Connections Win Elections
2021 New York City Mayoral Campaign
The campaign message was clear: At this moment of recovery and renewal, voters need our government to deliver for us. We are much more interested in tangible solutions. We are interested in subway and street safety, improving schools, and keeping our streets clean.
Enter a candidate who fought through poverty and racism, one of six children, born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens by a single mother who cleaned houses for a living, later beaten by police in the basement of a precinct house at 15; a man who, instead of giving in to anger, turned pain into purpose and decided to change the police department from within.
Decades later this man gathered a historic coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Caribbeans, Pacific Islanders, Russians, and Union workers along with immigrant working-class people and consolidated them to forge his path to win one of the most important elected positions in the United States, Mayor of New York City.
Eric Adams won the General Election on November 2nd, and Grassroots Strategies™ helped to write that chapter in the history of New York City.
Teaching moments during the 2021 primary campaign:
May 4: City Hall Park: Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant who in 1997 was attacked, brutalized, and sexually assaulted by NYPD officers, publicly endorses Eric Adams for Mayor of New York City. For all immigrants and New Yorkers who believe in recovery, this was an emotional moment; an event signifying recovery, resiliency, and renewal. Twenty-four years after the violent events that marked his life, Louima was back in New York City to show his support for a blue-collar candidate who had lived through his own story of police abuse.
June 1: Eric Adams appears at the Spofford juvenile detention center in the Bronx for a press conference, a location personally significant to him since Eric had been held here after being arrested at 15 years old. Now a mayoral candidate, Eric detailed his plan to improve outcomes for young people in the juvenile justice system.
Events Are Unpredictable: A driver who had parked his car in the location of our press conference was asked to move his vehicle by the NYPD. Tensions were raised, and soon a conflict seemed to be unavoidable. But we learned a great lesson on community conflict de-escalation that day; after Eric arrived and was briefed about the situation, we walked together, with no detail security, straight to the driver and his friends shouting insults half a block away.
Trust was built at the spot, based on an honest exchange of points of view and a discussion about the legitimate reasons community members are upset with a system that often views minorities through a different lens. Slowly, the initial animosity from these Bronx residents shifted as their willingness to share their concerns and frustration was patiently met with respect and attention by a man poised to be the next mayor of their city.
When a situation like this, heading toward violence, instead ends in a handshake and an invitation to be part of the solution, you are proud to recognize that you are working with an authentic leader.
We were there, every day and night, with the blue-collar workers, immigrants, and minority communities of the five boroughs of New York City helping them to elect their Democratic Mayoral nominee for the greatest city in the world.
And for Grassroots Strategies™, we are just getting started.