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CAUCUS WEEKEND: Transcript of de Blasio at DC37 reception. 'People with power want to undermine us, they want to undermine working people, they want to undermine people of colo.r'
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2017
CONTACT:, (212) 788-2958


Mayor Bill de Blasio: [Inaudible] and I want to thank everybody. Iíll be very quick. Iím trying to be quick and meaningful.

First of all, before I say anything, I need to say thank you.

You know that doing the work of change is not easy. It comes with a lot of opposition built in. When you try and create justice, when you try and support working people and heal the wounds of the past and right the wrongs Ė that is never an easy journey.

It takes friends and allies and comrades in arms to actually achieve these changes. And I could not ask for a better partner than DC37. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Every single day the work you do, the work that all your memberís have done to make our city work, the work you do as trade unionists is holding up the labor movement even in this hour of struggle.

The partnership this administration has had constantly with this union on so many issues, so many issues by the way which this union said for years something different and better could be done.

And guess what? You were right. Remember you said we could do civilianization at the police department? Remember? Remember how many years you kept saying that and they always would say in the previous administration it was impossible to do. We came along and we found it was perfectly possible. It was the smart thing to do. It was the right thing to do and you had the idea a long time ago.


I want to thank you for all of that and I want to thank you also because the people of New York City are going to make a decision this year about the future of this city. And I have you on my side as we go forward for the people, and Iím so appreciative.


Unknown: We love you.

Mayor: Thank you, my dear.

Thank you. Love you back.


Donít tell my wife I said that.


So, wait ,she said she knows about us.


Thatís confidence.

I want to tell you that Henry is someone that I have profound respect for. I want you to hear this because when I want to think through some of the tough problems or I want to think about how we change this city for the better, I turn to Henry all the time. This is a thinking man. This is a great leader for this union. So, letís thank him.


Iím going to say one more thing and then I get to make an introduction of my partner. What I want to say is it is a tough moment in history. Itís a tough moment in history but it is not a moment to give in. Itís not a moment to underestimate yourselves or this movement or this union.

I think it is an amazing thing Ė Iíve seen it many times Ė when people with power want to undermine us, they want to undermine working people, they want to undermine people of color, they want to undermine cities, they start to convince us weíve run out of power. You see it every single time. They start this sort of almost subliminal suggestion repeated over and over and over again. They want to make us think things like that the last election in November, their candidate won the majority of the votes. But thatís not true. Thatís not true but we have to keep reminding ourselves.

What Donald Trump is doing Ė he does not have a mandate from the people [inaudible] electoral college but not from the people.


And if you watch carefully he is losing support all the time because of his shenanigans. Thatís my nice word for it.


So, I say that to say you will hear repeatedly different forces out there trying to convince you to just give up, just give in to it. And no Ė we actually are the ones who have the majority. We are the ones who represent the interests of the people.


And we are seeing something beautiful happening in our country in just these last weeks. We are seeing a spontaneous vocalization of people, an uprising of people speaking out.

Remember on January 21st, over three million Americans marched for the rights of women all over this country.


That didnít happen previously. That didnít happen previously and maybe this threat, maybe this challenge is bringing out something in us that needed to be brought out a long time ago.

But now that itís here, now that people have woken up, now that theyíre ready to act it may feel like itís his time but I say itís our time.


So, keep that strength, that vision, that focus clear. Teach others to have it too. Thatís how we change our city and our country for the better.

Now, I want to say one thing as I make this introduction, if you ever doubt that things can change Ė and look, people in this room have fought for good causes all your lives, and you know it can be tough and you need to dispel the doubt sometimes.

So, if youíve ever doubted that things can change Ė I want to tell you a quick story that relates to my wife.

She had the audacity a couple of years ago to believe that she could take on a challenge that previously had gone unmet. This is mental health. We had a problem throughout our society that was not being talked about, that was so pervasive in every family, in every neighborhood, and yet was somehow taboo.

And even to this day people will come up and they will congratulate her and thank her for the work that she is doing and then theyíll start whispering about the mental health problem in their family because weíve been taught to be ashamed, taught that something that is a part of the human experience is somehow something wrong with us. Itís never been something wrong with us.

