Jumaane Williams Delivers Victory Speech

Jumaane Williams Delivers Victory Speech

NEW YORK: After winning the Public Advocate special election, Jumaane Williams addressed an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in Flatbush at his victory party. Jumaane garnered 33 percent of the vote, according to priliminary totals from the Board of Elections, with 97 percent of the precincts reporting and about 396,000 ballots cast.

***Remarks as prepared***

Thank you. Thank you all. We did it! I will be honored to serve as your next Public Advocate- the people’s voice. I’m so grateful to be standing here with all of you- my friends, my family, and this community I love. You’ve all stood by my side through every challenge, every obstacle, every opportunity, and your presence and support has meant more to me than I can express. 

This campaign may have been relatively short but this journey has been long- it traces back across years of working with all of you on the front lines of the issues that matter to all of us- of fighting for transformational change in the streets and in the halls of government. As your Public Advocate, I promise that we will take up these causes and more, with energy, passion, and resolve- to do what’s right, no matter the political winds. I know I’ll have all of you by my side in these fights.

I have so much gratitude that I need to get out-  so bear with me. I want to thank my mom- my own personal advocate- my sister, Jeanine, my girlfriend India, and my father who transitioned five years ago but who I know would be proud today. I want to thank all of the elected officials who stood with me in this race, some of whom are here tonight and others are up in Albany, fighting for change on a state level. It’s an honor to be your colleague in public service and to fight alongside of you. 

Thank you to my incredible campaign staff, who fought this fight with less sleep and more passion and dedication than you can imagine. Thanks to the community leaders, unions, clubs, and newspapers that trusted me with their endorsement, including my friends at the Working Families Party.

A decade ago, I got connected up with the Working Families Party, before my first race for city council, and together we won. We fought to end the abuse of stop and frisk together, we fought for paid sick days together, we even mounted a statewide campaign this past fall together — and now this win is yours too, WFP.

Of course I also want to thank my staff in the City Council for working with me every day in service of the people of the 45th District and this city. 
Thank you to all of my friends -my ‘kitchen cabinet’ who’s always by my side – including *names* and of course, to the scores of volunteers who filled our campaign offices and canvasses for the cause. You believed in our vision, and now we can make it a reality.

I so deeply appreciate my community in the 45th District – which we’re standing in right now. I’m at home with all of you. You have all put your faith in me these last nine years, and I promise that your voice will be heard loud and clear wherever I am in our great city.

There are some additional shoutouts I need to make:
To my fellow candidates– thank you for a race about ideas, about how to make life better for New Yorkers. I look forward to working with you all, inside and outside of government to advance an agenda for all New Yorkers.
To Tish James– you left some pretty big shoes to fill…

To the Mayor- I’m not running for your job, but I’m going to work with you to make sure we work on behalf of the people.

The Public Advocate – the People’s Advocate- is a role that I am incredible excited to fill, and one that is crucial to our city. I know that there are some who have sought to get rid of it- and now, I’m sure there are powerful people who want it gone even more. But we aren’t going anywhere- instead, we’re going to hold the powerful accountable. The Mayor, the Police Commissioner, the Governor, the big money interests – we are watching, and we will speak out. 

No matter who holds this job, their strength and their obligation come from the people they represent. As your Public Advocate, I will spend each day listening to you, my fellow New Yorkers, and taking action. We can create a New York City that is more just, equitable, affordable and accessible. We focus not on constraints,  but on possibility and potential for our city.
Tonight, we can celebrate. And then, maybe we can rest. But tomorrow, we have to take the cause back up- we cannot wait, we cannot stand still, because the challenges our city faces are too great. But the opportunity to create transformational change is even greater, and so as Dr. King said, we must keep moving forward. 

Moving forward to solve the affordable housing and homelessness crisis that we face, and to provide aid to people struggling to stay in their homes and rents continue to climb.

Moving forward to upend a system of injustice that criminalizes black and brown communities, and to give those who have been caught up in that system a second chance.

Moving forward to make our streets safer for all, to combat the epidemic of gun violence and to revitalize communities- not with over-policing but with investment in the people on the ground, doing work to save lives.

Moving forward to not just defend but to advance the rights of everyone threatened by the orange buffoon in the white house- and putting our bodies on the line to defend them Moving forward because I’ve never been able to sit still for long- not when there’s a march to lead or a bill to pass or a cause to take up.

Let’s Go – It’s time.

The last time I stood in this space, it was under very different circumstances, with a different outcome. These are new memories now, and I’ll never forget this moment. But there’s one moment, one memory from that night that stays with me.

A young man came up to me, six months ago at this very site, and said that just like me, he had Tourette’s Syndrome. That he’d wanted to get into government, to make change, but that he didn’t know he could. That when he saw me, he was inspired. And when I heard him, so was I. It’s part of what inspired me to take this journey, to run this race. Because everyone has moments when they don’t feel heard, when they need a voice.

NYCHA residents who are going without attention, and even without heat, need a voice

Mothers of victims of gun violence or policing abuses need a voice

Everyone whose rights are under threat by the Trump administration- black and brown communities, women, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants need a voice

Every New Yorker who feels left out or left behind by the political process and politicians who work for themselves and not the people needs a voice.

I ran this campaign to be the voice of the people. And I do promise to raise my voice and raise the issues of the people of this city. But it’s not about my voice alone- It’s about our voices, together. Our voices together send a message loud and clear. Our voices together can rise above politics, above pettiness–

Our voices can rise to the occasion of the times we face, to meet this moment with our movement. The challenges that we face are great, but we can rise to conquer any hill, any mountain, and from there our voices will echo and we will be heard. I said at the beginning of this campaign that no matter how steep the hill was, we have to keep moving up. We have to keep going up the hill for equity, we have to keep going up the hill for justice, we have to keep going up the hill for all of us.

To the people who say that it can’t be done, please move out of the way of the people who are doing it!


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