Governor Cuomo: "Our message today is simple, and we want Washington to hear us - enough is enough, equal justice for all, start with justice for Dr. Ford and justice for this state and this nation."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered remarks at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival.
AUDIO of Governor Cuomo's remarks 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:
How great is it to be in New York today? Boy, you are a good-looking group. Today I want you to join me in calling for equal justice. And equal justice starts in a place 225 miles to the south in Washington DC, where we just had a revolting week where we saw un-American policies take place. We want equal justice for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and for all victims of sexual assault. We want equal justice and a full investigation for Supreme Court nominees. Not investigations of limited time. Not investigations of limited scope. Equal justice means equal justice. And it means before you put a person on the Supreme Court to administer justice, we want to make sure justice is done.
And equal justice means regardless of the color of your skin, regardless of your wealth, you deserve justice—and a cash bail system violates justice, it's that simple. Cash bail means that if you are rich, then you get to walk. And if you are poor, and you can't make bail, then you sit in jail. In New York City, the jail is Rikers Island. 86 percent of the people on Rikers are people of color. 76 percent of the people in Rikers have been found guilty of nothing. They are just awaiting their day in court. Many waiting for two or three years. That is not justice. Rikers Island is a hellhole and Rikers Island has to be closed and it has to be closed now.
That is what justice is about. In America, you are still innocent until proven guilty. And that's whether you're black or white. That's whether you're rich or poor. we're going to end the cash bail system once and for all, were going to do it in New York, and we're going to do it this year. We have to have more alternatives to incarceration, strict timelines on court dates, and we have to eliminate the racial bias that is pervasive in our criminal justice system. As Governor of the State of New York, I can't tell you how proud I am to have closed more prisons than any governor in the history of the state, and I'm not done yet.
New York State is going to be the progressive beacon for this nation. At a time when we see an extreme conservative moment in Washington, New York is going to show the path forward. We believe that justice is an all-encompassing concept, social justice, racial justice, economic justice, it all works together. A $15 minimum wage so people can afford to live. Fair treatment for the LGBTQ community. Protecting all from discrimination and welcoming all immigrants to the United States of America. Justice is ending the injustice in the education system, where we still have on education system for the rich and one education for the poor. It is borderline insanity my friends, that we still as a society pay $50 thousand per year for a prison cell, the same thing you pay for a semester at Harvard University.
Let's get smart, invest in education, invest in training, invest in treatment, but let's stop locking people up. Our message today is simple, and we want Washington to hear us - enough is enough, equal justice for all, start with justice for Dr. Ford and justice for this state and this nation. Thank you and God bless you.