Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, speaking Monday at the National Action Network's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, tested some of the themes of her 2020 presidential campaign, pledging solidarity with her predominately African-American audience.
“White women like me must ... commit to amplify your voices,” Gillibrand said. “We have to join you on the battlefield for justice for all.”
Gillibrand focused on the need to address institutional racism and highlighted her Catholic faith and her experience as a mother.
“As a person of deep faith who has been called to public service, I look at Dr. King for inspiration, because his call to action was personal,” she said, adding that “as a person of faith and as a mother, I cannot sit idly by. I will fight for your children as hard as I will fight for my own.”
Gillibrand has been a regular at the event since she became the presumptive replacement for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat a decade ago. It always attracts a star-studded political crowd, which this year included former Mayor David Dinkins, current Mayor Bill de Blasio and five members of Congress.
“One thing I’ve learned is don’t underestimate her,” said the event's host, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who referred to Gillibrand as “the junior senator and senior candidate for president.”
Her remarks were light on policy specifics, but she referenced universal health care, criminal justice reform and voting reform and the need to push back against the influence of special interests on lawmakers who “write legislation in the dead of night.”
Gillibrand assailed her fellow New Yorker, President Donald Trump. She said he "has chosen to tear this country apart."
“He has added fuel to a very ugly fire,” she said.
She quoted from a letter from St. Paul to the Ephesians, imploring those assembled to put on “the full armor of God” and “the belt of truth” before preparing for a struggle.
“I feel very called to do what is right, and to fight,” she said.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine]]>