Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday urged New Yorkers upset by the election of Donald Trump to unite and remain strong. In a speech in the Great Hall at Cooper Union, de Blasio vowed to protect every community in the city.
That theme was echoed by other speakers, including de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, and chaplains from the police and fire departments.
“The President-elect talked during the campaign about the movement that he had built,” de Blasio said. “Now, it’s our turn to build a movement.”
He urged Trump “to listen to the voices of the people, including those that don’t agree,” and to remember where he comes from.
De Blasio addressed different communities in the speech — Latinos, African Americans, women, Muslims, Jewish and LGBT — and said New Yorkers will stand by all of them.
“We worry about a nation that was meant to be inclusionary becoming exclusionary,” de Blasio said. “We worry about deeper division. We worry about the negation of the American Dream – the very vision of this country we all grew up with, represented here by all these New Yorkers.”
He acknowledged the fear of immigrant deportation and a proposed Muslim registry and he said the city will “step in” and take legal action against these moves.
Several times during the speech, he repeated the refrain: “This is New York. We’re always New York.” The audience cheered.
Sumayya Vawda, 20, a New York University student who is a Muslim and concerned about a possible registry, found de Blasio’s commitment to standing up for all the communities “powerful.”
“Making sure that the registration does not discriminate against certain Muslims — that’s very important, because I’m a New Yorker, my parents are New Yorkers,” she said.
Nabah Ikram, 27, an advocate for Sakhi for South Asian Women, an anti-domestic violence non-profit, also said knowing that de Blasio vows to protect all residents is very important.
De Blasio also mentioned specific plans to confront potential changes that could come with the new administration. One of them is to encourage everyone to get a New York City ID.
“It’s time to sign up for one,” he said. “And we will never turn over the paperwork to the federal government.”
He also called on everyone to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.