NYS Attorney General Letitia James, on Feb. 28, swore in Brooklyn Assembly Member Monique Chandler-Waterman to her first term in the NYS Assembly District 58, during an evening of pomp and ceremony at the inaugural gala.
Before administering the oath in the Holy Family R. C. Church Annex on Flatlands Avenue, James decried the tragic death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, saying that Waterman has heard the mourns of mothers who lost sons and daughters in her district.
“We have been fighting the wrongs to shine a light on injustice. The dead cannot speak out for injustice it’s up to all of us to use our voices that God has given us to speak out for justice. That is what this sister does every day,” said James.
“Monique has been walking the path of justice for a very long time. She takes up the mantle proclaiming change for those who are marching in Brooklyn and in Memphis, marching in the spirit of Harriet Tubman Shirley Chisholm, and Yvette Clarke,” added the attorney general.
“She fought to expand quality childcare and to improve youth programs to save our children. She has worked tirelessly to bolster community programs to combat gang and gun violence. She has worked with my office to take guns off the streets of Brooklyn and all throughout the city in the state of New York,” said James.
“We are fortunate to have her zeal and expert service in the 58 District. These issues are not new to her, they are true to her,” said James, boasting of Chandler’s accomplishments, from Buffalo to Brooklyn.
“Today she steps into the shoes of Nick Perry who serves in Jamaica but will make her own mark. That’s why we want to applaud Monique,” expressed James.
Chandler Waterman, an educator, community activist and advocate-turned-politician who received blessings from more than 40 clergy members, that included Pastor Michelle Mota, Rabbi Joseph Patasnik, Imam Osama Ahmed, Rev. Edward R. P K, and Rev. Dr. Charles Galbreath, noted that she is the first black woman to be elected to District 58.
“I stand on the foundation made by my predecessor Nick Perry, my mentor,” said Waterman, also naming Jumaane Williams,and many others who supported her campaigned for office. “I am blessed,” she said, and boasted about her record as an advocate for public health, especially mental health.
The feisty politician promised to continue her fight for justice for all, denouncing the violence perpetrated on black people by police officers. “Tyre Nichols was unarmed and beaten to death 100 yards from his home,” she said, and questioned the injustice perpetrated on the victim.
She called on members of the assembly district 58 task force mental health team, mothers’ fathers, families to protect their own mental health and that of victims and called on the community impacted by gun violence and mental issues, to call 988 for assistance.
“Let’s educate ourselves on how to take effective measures. We are working to form partnerships and push legislation to support mental health,” said Waterman, adding that along with state agencies and non-profits, events will take place in the district, such as basketball tournaments, food distribution and others, as she tackles quality of life issues.
She emphasized the importance of ending gun violence through higher education and community-based relationships.
Speaker of the NYS Assembly Carl E. Heastie said Waterman will make the city and state a better place while she is a member of the Assembly.
“When you see Monique, don’t complain about the things she hasn’t accomplished yet, congratulate her for the things she will do,” said Heastie.
Hakeem Jeffries, the first black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress, lauded Waterman for her highest degree of integrity and work ethic, noting that she will do an amazing job in the Assembly. He said with love and partnership, the best is yet to come from the assembly member.
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke called Waterman a sister of excellence. She said the community had the wisdom to look at the work ethic, passion, and power she has, and elected her to represent the district.
“I have always been impressed prior to her work in public office. Of how she rolled up her sleeves, unassuming, not looking for accolades but doing the work in the community, rushing in while everyone else was rushing out.”
“She turned lives around, that is the love and type of passion that she has for serving our community. That would be translated into law, advocacy, and activism in Albany,” said Clarke, adding that Waterman will use her experience to help those who are overlooked, misunderstood, and castigated.
“I am excited that there is another sister in office. She is skilled and have all the tools, the intellect and ability to make a difference in the lives of the people in the 58 District. She will build upon a legacy left by her predecessor,” said Clarke.
NYS Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, applauded Waterman, and told her she can get into good trouble, quoting late politician John Lewis, and to go out and seek justice for all, noting that what she does speaks volumes of who she is.
Sen. Zellnor Myrie, described Waterman as a person of integrity, who is constantly on the ground working, and is already seeking a seat at the table of the gun violence committee in Albany.
Senator Roxanne Persaud in turn, lauded Waterman, for her work ethic, noting that she came to Albany to slay, is hardworking, and someone who continues to fight for people on the streets.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams reiterated that Waterman and her incredible family are amazing. She was doing all the work before being elected. “This is the type of person you want as an elected official,” said Williams, adding that she is a powerful force in the community, and has the ability, to stand tall.
The Assembly Member Waterman, surrounded by family, received heartfelt support from a packed audience, that included colleagues, AM Carolina Cruz, Sen. John C. Liu, CM Mercedes Narcisse, AM Brian Benjamin, Chief-of-Staff, Chinua Duke, and many others.
The evening was highlighted with dance, music, a marching band, honor guards from her alma mater, PS 135, and emceed by Minister Nicole Langlaise.