These are lightly edited remarks Mayor Eric Adams made Monday night at the Association for a Better New York’s 17th Annual Spirit of ABNY Celebration.
I’m just so concerned about America. It’s not only New York. I don’t know what has happened to us as a country. And it just bothers me so much that we appear to no longer believe in what this country represents.
We normalize going into stores across America and just walk in and take what you want — as if it’s just all right. And what we’re doing to police in this city and across America, we should be embarrassed.
How do you take 2,500 guns off the streets and the people who had the guns are back out the next day? All New Yorkers should be raising our voices. We are too silent — far too silent. The number of guns we are recovering is astounding. So is the number of shooters that are being freed every day; every day they’re going back to do crime again. Every day.
And then people say, “Eric says that people should not live on the street.” They should not be living in tents with human waste and drug needles and paraphernalia. And I’m the demon here for saying it is not dignified for New Yorkers to live on the street, and the advocates say I’m wrong to try to help take people off the street and put them in decent housing. And all the columnists that say “Eric is wrong.” Where’s everyone else saying “Eric is right”?
Those of you who told me when I was running for office, “We want to deal with the homeless crisis”: Well, I need you now. I need you now.
Everyone who told me they want guns off the streets and for NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell to put in place the anti-gun unit to go out there to take those guns off the street, we need you now.
Those of you who stated you’re tired of the dysfunctionality of education, with 65% of black and brown children never reaching proficiency — we are fighting in Albany right now to keep mayoral control. Two Boston Red Sox fans had it. So why can’t Met fans have it? We need you now. We need you now.
Those who have told me for years that we’re losing too many young people: I need everybody to be part of my 100%-paid-internship program to get these young people inside internships.
We can’t be a detached spectator in a full-contact sport called life and sit in the bleachers and critique how we are doing on the field. I need you on the field with me fighting on behalf of our city.
And if we get it right in New York, it would cascade throughout America. I was in Los Angeles. Have you seen downtown Los Angeles lately? San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, no matter where we go, we’re seeing the same things across America. This is an American movement we are on right now because if we don’t catch it right now, we are going to see this country go in a direction that many of us thought was unimaginable.
Not my city. I’d be darned if I put on that bulletproof vest for 22 years to protect children and families and now surrender the city to people who believe they’re going to bring violence in our city. And I can’t care less about the critiques and the criticism. I’m immune to that.
But I need your help. I need New Yorkers’ help. I need to have moral accountability. I need to reform laws that are allowing people to go out and return to our city with violence. I need to stop the flow of guns in our streets. They’re getting ready to pass the Supreme Court ruling, a right-to-carry match with ghost guns. You don’t know what’s on the horizon if that goes through and if we don’t stop the proliferation of ghost guns. We need your help.
Yes, we’ve gotten 50,000 jobs since January, and our hotels have gone up from an occupancy rate of 63%. Yes, we’re going to recover. We’re going to come back. But we need everyone to help.