Hundreds tuned in to see Borough President Eric Adams virtually announce that he was officially running for Mayor in 2021. If elected, Adams would be only the second person of color to hold the mayoral office in the history of New York City.
With the exception of rival candidate and current City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Adams has already left other candidates in the dust money-wise, raising over $2 million in contributions while presenting himself as the experienced and diverse law enforcement candidate that is unafraid of taking action to unite the city.
In support of his candidacy Brooklyn and Queens elected officials, such as Councilmember I. Daneek Miller (D- Queens), Council Majority Leader and Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant), and Councilmember-elect Darma Diaz (D-Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, New Lots, City Line, Starrett City, Ridgewood) all spoke to mark the occasion.
“Today, I am announcing that I am running for the mayor of the City of New York,” said Adams. “So many of you have been with me for years and it means so much to me. I’ve been fighting the fight with you on the ground to make our city safer, fairer, better, for more than 30 years.”
Adams said that the fight is absolutely not over, speaking about the concerns over 25,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and increasing virus rates. He said that the dysfunctionality of government is the author of the “tale of two cities” party line when it comes to addressing inequities and struggles in the city.
“Those struggles did not start with the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to be clear on that. It did not start with the recession that the pandemic created. Like so many New Yorkers, my struggles started early in life,” said Adams about his life and childhood. “As hard as it was, I still grew up loving the city, its people, its cultures. New Yorkers are all laid on top of each other, finding common connections in those struggles whenever there are differences.”
Adams touched on his and his brother’s personal experience with crime and police brutality at the age of 15, which eventually inspired him to become a cop and take on systemic racism in public safety. “I turned my pain into purpose,” said Adams.
Miller, who said he grew up with Adams, called him a “shining example of public service” and knew him as a police officer and captain before transitioning into government.
“As myself, his path was nontraditional. His time as a New York State Senator as well as what he’s done as community leader and now as the first African American Borough President of the great borough of Brooklyn. Eric has demonstrated effective and unapologetic leadership. He has bought a lifetime of experience, not just growing up in this city, but also the needs and values of those communities. The values of a public servant, a civil servant,” said Miller.
Cumbo seconded this sentiment in her speech emphasizing that the city needed leaders with built-in experience in this time of crisis who would also prioritize the safety of the people.
“When I think about this global pandemic, I think about Eric Adams. I think about who not only talked about the issues, but who showed up,” said Cumbo. “I think about when my district needed PPE, when an administration had sent people back to work into our hospitals, into our stores, into our restaurants, into our schools, with no mask and no PPE, no hand sanitizer. It was Borough President Eric Adams who went door by door to provide PPE, gloves, hand sanitizers, and food for those most in need.”
Spectators to the mayoral race have shown concerns that candidates like Maya Wiley would split the ‘Black’ and/or ‘progressive’ votes away from Adams.
Cumbo said that this was not about “identity politics” or electing a “Black man because he’s a Black man.” She also said it’s not about electing someone who represents Black and Brown people. “It’s about looking at this particular Black man and saying who has done the most for the people. It’s about looking at this particular Black man and saying who has done the most for women,” said Cumbo, speaking again to Adams’ history of advocacy.
“You’ve been able to turn your negatives into positives and that’s admirable,” said Diaz to Adams before saying a few words in Spanish. “Often we’re not given the intuition as a people to have the inner strength to flip the script. When society has given you lemons, you make lemonade.”
Diaz also commented on Adams’ many health initiatives over the years inspired by his own public health journey. “You showed that you were human and you stood tall with the City of New York,” said Diaz.