Mayor Bill de Blasio: Buenos días, Familia de Fe.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
First, I want to give honor to God, without him this day would not be possible. And it is a joy to be here with you at Familia de Fe. This is a beautiful faith community. This is a powerful faith community.
This is a community blessed to have the leadership of Pastor Perez and Pastor Perez. Two great leaders.
And this is a community who cares for each other. You are in fact your brother’s keeper. Thank you for all you do for immigrants, to help people who are working so hard to be a part of this society against such great challenges. Thank you for what you’re doing to fight COVID-19 by distributing masks to people who need them. And thank you especially for giving hope in a time when people need hope so much.
Pastor Perez, I was moved to hear that my team has worked so well with you. Because in our City Hall we believe that if we want to reach the people, we need to work with faith communities because people of faith are also people who help others. So, I come here today first to thank you, and then I come here to reflect on what we’ve had to do together this year.
Remember when this pandemic struck, we had experienced nothing like it before. And this city was the epicenter for this entire country. And so many people said that there was no way that New York City could fight back this virus. But you had a different idea. You, by your actions, did fight back. This spring was a very hard time. By the summer we were the safest place in the United States of America. We went from worst to first. Scripture tells us, most powerfully, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. And we put those words into action here in New York City. Time and time again we beat the odds.
But now we face another challenge. A second wave of this virus is attacking us. But this is not the time to feel defeated because we have fought it before and we have won, and we will fight it again and we will win. Do you know it? Do you feel it?
We have shown in this city a strength. We have shown in this city that we work together. Everyone who wears a mask, helps each other.
And in this holiday season, we will help each other again. These holidays will be difficult. We won’t get to travel the way we want to, we like to. We won’t get to see all the loved ones we miss. And I want to say this personally to you – in my whole life I have always seen my whole families at the holidays. This will be the first time in my life that it won’t be true. It makes me sad. I can feel the absence already. But I know it is the right thing to do because I love them so much, I want to keep them safe. I’m going to say it again – I love them so much I want to keep them safe.
And there will be holidays again. 2020 is not the last year of our lives. In 2021, we will all be back together.
So, we will sacrifice for one year so all the years ahead can be better. We will sacrifice for one year so we can have our whole family around the table next year. When we sacrifice, we show faith that something better is coming. And this, we will do together.
I’ll conclude with a simple point. Some people already are saying our city will not come back. Those people in scripture are called, doubting Thomases. And one person said to me recently, he asked an innocent question. He said, will New York City ever regain its past glory? And I said, I’m sorry, I believe that’s the wrong question. Because we love New York City, we celebrate all that’s great about New York City, but we need to make some things better in New York City.
Even before the pandemic we needed to make some things better in New York City. We need more respect for immigrants in New York City. We need more affordable housing in New York City. We need more opportunities in New York City. There are so many things that we can do better. And so, this crisis is not an end. We must see it as a beginning.
So, to the person who asked me the questions, I said, no, that’s the wrong question. I said the question is not can we regain our past glory. The question is how do we reach our greater glory?
How do we go even farther?
How do we get stronger? How do we create a community that is even closer? That is all of our mission. And it is a mission we will achieve. I believe in each of you. I believe in the people of New York City. I believe the best is yet to come.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]