Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on New Yorkers to unite in the fight for tolerance and justice while at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. The Governor announced several actions to protect civil rights and combat hate crimes in New York, including the creation of a State Police unit to investigate reports of hate crimes, an expansion of the state’s human rights law to protect all students, and the establishment of a new emergency legal defense fund for immigrants. More information on the Governor’s announcement is available here.
Highlights from the Governor’s remarks are below:
“This is a country that is built on differences. We’re not found on one race or one color or one creed. This nation was founded upon one compact and that compact has been agreed to by many races and many cultures. The demonization of differences erodes our democracy at its core and attacks the foundation of this nation.”
“The divisiveness must stop and New Yorkers will not be bystanders to the injustice. That is not the New York way. We will fight sexism and racism and bigotry wherever we see it. We will stand up for the rights of immigrants because we believe our diversity is a strength, not a weakness”
“We have to say to the people of this country who feel they are not getting a fair piece of the American pie – the answer is not to fight your neighbor for their piece of the pie. The answer is not to fight for the scraps left by the rich. The answer is to grow the American pie for all.”
“Yes we are individuals, but we also believe that we are one community, and that is the New York way. We believe that there is a cord that connects you to you to you to you. That cord may be invisible, but it is there and it weaves a fabric that we call community. And we believe, in a community, we invest in each other because when one of us is raised, we are all raised, and when one of us is lowered, we are all lowered.”
“New York has a special responsibility. We’ve always been the progressive capital of this country. We have always been the social conscience and it is time that we act that way. We must stand up and remind this country what it means to be an American – that our core American belief is that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
“New York State in many ways embodies the American ideal. We are the laboratory of the American experiment in democracy. New York is the welcome mat to the world. They step off here first. The Statue of Liberty stands in our harbor and New Yorkers hold the torch and that torch must be held higher than ever before and that torch must shine brighter than ever before.”
VIDEO of the Governor’s announcement in full is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the Governor’s remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A transcript of the Governor's remarks in full is available here.