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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray Deliver Remarks at the Planned Parenthood NYC Rally to Stop the Bans

May 22, 2019

First Lady Chirlane McCray: New York City, are you ready to fight for your rights? 

[Cheers]

Are you ready? 

[Cheers]

Are you ready? 

[Cheers]

Good, because we need each and every one of you. Make no mistake, this struggle goes far beyond Alabama and Georgia. These bans are about control. This struggle is about you, and all of us – working class women, women of color, immigrants, trans and non-binary folks and all of our families. The people pushing the bans have been chipping away at our reproductive rights for a long time, and they will keep lying, gas lighting, bulldozing until they control our bodies and our choices. They will not stop until they have criminalized our right to choose all across the country. Are we going to let them do that? 

Audience: No!

First Lady McCray: Are we going to let them do that? 

Audience: No! 

First Lady McCray: Are we going to let them do that? 

Audience: No!

First Lady McCray: As sister warrior-poet Audre Lord said, our silence will not protect us. We cannot be silent. We must speak out for ourselves and each other. 

Now, these politicians think we don't have the power to stop them. I say to them, women are more than half the population. Women brought you into this world and we can take you out –

[Cheers]

– of office. 

[Laughter]

Let's show them what women [inaudible] can do. Who’s got the power? We've got the power. Who's got the power? 

Audience: We’ve got the power!

First Lady McCray: We’ve got the power. Who's got the power? 

Audience: We’ve got the power!

First Lady McCray: We've got the power. We will march, we will donate, we will organize, and we will vote. 

[Cheers]

We are New York City, and we will not back down – not today and not ever. This is a time for all of us and our allies to step up, to join their voices with ours. And I've got an ally right here by my side who will ever stopped fighting for our rights. Please welcome our mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Let's thank our First Lady and for standing up for women here in New York City and everywhere. 

[Cheers]

And I want us to salute an organization that was started in New York City and has helped millions upon millions of women. Let us thank, let us praise, let us embrace Planned Parenthood. Thank you. 

[Cheers]

So, we are gathered here in a place that respects women. New York City respects women, supports women, honors the rights of women. But in some other states, we see these bans that try and take away rights that were fought for, for so long. I have a simple message to those legislators who think they could turn back the clock. Let's just tell them this – hands off. Hands off the bodies of women – hands off the rights of women – do you agree? Say, hands off – 

Audience: Hands off!

Mayor: Hands off –

Audience: Hands off!

Mayor: Hands off –

Audience: Hands off!

Mayor: We know a majority in this country believes in the right to choose. We know the American people understand. The only person who gets to decide is the woman herself, that is what the American people believe. It is a small group of right wing extremists who are trying to ignore that American majority, who trying to undermine your rights, who are trying to take us back to a time when that disparity, that unfairness was part of our lives. But we are going back, are we?

Audience: No!

Mayor: So, sisters and brothers, everybody, this is a fight for our lives, but I know in my heart it's a fight we're going to win. We've seen in these last days the kinds of things that make us feel so much pain. We feel pain for the women who will suffer because of these new laws. We know women will suffer, women will die because these laws were passed, and that shouldn't happen in our America. Well, we know what the future will be as well, because the American people in the end will support the freedom of this majority that is the women of this country. The American people will believe in the end that the rights of women are what matter most. We are going to fight because we know we're right, because we know we’ll win in the annual. It will not be easy, but we're going to make them hear, in every part of this country, those two words. One more time – hands off – 

Audience: Hands off! Hands off!

Mayor: Thank you, keep fighting. God bless you.

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