New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dished out food and a message on Christmas Eve, likening the political left’s struggle against President-elect Donald Trump to the resistance faced by early Christians in the time of Jesus.
Addressing hundreds about to be served a meal of fried fish, turkey meatloaf, stuffing, an assortment of sweets and more at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s annual Christmastime buffet in Harlem, de Blasio said the struggle takes on a special poignancy on the holidays.
“The early Christians didn’t exactly have it easy,” de Blasio told the crowd, which snaked through Sharpton’s storefront headquarters and out the door down 145th Street. “They were surrounded by hostile powers. They were shunned. They were oppressed. But they believed in something. They found a way to spread their message. I’m sure 2,000 years ago, they never thought they could go as far as they have.”
The mayor has promised to resist the implementation of some of Trump’s campaign promises, including rounding up and deporting illegal immigrants, creating a Muslim registry and resuscitating and nationalizing the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.
“I don’t feel belittled and small because of a single election,” de Blasio said.
“That’s right!” a man in the audience said.
Both Sharpton and de Blasio, who backed Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, have held discussions with Trump since the election.
“We can lose an election, but we can’t be Trumped!” Sharpton said.
Sharpton and others from his National Action Network commemorated Christmas with the annual meal, in addition to a toy giveaway for needy children. They were joined by Gwen Carr, whose son Eric Garner was killed by a police officer in 2014 in what the city medical examiner ruled was a banned chokehold during a confrontation over illicit cigarettes. Garner was from Staten Island.
“I wish he was here with me today asking me, ‘Well, Ma, what time are we leaving to go to whatever relative’s house we would be going to?’ ” Carr said. “I miss that every Christmas, because he was a big lover of Christmas.”
She said that the left shouldn’t be discouraged by Trump’s election and that she hopes that “our people — all people — move forward.”
“This has happened to us before,” Carr said. “Don’t panic. We got to be in the fight. We gotta ask ourselves, ‘Are we worriers or are we warriors?’ ”