October 27, 2019
Mayor Bill de Blasio: … together in common cause reminds us of our diversity coming together to protect each other. I really want to thank AJC not just for memorializing those we’ve lost, but for calling this a day of action. AJC deserves tremendous praise for recognizing that we honor these martyrs not just with our words, but with our deeds. I want everyone to take a moment before you leave this place to look in the program because there are actually tremendously powerful suggestions and guidance about how we take action.
And I want to talk about the meaning of action in this moment. I want to talk about our responsibility to each other. I want to talk about the consequences that we need to ensure befall those who practice hate and how we can never let hate be normalized. So, I speak to you like everyone here feeling sorrow. We’re mourning. But I’m angry at the same time, and I’m angry at those who would propagate hate. I’m angry that hate is reasserting itself. I’m angry at anyone who calls themselves a nativist, because the idea of nativism offends the ear of every New Yorker, should offend the ear of every American.
This great country, built on the contributions of so many of so many backgrounds – some who came here willingly, some who did not come here willingly, but all contributed. In the midst of all that has been achieved by America, by the United States, by New York City – a movement emerges on our own soil yearning for a time that never was and trying to convince those who are confused, those who are grieved that they should hate others. That’s what’s happening in our time and it cannot be allowed.
And I want to remind you, as we saw those poignant photos and heard those stories, the painful reality that some of those massacred were children of Holocaust survivors reminds us that we have been given all the history we need about the events of decades ago, all the history we need to know what it looks like when hate starts to grow, to know how it becomes institutionalized and normalized. And it’s happening right in this moment.
Many things – painful, horrible things happened at Charlottesville, one of the most striking were the words laying responsibility for all the problems at the feet of Jewish community, building that conspiracy theory once again, which has been dispelled and dispelled and dispelled and its horrible impact has been shown over and over again and yet here we go again. So, I want to focus on what we need to do to ensure we never need to gather for another memorial to other poor souls who were massacred.
The first is to use all of our power not just to condemn, but to take from anyone – I don’t care if they are an elected official or a business figure or a civic leader – anyone who would use their platform to normalize hate, we need to take that platform back from them using all of the means of democracy. Anyone who practices violence must feel the consequences – and this is so important in this city. And I want to remind you that we are blessed in this city to not only have the finest police force in the world, but a police force that believes that hate of any kind must be addressed every single time.
We know our history – when something is ignored it gives permission. So, in this city the NYPD has not ignored a single act of hate. And I am, like so many here, a believer in education, a believer in reaching our young people, a believer in spreading positive messages, but I also believe in the power of consequence. Those who would do ill need to see they will never get away with it.
So, yes we have established an office to prevent hate crimes and we will educate and we will call to action all New Yorkers, but we will also use the power of our criminal justice system to ensure that the consequence is obvious to all who harbor hate in their heart.
It’s also so important that we not fall into a state of powerlessness because we see this pain, we see this danger, and we feel we can’t stop it. Everyone can participate. Everyone has a role to play. What we talked about so much in the fight against terror is equally true in the fight against hate – when you see something, say something, because idle words are not always so idle. When someone starts speaking about hate, when someone starts musing about doing ill to others, that’s exactly when that person must reported and that’s exactly what did not happen decades past. Small little comments went ignored and turned into speeches and turned into political movements that became governments that used violence against the Jewish people.
So, to everyone, to all the dignitaries here, to all the clergy, the elected officials, the community leaders, everyone here in common cause – our job is to fight. Our job is to fight hate. Our job is to fight the indifference. Our job is to fight anyone who would minimize the danger. Put yourselves in a similar room, choose the year – 1922, 1933 – choose the country, and realize that if the people of good will had seen the danger in its fullness, how different the world would have been.
So, instead of saying it cannot happen here, we are empowered by saying yes it can – we aren’t proud of that fact, but it can, and it does, but we are hopeful because we will stop hatred dead in its tracks. Thank you and God bless you all.