Earlier today at an anti-hate crime rally at Queens College, Governor Kathy Hochul announced nearly $16 million in grants to strengthen safety and security measures at buildings owned or operated by nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs, or missions. A total of 205 organizations received 327 grants, which are available through the state’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program and administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The funding will allow synagogues, churches, religious schools, civic organizations, and other nonprofit organizations to secure their facilities and better protect individuals and families they serve. Additionally, the FY 2023 Enacted Budget directs $25 million towards grants and increases the reimbursement cap for victims of hate crimes by $2,000.
VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Great to be here. Mr. President, thank you for such a warm welcome and what an authoritative voice he has. That’s a voice for radio and being president of a college, we agree with that? So great to see you again, Frank, and to make us feel welcome on this spectacular campus and to the students who joined us. I know there are a number of students here as well, and I want to thank them, the joyous high school students. I want to acknowledge some of the people in the audience before I tell you why I’m here and what’s really in my heart.
First of all, to our Congresswoman, Grace Meng, she has spoken up on behalf of the people of her community, all communities who face discrimination, hatred, so eloquently on the floor of the United States Congress, she is a champion and advocate for everyone. Let’s give a huge round of applause to my friend, Grace Meng.
Our Borough President, who is so proud to represent the most diverse place I think on the planet; if not, I’m going to declare it, okay? Donovan Richards, a great friend and ally as well. And Senator Toby Savisky, who I got to know way back in 2014 at many rallies. And she took me to meet the individuals of her district, the small business owners who were suffering even back then. And she’s a great champion for our businesses, as well as our community. Senator Toby Stavisky.
Assemblymember Nily Rozic, Assemblymember Dan Rosenthal, I’m sorry the budget was a little late, but it’s definitely worth it. But you are great champions for both of your communities as well. And I want to thank you, Assemblymembers for the work that you do. As well as we have Rabbi Joe Potasnik, the New York Board of Rabbis, who was at every significant event in this city. I see him more than I see my husband, because he is everywhere. I don’t know if you’ve heard this Rabbi, but my husband actually says “The only difference between me and God, is God is everywhere. I’m everywhere but home.” So that’s, that’s pretty much an accurate statement, so great to see you, Rabbi.
And of course, a true champion for the Asian community is someone I’ve met under good circumstances and very painful circumstances. And that is Jo-Ann Yoo, the Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. And you’ll have a chance to hear from these great individuals as we continue this rally of hope. Yes, we use the word hate, but to me, this is a rally of hope. It’s a rally that shows our true values as New Yorkers, that we wear them out there.
And it’s not just for us. It’s for little girls like this young woman in the front. What’s her name? You, little girl? Hi sweetheart. Look at her “End Asian Violence” sign. I want her to grow up in a world where she’ll look back at pictures of this event and say, “What was that all about? Because I never experienced that in my life, going forward. My children never do experience this going forward.” That is the New York that we are striving for. So little girls like this can grow up in a hate free state and hate free country. So it is amazing to be here, to see New Yorkers of every race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, all in solidarity against hate. And this is what New York looks like. Look out at the audience. This is New York. This is New York at its greatest. And this sends a message across the United States, that we embrace our diversity. This is what makes us so fascinating. This is why we’re such a beacon of hope to people from all over the world, because we can live and coexistence peacefully and stand together. When one community is under attack, we stand united and we stand strong. And that is what’s going on here today.
That’s why I am so proud to be your Governor and say, we see acts of hate, it hurts all of us as human beings. It doesn’t matter the victim. These are all children of our state, people of our state, and we care about them deeply.
So many of our neighbors have been attacked or degraded simply for the act of walking down a street, being on a subway, worshiping in a synagogue, going to school at a yeshiva, going out to just conduct their everyday lives. Too many of our Jewish brothers have had to suffer the indignity of torment for being spit upon just by wearing a yamaka.
And I think about when I went to a yeshiva about a year ago and there had just been an attack on the streets and a young boy came up to me and he says, my friends say maybe I shouldn’t wear my yamaka. Maybe I shouldn’t wear this because that means people will target me and attack me. And I said, no, no, my son, you wear that with pride because your ancestors never gave up. They never forgot. And that is a strength that you wear for the rest of your life, a statement, and you will not bow to hatred.
