While many celebrated the inauguration of Bill de Blasio, New York City’s newest mayor, and his biracial family, Letitia “Tish” James was sworn-in as the city’s first woman of color to be elected to citywide office.
James, a former councilwoman and Howard University School of Law grad, became the city’s Public Advocate and promptly issued an impassioned speech criticizing the growing wealth gap in the city.
Flanked by Dasani Coates, a little girl who was profiled in a recent New York Times piece on homelessness, James told the crowd, “We live in a gilded age of inequality where decrepit homeless shelters and housing developments stand in the neglected shadow of gleaming multimillion-dollar condos.”
She continued, “If working people aren’t getting their fair share, if our government isn’t securing the reforms New Yorkers were promised, you better believe Dasani and I will stand up—that all of us will stand up—and call out anyone and anything that stands in the way of our progress.”
During her speech, James promised to elevate the concerns of New York City residents over those of corporate interests, a shot at outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg who was sitting in the audience.
While it remains to be seen if the city’s new, progressive elected officials will be able to be a force for positive change, we wish Public Advocate James luck!
Watch her speech: