By Gretchen Berger
Manhattan Democrats held a “Rally to Wake Up the Dems!” in Verdi Square (72 & Broadway) on Sunday afternoon, targeting key races in the November midterm elections for city, state, and national offices.
Organized by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, the rally started with the Harlem Samba Percussion Ensemble, warming up the crowd with some spicy samba rhythms. People filled most of the square, with many carrying signs supporting Kathy Hochul for Governor and Antonio Delgado for Lieutenant Governor.
Although Gov. Hochul was supposed to be the featured speaker, she did not attend, canceling at the last minute due to “scheduling problems,” according to one of Levine’s staffers.
But there were others there running in key races, including Jerrold Nadler for United States Congress, Letitia James for New York State Attorney General, and several New York State assembly members and senators.
On the sidelines, also making their presence known — loudly and sometimes aggressively — was a group of Republicans, primarily, Lee Zeldin supporters. Some repeatedly interrupted and tried to shout down speakers, using obscenities. A few got physical with attendees around them, and one man jumped on the stage but was immediately removed by the police, who were there in force.
Speakers included BP Mark Levine, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, NYS Attorney General Letitia James, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, State Senators Brad Hoylman, Dick Gottfried, and Jose Serrano, and City Councilmembers Sean Abreu and Gale Brewer. Numerous Democratic clubs were represented, such as the West Side Democrats, the Columbia University Democrats, the Manhattan Democrats, the Eleanor Roosevelt Democrats, Three Parks Democrats, and others.
Topics covered included: protecting democracy; voting rights and suppression; reproductive and abortion rights; gun safely; education funding; LGBTQ+ rights; fair and affordable housing; clean air and climate change; labor unions and workers’ rights.