And then I think about other families that have suffered. Victims of crimes. I had to go to a hospital last night I spent about the longest embrace I’ve ever had in my life, and that includes my own children. There was a woman who was waiting to hear word the outcome of her son’s surgery. A Chinese woman. Didn’t know a word of English. And she had sat there alone all day in the hospital. Not sure what happened to her son who was simply on his way to school yesterday on the subway.
And I walked in and she was sweating. She was still wearing the heavy coat that she had worn in the morning. Never even had a chance to take it off. She was just sitting there in the waiting room all alone, and she cried, and she cried, and we had a translator. And I hugged her and then she squeezed me back and she wouldn’t let go of me because this woman was in such pain. Such pain. It was real, it was raw. And it broke my heart as I stood there.
And through a translator, she says, I’m all alone. All I have is my son. If anything happens to my son, I have nothing. And then she even said she had just lost her job as a home health care aid. She said, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know if my son’s going to make it. I brought the doctor in, the doctor consoled her, said your son’s going to be okay. It was a wound to his thumb and he’s going to heal it. He’s going to be okay. But raw human beings. Someone else’s pain we absorb as our own, whether it’s an act of antisemitism, anti-Asian hate, what happens to our black and brown communities more often. Our LGBTQ community suffering indignities, under assault in other states simply wanting to live their lives. My God, what have we come to?
But then I come here and I see all of you committed to changing that, giving up your time today to sit here and stand here as we shout, there is no hate in our state.
This is over my friends. We are standing up against hatred and bigotry and anti-Semitism and racism and sexism. We are standing up against it because we are New York. We are New York and we will continue to stand up against it.
And more than just talk about it, I’m going to talk to you about what action is all about. Okay. Let’s talk about where I have some real control along with our very thoughtful educator legislators who wanted this to happen as well. And I thank them again for their leadership. And our state legislature.
So we used the Budget, the New York State Budget as a document that reflects our priorities as New Yorkers. Where we put our money shows who we’re fighting for. And let me give you some numbers, cause you’re going to like these numbers, my friends.
First of all, we’re expanding benefits for victims of hate crimes. At one time it was $500, it’s been that number since 1994. I think the cost of living has gone up a little since then. It’s gone up in the last month. We increased that to $2,500 for victims to be compensated.
We also with a lot of discussion and debate and a lot of give and take. We expanded arrest eligibility for hate crimes, because that was not covered before.
We also have to secure the infrastructure. Infrastructure, what does that mean? It means security cameras. It means protection. It means identifying our vulnerable locations. So we are allocating $25 million for communities against hate crime grants. And today I’m not naming the organizations because they need to have their security protected, but of that we’re allocating $16 million today and you’ll be notified if you’re one of those recipients. 80% of which is going toward the Jewish community. We have $20 million directly for the Asian American communities, $10 million for hate crimes, $10 million for additional social services. We can help people heal, let’s focus on that.
So we’ll see what happens. These are investments to protect our vulnerable venues, especially as we enter the beautiful time of Passover and people come together and gather. And as we did during the Lunar New Year celebrations, we had a chance to be there and celebrate.
So I’m just going to say one more thing. We can do this. You know, we can do this. We can go forth from here today and start to change the hearts and minds of other New Yorkers by our example, by our example, we leave fearless from here.
I come from a tough part of our state. I got to tell you right now, I’m used to a good fight if anybody ever questions the spirit in me, and when anyone attacks a fellow New Yorker, any one of my 20 million family members they’re attacking me personally. And I don’t like to be attacked. I’m coming after them. I’m going to continue to work with our law enforcement, our District Attorney, Melinda Katz, who couldn’t be here today, but she wanted to be here. She’s here in spirit, as well as all of our members of law enforcement who are helping protect our individuals in our streets.
Are we ready to end hate in the state of New York? Are you ready to stand up against hate? Are you ready to stand up against anti-Semitism. Are you ready to stand up against bigotry? Are you ready to stand up for New Yorkers? Let’s do this my friends, hate has no place in our home. Hate has no place in our state. Thank you everybody. Thank you very much.