Brooklyn and NYC elected officials are standing firm against attacks on our democracy.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who represents much of central Brooklyn, hosted a rally under Grand Army Plaza’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at noon on Thursday, the anniversary of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The event marked 12 months since a mob, incited by former-President Donald Trump, attacked the capitol building in attempts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

 A crowd of around 30 spectators gathered in Brooklyn despite the chilly winter temperatures, listening as officials condemned the actions of the rioters that stormed the Capitol and reaffirmed their commitments to expanding and protecting voters’ rights.

The event featured speeches from elected officials including Myrie, Attorney General Letitia James, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Public Advocate Jumanee Williams, Comptroller Brad Lander, and more. Brooklyn community and faith leaders also took the podium.

Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a rally marking the anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection. Photo: Christopher Edwards for BK Reader.

“Today, we’re gathered to defend our democracy,” said Myrie, who is the chair of the New York State Senate Elections Committee.

“It didn’t end on January 6, all of 2021, 19 states passed over 40 laws to restrict the right to vote. Here in New York while we’ve expanded early voting, in Georgia, and Iowa and Texas, they restricted the early voting period and shortened the amount of time for you to vote.”

Fort Greene native Attorney General Letitia James also spoke at the event, emphasizing the need for action against voter suppression efforts taking place across the country.

“As the chief law enforcement officer of the state of New York, I stand with anyone of any party fighting to expand voting rights,” James said. “When a case against voter suppression law comes to the Supreme Court, we’re ready. We’ll file a brief to support it.”

Newly elected Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso also spoke at the event, giving half of his speech in Spanish.

“We could disagree on many things, including policy, but one thing I will not allow to happen is that we disagree on democracy,” Reynoso said.

“That is just something that I won’t let you challenge.”

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso speaks at a rally marking the anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection. Photo: Christopher Edwards for BK Reader.

Assemblymember Latrice Walker, chair of the New York State Assembly Election Law Committee, highlighted former President Trump’s role in inspiring the insurrection.

“He egged them on, he supported them. He added fuel to their fire, which was one of the most egregious attacks on our democracy that any political leader can commit here in the great United States of America.”

Public Advocate Jumanee Williams then stressed the importance of a peaceful transfer of power to our democracy, and said it was the one thing he had always admired about the country: the ability to vote people out of office peacefully.

“That is the thing they are coming after. That is the thing they want to take away. They want to prevent people from being able to vote out the worst of this country.”

Public Advocate Jumanee Williams speaks at a rally marking the anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection. Photo: Christopher Edwards for BK Reader.

Councilmember Crystal Hudson added that at least 57 people present on January 6 were now running for office. “The best way to fight extremist claims of election fraud is to ensure New York’s elections are as free and fair as possible.”

Many of the officials expressed support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a proposed law designed to restore the previously diminished power of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Myrie ended his speech with a strong warning.

“Here is the message to all New Yorkers: This is not a drill. It is not a game.

“Our democracy is on the line. They are slow cooking our democracy right before our very eyes. And if we do not wake up and go on offense, we will be back here next year, not commemorating the fall of the nation’s capital. We will be commemorating the fall of our democracy.”

Christopher Edwards

Christopher Edwards is a Brooklyn-based writer and Journalism student at Baruch College.

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  1. This is the type of phony gear-mongering headline that undermines democracy. Not one person was charged with insurrection, only unlawful entry. It was a riot, period.

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