East River State Park in Williamsburg Will Be Named after Marsha P. Johnson — a Pioneer of the LGBTQ Rights Movement and a Transgender Woman of Color
Renews Call to End New York's Ban on Gestational Surrogacy to Help LGBTQ Couples and People Struggling with Fertility to Start Families
Governor Cuomo: "We must all be members of one choir - the choir demanding justice for all and discrimination of none. My hope for all of us at this pivotal time in this country is that while this nation struggles through this sea of confusion and division, New York can light the way. That we can come together in a spirit of solidarity and proclaim with one voice: there's no place for hate in our great state.
Governor Cuomo: "The solution is in your organization's name - The Human Rights Campaign. The only way to win the campaign, the only way to secure the human rights of one is to secure the human rights of all. Together we will."
Earlier today, speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Greater New York Gala, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he will name the first New York State park after an LGBTQ person. He will direct the State Parks Commissioner to rename East River State Park — located in Brooklyn — after Marsha P. Johnson, a pioneer of the LGBTQ rights movement and a transgender woman of color.
In his remarks, the Governor also reaffirmed New York's nation-leading support for the LGBTQ community and condemned hate crimes and discriminatory policies targeting LGBTQ people.
AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of today's event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is below:
Thank you. What a great evening. Let's give a round of applause to the Human Rights Campaign.
What great, great work you do. Let's begin by congratulating tonight's co-chairs who did an amazing job on this sellout dinner. Let's give them a round of applause.
Tonight's honorees, Kristin Chenoweth, Naomi Campbell, Matthew Lopez, Jeremy O. Harris. Congratulations to all of you.
Colleagues of mine from government. We have what I believe is the one of the greatest Congressman in the United States of America, Sean Patrick Maloney. Let's give him a round of applause.
We have my partner in the New York State Senate who is a tenacious advocate and fighter, Brad Hoylman, let's give him a round of applause.
And we have our great Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, thank you for all you do. Let's give her a round of applause.
Alphonso David, I want to congratulate you on your new President. He is a dear friend of mine. He was as you heard my counsel in state government. We worked together in the Attorney General's office, twelve years. You have to understand in politics a year is measured in dog years. So twelve years is a lifetime and during that time we did more to advance social justice than any state in the United States of America, and it would not have happened without Alphonso's brilliance, his tenacity, and his courage. My loss is your gain. Let's give a big round of applause to Alphonso David.
They say the secret to success is to clearly define a goal and then to pursue it with total conviction.
My goal has been to make New York State the leading champion in the nation for the LGBTQ community.
Let New York be the state that ends discrimination, bias, intolerance, and judgmentalism against members of the LGBTQ community once and for all.
And I am proud to say that working with HRC, New York has been at the forefront of your crusade for justice.
And in New York we don't believe it's enough to just fight the good fight. We believe you have to fight the good fight and win.
It's about making progress. It's about showing the rest of the nation the way forward. And that is what we have been doing in New York and we are going to continue to do -working together with HRC.
New York State did that when we were the first big state to pass marriage equality and ignite a nationwide campaign for justice.
Working together, we did that when we were the first state to announce we would end the AIDS epidemic and we are on track to do just that.
We did it when New York was the first state to protect transgender and gender non-conforming people from discrimination.
We did it when we banned so-called conversion therapy and outlawed the gay and trans panic defense.
HRC and New York did it when New York was the first state to expand Medicaid coverage to pay for transition procedures for transgender New Yorkers.
And my friends we are just getting started. This year - with your help - we must pass gestational surrogacy, and expedite the second parent adoption process, to complete marriage and family equality.
And this year, we must repeal the so-called Walking While Trans statute, so that people will no longer be unfairly targeted for what they look like.
Also this year, we are going to name the first State park after an LGBTQ person and we are going to name it after Marsha P. Johnson - an icon of the community.
So, we have much to celebrate to be sure, we have made tremendous progress. But the one thing I want you to think about tonight is we have new challenges that we must recognize. Yes we are winning the legal battle for equality and justice for the LGBTQ community, but in many ways we are losing the broader war for equality.
I don't have to tell you this is a hateful, divisive, and ugly time in this country. The number of assaults on human rights is growing.
Today we see more attacks based on the color of a person's skin, a person's religion, a person's nationality and a person's sexual orientation than at any time in modern history.
The FBI reported that last year set a new record in this nation for the number of hate crimes.
Even in the state of New York, a state born from diversity - the original melting pot - last year attacks against Latinos doubled, attacks against African Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans and LGBTQ Americans went up by double digits in this state.
And while the attacks focus on different races, different ethnicities and different religions, at the same time the attacks are all the same. They are motivated by fear and intolerance targeting those who are different.
And the only way forward, my friends, is if we all take a broader view, we must form broader coalitions, and understand that an attack against any one of us for being different is an attack against all of us, because we are all different. That's what being an American means.
By definition this nation was founded on differences. There is no one American race or religion or orientation. We welcomed all and promised freedom and acceptance for all. That's America.
We have seen a rash of anti-Semitic attacks - 40 attacks over the past two months here in New York. This week I visited Auschwitz in Poland to mark the 75th Anniversary of Auschwitz and I purposely went as a sign of solidarity to our brothers and sisters from the Jewish community after all these attacks.
Hearing the Auschwitz survivors speak of their experience and their isolation, and degradation and alienation brought one to tears.
Hearing the survivors speak of their fear at seeing the growing number of global assaults on minorities was chilling.
And their message was clear - we must not allow any violation of any group's human rights because to allow the intimidation of one, the disrespect of one, the violation of one, is to invite the violation of anyone. And that it is the responsibility of all of us to act, and to act with urgency.
One Auschwitz survivor offered an eleventh commandment: Thou shall not be indifferent.
"Thou shall not be indifferent." It says it all.
The only correct course is to see beyond ourselves and to fight every transgression. Zero tolerance for any abuse against anyone, period.
Because it is a false comfort to sit idle when an attack is against a Jewish person because we are not Jewish. Or to sit idle when an attack is against a transgender person because we are not transgender. Or to sit idle when an attack is against a Muslim person because we are not Muslim.
The German pastor Martin Niemoller said, "First, they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. And then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. And then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me." That's the truth.
We must see ourselves in every attack. Every KKK attack, every swastika, every homophobic slur, every mosque defaced, every slap, every insult is an attack on each and every one of us, and we must respond that way. We must all speak up not just for our own interest, not just for our own group, but for every interest and every group. We must all be members of one choir - the choir demanding justice for all and discrimination of none. That is our song that we are singing and we must sing it together. Because my hope for all of us at this ugly time in this country's history is while this nation struggles through this sea of confusion and division and anarchy, let the great State of New York light the way.
That we can come together in a spirit of newfound solidarity and proclaim with one voice: there is no place for hate in our great State of New York, period.
That my friends is my hope for all of us together going forward. The solution is in your organization's name - The Human Rights Campaign. The only way to win the campaign, the only way to secure the human rights of one is to secure the human rights of all.
Together we will.
Thank you and God bless you.