now.
Dear Readers: This is your 7-step action plan.
Lets get going.