In an impassioned speech on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to reassure New Yorkers fearful of Donald Trump’s incoming administration, by vowing to reject some of the president-elect’s most controversial policies and to address the multiple incidents of hate which have plagued the city since election night.
Speaking to a packed auditorium in New York where people spilled into the hallway, New York’s mayor outlined how the city would resist some of the president-elect’s campaign promises.
“We will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people,” he vowed. “If all Muslims are required to register, we will take legal action to block it. If the federal government wants our police officers to tear immigrant families apart, we will refuse to do it.”
“If the justice department orders local police to resume stop-and-frisk, we will not comply. We won’t trade in neighborhood policing for racial profiling,” he continued to applause. “If there are threats to federal funding for Planned Parenthood of New York City, we will ensure women receive the healthcare they need. If Jews, or Muslims, or members of the LGBT community, or any community, are victimized and attacked, we will find their attackers, we will arrest them, we will prosecute them.”
De Blasio had an extended meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower last week. In his address, he recounted his visit, during which, he said, he had implored Trump to remember where he came from.
“I thought it was important to go to the president-elect and let him hear what so many New Yorkers were feeling,” he said. “And my essential message to him was to remember where you come from.”
“There was a time when the values of New York City were under attack on the debate stage. President-elect Trump at the time stood up for New York,” he continued, recalling Ted Cruz’s comments that Trump had New York values and was not a true conservative. “I hope he remembers every day what he saw, over all those years in the city, and doesn’t lose track of the very things that allowed him and countless others an opportunity.”
Following Trump’s electoral victory, there have been multiple reports of incidents of hate against a number of groups across the country. The Southern Poverty Law center has counted 701 incidents between 9 and 16 November.
Despite its opposition to Trump, New York City has not been immune to the rising number of hate incidents since Trump’s victory. According to the SPLC, New York state had the third highest number of reported hateful incidents.
Swastikas have been found spray-painted across the city since the election, including in university student dorms, the sidewalk in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and the door of an elected official.
A rally was held in a park in a Brooklyn after a swastika with the words “Go Trump” was found spray-painted on to playground equipment. Hundreds attended the rally, where Beastie Boys member Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz spoke as the park was named after his deceased bandmate, Adam Yauch, who was Jewish.
Reports of Islamophobia have also been on the rise. On a bus in Queens, a couple allegedly told a 19-year-old Muslim woman to remove her hijab. Also in Queens, an Arab Uber driver was reportedlytold by another motorist he was a terrorist who would be deported now that Trump was president.
New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said he had established a special unit of the state police to address rising hate crimes, as well as a number of other civil rights initiatives.
New York City’s police commissioner, James O’Neill, said on Sunday that there had been a 31% uptick in hate crimes compared with the same time last year, increasing from 250 incidents to 328. Speaking to a talk radio show, he suggested that the rise was related to the campaign.
“I have no scientific evidence as to why, but if you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on in the country over the last year or so, that the rhetoric has increased, I think that might have something to do with it,” he said.
Cuomo and De Blasio, both Democrats, were outspoken in their opposition to Trump during the presidential campaign. Trump called De Blasio “one of the most incompetent men” and the “single worst mayor in the history of New York City”, while De Blasio saidof Trump last month: “It’s impossible he could be a good president”.
New York City faces the prospect of losing billions of dollars in federal funding due to Trump’s presidency as the president-elect has vowed to cut funding for so-called sanctuary cities – cities that limit how much they cooperate with federal law enforcement officials in detaining undocumented immigrants. However, De Blasio is in a unique position as Trump owns properties in New York City, and the mayor still holds influence over decisions that could affect them.
Despite the prospect of losing federal funding, the mayor struck a defiant tone on Monday, and vowed to protect undocumented immigrants.
“This is New York. Nothing about who we are changed on election day.”
Source : theguardian