Governor Hochul: "Please my friends you're all here because you've been vaccinated, but you need to get that booster. Put that extra armor of protection around you.."
Governor Kathy Hochul today attended services at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in New York City.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
First of all, please be seated. I want to thank Reverend Johnny Green for his passion and how he answered the call of God to serve the people in his very special way, and to the people of Mount Neboh, who've made me feel part of the family. I thank you. And yes, this is indeed the day the Lord has made to bring us here together after so many months of separation and pain and anguish, so it makes my heart just sleep with joy to see the people gathered here today.
And I love my congregation, but I also want to give respect to the elected leaders who are here. They are the champions, whether it's the halls of Congress, where I once serve with the great Charlie Rangel. When I went to Congress, Charlie, you were the Dean of the Delegation and you embraced me like a sister. And we have not had a two and a half hour phone call, but our phone calls are usually pretty long, but they're important calls to be had. So thank you, Congressman Rangel for your friendship and support over many, many years.
And to our elected leaders, Inez Dickens, you also back just a few years ago, when people said "Who's Kathy Hochul?" you made sure I was everywhere in Harlem I need to be. We met seniors, we went to the restaurants. We went to your wonderful parties. And I thank you for your leadership, not just in Harlem, but in our state capitol. And of course Al Taylor, our other partner in the Assembly, extraordinary leader. We've had incredible conversations and dialogues about the plight of young black men in particular, and your own life story had a lasting impact on me as well. So thank you, Reverend Al Taylor. Our new Senator! How about having a Senator from Mount Neboh, Cordell Cleare, here as well? Incredible.
And you heard from the one and only Lieutenant governor from Harlem himself, Brian Benjamin, thank you for stepping up to help me lead this state together because that's how we will function, most for the people of God is to work together. And my husband, Bill of 37 years, I want to thank him for being New York's first First Gentleman.
And all the individuals who are part of our incredible teams. I thank you. But Reverend Johnnie Green and Reverend Carl Washington, Jr. And I thank them for the words, but I came to Harlem late one evening, just a few weeks ago, maybe even a week ago. And I came with one simple request. Keep me in your prayers.
I need the spirit around me to help me make the right decisions, as we continue on this journey together, that's all my simple ask was, was to pray for me in this extraordinary journey and path that God has placed me on to make sure that I lift all people up. And I thank them because I felt the power of their prayers and your support here today will launch me out across the state with the strength of the church and the clergy and the people behind me.
And with that, there is no stopping us. I feel that to my core, because as you heard from Reverend Johnnie Green, there is much to be done. There are many people who have been lost, left behind, and he once said when white America catches a cold, Black America gets pneumonia. And that is a statement of truth, but here's what I propose my friends.
We will recover from pneumonia and the colds together. We'll get through this pandemic together. And in the meantime, we'll look at all the inequities and places of discrimination and all the things that raised their ugly head during this pandemic and we'll just deal with them with strength.
And I'm talking about the fact when little kids were sent home to learn at their parents' table, they didn't even have a laptop or broadband to elect to connect with. So they were left behind, that came to light in a powerful way. And we said no more, no more will there will be a difference in how a child is educated based on whether or not their parents can afford internet at home anymore. That was cruel. And these children fell so far behind and we now have to lift them up.
And they'll need more services. They'll need more mental health help in the schools because this generation of kids was already had a lot of strikes against them. And now we can't let them go. These are our babies, they're our kids. And I feel that powerfully as a mother.
And look at the health disparities that came up during this, we saw so many people of color hardest hit with the infections. And they're saying, where's the testing kits for us. Where's the vaccinations for us. And we said, well, it's going elsewhere. No, it should have been coming here first. It should have been here first. These are the people who needed it. And I pledged to bring all those resources right here.
And if you want a vaccination site, we got it right here. And please my friends you're all here because you've been vaccinated, but you need to get that booster. Put that extra armor of protection around you. So no matter what comes our way, we can fight back, but also Harlem, the place of Black power, the phrase, Black power, but it's only a phrase if we don't actually make that happen.
So Black power needs to be not just Black power, but Black empowerment. And that means access to capital and access to jobs and access to contracts and access to opportunity. That's what I'm talking about. That's what we're going to work on together my friends. and I have so much more of my heart I want to share with you, but I have a feeling you came here to hear the word of God, not the word of a politician, so I will respect that, but I will be back.
I do have thousands of people upstate who woke up in darkness and may not have heat for a number of days. And I need to go help give them some relief. So I'll be leaving a little earlier than I wanted to but I am never going to be far from all of you — never, ever because this is where I know that working together, that the faith that you put in me and the trust I have in you is that we will lead this state to new heights and there's no looking back from here. The past is the past and I am so optimistic about the future.
We will come back. We'll help our small businesses. We'll make sure Sylvia's stays open and Melba's stays up all my favorite places because you know, I love to eat in Harlem.
I just want to say thank you. Thank you, God, for calling me to be a public servant.
Thank you to our clergy who also have answered God's call to serve the people. We serve together. The clergy, the churches, the congregations, and the elected leaders. Together we create a coalition marching on to victory together. And I thank you so much. I will never forget this day.
Mount Neboh, Reverend Johnnie Green, Carl Washington, Jr., you've just made me feel I have the strength to go on on behalf of all of you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you. God bless every one of you. God bless you.