Secondary Navigation

Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at Harlem Day

August 20, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, everyone. 

Happy Harlem Week, everybody.

[Applause]

Harlem Week has really become more of Harlem Month, hasn’t it? It’s kind of grown and grown and grown. And there’s a lot of people to thank for that but no one has had a more profound impact on this tremendous celebration of Harlem than Lloyd Williams. Let’s thank him for all he has done to make it – this great celebration happen.

[Applause]

By the way, I want to say at the beginning, Harlem is an idea. Harlem is something we dream about in this city, in this country as an exemplar of arts and culture and everything good about New York City. Do you think Harlem is one of the great parts of New York City?

[Applause]

Do you think Harlem is famous all over the nation, all over the world?

[Applause]

Then please tell the real estate brokers that we don’t need a new name for Harlem. The name, Harlem, is plenty legendary enough.

[Applause]

I want to thank all my colleagues. I was just talking to Reverend Sharpton about the extraordinary work he is doing all over this nation. No matter how bad things get in Washington D.C. change is happening all over this country, and so much of it is being sparked by the work of Reverend Sharpton and the National Action Network. Let’s thank him for fighting on no matter what’s thrown at us.

[Applause]

Thank you to Hazel Dukes. Hazel, you are an amazing example to all of us. Hazel’s been around for a few years but she teaches us every day what it looks like to stand up for people who need it. Let’s thank Hazel Dukes.

[Applause]

Let’s thank Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for doing a tremendous job for the people of Manhattan, and your new, young, dynamic State Senator, Brian Benjamin. Thank you.

[Applause]

So, everybody, I just have a simple thing to say today – what we’re doing here is a message. People coming together in celebration of a great community and a community that is made up of every kind of people. 

This year’s theme is “Harlem, Home of Immigrants.” And it’s important to stand up with respect for all immigrants.

Now, remember everyone here is an immigrant. Some came willingly. Some came unwillingly. But everyone is an immigrant and we honor the fact that people made something happen right here. And we do not turn our back on the next generation of immigrants. We are consistent. We believe this is a place for everyone, don’t we?

[Applause]

So, when you hear those voices of hate trying to divide us, trying to say that immigrants are holding us back, remind them of what’s happening in New York City.

We believe in respect for all people, for all faiths, for people of all nations, for people who speak all languages. That’s what works for us, here, in New York City.

[Applause]

And you hear these horrible, negative voices saying that somehow immigrants make us less safe and somehow they take away jobs. Well, guess what’s happening in New York City. We are the safest big city in America.

[Cheering]

We have more jobs than we’ve ever had, and immigrants have helped to create that reality.

So, I want to thank Lloyd and everyone at Harlem Week for, in the face of hatred and division, standing up in unity. We are a home of immigrants here in this city and we are proud of it. 

Happy Harlem Week, everybody.

[Applause]

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

(212) 788-2958