New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council Member Mercedes Narcisse on Wednesday welcomed Adrienne Adams as the new Speaker of the New York City Council, the first African-American Council Member to become Speaker of the City’s 51-member legislative body.
“Congratulations to Speaker Adrienne Adams on being officially selected to serve as the leader of the City Council,” said Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants. “Achieving this position requires earning the trust of your colleagues in government and the people of the City. I know from our years of partnership that she will be a strong steward of both, advancing justice and equity in our city’s laws and systems.
“To finally have a Black Speaker, a Black woman, leading the body and setting the course for the Council and the City, is as powerful as it is overdue,” added Williams, a candidate for Governor of New York in June’s Democratic Primary. “It is important to have diverse leadership in which New Yorkers can see themselves, leadership ready to take on this moment; and, in Speaker Adams, the Council will have a leader that meets both needs.
“This is a momentous day in the history of the body and of our city,” he continued. “To hear Speaker Adams’ voice in the chamber sends a powerful message, echoing from Southeast Queens to neighborhoods around the City, empowering the New Yorkers we represent and serve.”
Williams said that assuming leadership in a time of immense challenges requires “courage,” stating that “it is critical that we simultaneously overcome new obstacles, ongoing issues and longstanding systems that have perpetuated many problems that our City faces.
“I am confident that under Speaker Adams’ leadership, with unity and resolve, we can create transformational change, and I look forward to joining her in leading our City through recovery and renewal,” he said.
Narcisse, a Haitian-born, newly-elected member of the City Council, said it was her “immense pleasure to be part of this historic day in the New York City Council.
“I congratulate our new Speaker, Councilwoman Adrienne E. Adams and look forward to working with her to create an equitable City government that serves all New Yorkers,” said Narcisse, who represents the 46th Council District in Brooklyn, which includes the neighborhoods of Canarsie and Flatlands.
“While I know the phenomenal woman who we elected Speaker today hails from Queens, as a Brooklyn girl I wanted to take a moment to salute another queen hailing from the borough of Kings, whose shoulders we stand on,” added Narcisse. Councilwoman Mary Pinkett, who served in this body from 1974 to 2001, making history as the first Black New York City Councilwoman, certainly is smiling down on us today.
“Councilwoman Pinkett made quite the crack in that proverbial glass ceiling, and we shouldn’t let this historic day fade into history without honoring her legacy,” she continued. “Today, I joined this legislative body, 31 women strong, to make history, as we take a sledgehammer to that same glass ceiling.”
Narcisse described Speaker Adams, just like the late Councilwoman Pickett, as “a history maker.”
“As a fierce advocate, I am confident that she will be a pivotal force, a catalyst for change and a voice of the voiceless,” she said. “I love this City. I love my people. I love my community, and I love the 46th Council District which is why, today, I proudly voted for Councilwoman Adrienne E. Adams to be the next Speaker of the New York City Council.”
On her election as Speaker on Wednesday, Adams told the City Council that she was “humbled to have the support of my colleagues.
“Today is a historic moment for so many reasons, and I am honored to serve as the first African American Speaker in a Council that truly represents New York City in 2022,” she said. “This Council has many challenges ahead as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic and the issues it punctuated.
“By working together, we can improve the lives of New Yorkers in a meaningful way for generations to come,” said Speaker Adams, who represents Council District 28 in Queens, which covers the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.
During the last legislative session, Speaker Adams served as chair of the Committee on Public Safety, which has oversight over the New York Police Department.
Before being appointed to chair the Committee on Public Safety, Adams was chair of the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions.
She also served as co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC).