NYC Mayor: Economic Equality 'Can't Wait'

by Associated Press
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Bill de Blasio, Flickr

Mayor de Blasio spoke at MLK tributes Monday.

New York City's new mayor marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by talking about economic equality.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told a packed audience Monday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music that the "price of inequality has deepened."

Economic inequality "is closing doors for hard-working people in this city and all over this country," the mayor said. "We have a city sadly divided between those with opportunity, with the means to fully partake of that opportunity, and those whose dreams of a better life are being deferred again and again."

Citing King, De Blasio said, "We can't wait."

The mayor ran on a platform to battle the city's income inequality, which he dubbed "the tale of two cities."

He was joined by his wife, Chirlane McCray; New York's senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand; and the newly elected Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams.

The event was dedicated to the late Nelson Mandela. The keynote speaker at the event was professor, political activist and former radical Angela Davis.

Afterward, the mayor and McCray joined a small assembly line of mostly volunteers preparing meals for the hungry at the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry in West Harlem run by New York's Food Bank, one of the nation's largest hunger-relief organizations.

"You're making a big impact in people's lives," he told a group of Girls Scouts from Troop 2260 in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The couple stood side by side next to the children and a handful of adult volunteers stuffing complete meals from boxes into brown paper bags that will be distributed later to New Yorkers in need. The food included ham-and-cheese sandwiches, juice, chips, cookies and a few other items.

"This is the day when we think about the meaning of Dr. King and what I think is so important, never to see his teachings as something in the past, or something that's just a part of history in a museum - but to live them," the mayor said. "They were meant to be lived."

According to the food bank, 2.6 million New Yorkers face difficulty feeding themselves - a number that is rising as food supplies drop and food costs rise.

The food bank distributes about 400,000 free meals each day.
 

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