Whatever the many stigmas and taboos in our society, they were always false. So, she said we could do something different. And if we all work together we can all actually break down that stigma. If we break down that stigma then people come out of the shadows. If they come out of the shadows, they get the help they need. If they get the help they need we start to heal our society. We start reduce crime. We start to reduce homelessness. Our children graduate from high school, go on to college.


If we can deal with the problem at the root cause thatís Ė thatís what she decided this city could do. Brothers and sisters, sheís actually changing this city through her leadership and her example in all that she is doing.

I introduce to you the First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray.


First Lady Chirlane McCray: Good evening, everyone. Hello. Hello.

Iím so happy to see you, so happy to be here with all my brothers and sisters. I want to thank you so much for standing up for New Yorkers. Thank you for protecting the progress thatís been made over the years. I canít thank you enough for all the work that you do to help our city [inaudible] and move forward.

You know, weíve been through a lot [inaudible] we have to stay strong. We have to stay determined and we have to fight hard. To do that weíve gotta stay well. Right? And keep our families well. And [inaudible] say thereís no help without mental health.

Audience: Amen.

First Lady McCray: [Inaudible]


Itís not easy out there but you know you got great support here in this room. Youíve got great support up on high.


And weíre with you every step of the way. Given that one in five New Yorkers suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition [inaudible] substance misuse in any given year, you know, thereís a lot that we [inaudible]. Weíre all affected by this and we all have a stake in the solutions.

Is that right?

Audience: Yes.

First Lady McCray: Thatís right.

So I just happen to have three easy ways that you can be part of the solution.

One Ė sign up for a mental health first aid class. Most of us in this room did not grow up with the words, with the vocabulary for talking about mental illness. So, we donít know an anxiety condition from a panic attack from depression from many of the other conditions out there. Take a mental health first aid class. We know what to do when someoneís bleeding but we donít know what to do when someoneís depressed or anxious. Is that right?

Audience: Right.

First Lady McCray: This mental health first aid class is free. All you have to do is go to and you can sign up. You can actually [inaudible] class for your congregation or your organization or you know, whatever, any kind of group you have. You can do that.

Weíre training trainers as well. So that these trainers can go and train 30 people every month so that we can get to the communities that have a highest needs Ė maybe speak different languages [inaudible] and are not as connected to the main frame mental health workforce.

So, I just want you to know that this course is available. You can do it within the union and itís free.

Number two Ė we had a Mental Health Faith Weekend last year Ė last May. We thought [inaudible] 200 churches involved, but we ended up with 1,000 houses of faith [inaudible] Ė


There is a hunger out there to have this public conversation about something that weíre all affected by. Weíre going to repeat that at the end of May Ė this May. And I know all of you in some way or another is connected to some house of faith. Please let them know that we are doing this again and encourage them to be involved.

Weíd really like to have even more people involved this year so that we can continue this public conversation that we started last year.

And I have one more thing to ask of you that will help you and your families and the communities that you live in. And that is Ė I want you to spread the word about NYC Well. NYC Well is our central access point to connect New Yorkers to mental health care. You can call this number and get an appointment. You can get a follow up call to make sure that [inaudible] actually got to the appointment. You can speak to a peer counselor. There are mental mobile health crisis teams that go to a location and do an evaluation if need be.

Most importantly, these counselors can talk to you and help you figure out what to do if youíre in a situation and you donít know what the next step is.

So, the number is 1-8-8-8-NYC-Well. And I want you to please repeat this number with me.


Audience: 1-8-8-8-NYC-Well.

First Lady McCray: One more time. 1-8-8-8-NYC-Well.

Audience: 1-8-8-8-NYC-Well.

First Lady McCray: Please remember this number. Itís a free call. Itís a confidential call. We have translations in more than 200 languages and it is operative throughout the year Ė 365 days a year, 24/7.

So, you never have to worry about where to go, where to call, what to do in a situation where there is a mental health need.

So, again, I want to thank you all for all the work youíre doing. You are really a [inaudible] soldiers in our fight to do right and for our fight for progress. I love you all.

Thank you.