Rally to call for N.Y.'s first black woman Senate majority leader

Share on

Public leaders will hold a rally in support of making Democrat Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins the Senate's first black

ALBANY - Frustrated public officials and community leaders on Monday will hold a Harlem rally in support of making Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins the chamber's first black woman majority leader.

The rally takes on even more significance after hedge fund manager and charter school advocate Daniel Loeb on Thursday angered many Democrats with a Facebook post that accused Stewart-Cousins of having done "more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood" by supporting public teacher unions over charter schools.

"Loeb's comments remind us that race is still an issue," said state Sen. Brian Benjamin, a Harlem Democrat who organized Monday's event. "We can't ignore it. What he did was remind people there are some structural issues that have made it harder for people of color to ascend to leadership."

The Democrats have 32 members in the Senate, enough for a majority. But they do not control the chamber thanks to nine breakaway Democrats. One, Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder, actually caucuses with the Republicans. The other eight, known as the Independent Democratic Conference, make up a leadership coalition with the GOP.

By focusing on the racial implications of keeping Stewart-Cousins from ascending to majority leader, Monday's rally marks the latest escalation by frustrated progressive Democrats.

Among those scheduled to attend, according to organizers, are former long-time Rep. Charles Rangel; Brooklyn Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke; Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church and president of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury; and New York NAACP head Hazel Dukes.   A Senate Republican spokesman had no comment.

Plans for the rally were in place before Loeb late last week took his shot on social media at Stewart-Cousins.

rally-to-call-for-nys-first-black-woman-senate-majority-leader photo 1

The rally takes on even more significance after hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb on Thursday angered many Democrats with a controversial Facebook post involving Stewart-Cousins.

(Andrew Kelly/REUTERS)

His statement, apparently referencing the Ku Klux Klan, also applauded Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein, the head of the Independent Democratic Conference, and others who "stand for educational choice and support Charter funding that leads to economic mobility and opportunity for poor knack kids."

"Knack" appeared to be a typo for "black."

After the post kicked up controversy, Loeb took it down and issued an apology. But that wasn't enough for many Democrats.

"Our main point is, we understand the historic nature of Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins becoming the first African American woman leader of the state Senate," Benjamin said. "We want to get African American leaders to say, 'We're going to fight for this to make sure it occurs.'"

The flyer advertising the event says that "together, we will tear down the walls of discrimination working to stymy this historic moment for women, Communities of Color & democracy."

Share on
Article Rally to call for N.Y.'s first black woman Senate majority leader compiled by www.nydailynews.com

You might also like