May 12, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams: You know, as I join here today, and I watch some of our graduates voicing their desire of peaceful protests, here's my question that I ask all of you, a question I've been asking throughout the entire year. There's a tribe in Africa called the Maasai Tribe. It doesn't greet each other by saying good morning or hello. They ask the question, how are the children? How are the children?
Based on that answer, you can determine the impact of a nation, a tribe, a city, or country. How are the children? We're watching depression among young people increase at an alarming rate. How are the children? We're watching fentanyl taking the lives of so many people. How are the children? We are watching the level of gun violence in our city. How are the children? We're watching a clear lack of desire to even participate in healthy dialogue. How are the children?
These graduates that are here, that are now going to go into the field of law, some of them are going to craft policies on healthcare, some of them are going to work with the elected officials to determine legislation, some of them are going to move on, and even fill the role of what it is to be a public figure. Let's be clear, for 22 years of my life, I wore a bulletproof vest and protected the children and families of this city as a police officer.
So, I know what it is. I know what it takes to hold this city together. And we have a lot of challenges, a lot of things that need discipline. And just as you see these graduates here, I know what it is to protest. I protested when Amadou Diallo, I protested with Zango, I protested as 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. I protested to stand up for things that are right. But I'm not the mayor because I know how to protest. I'm the mayor because I know how to speak on behalf of the countless number of people in this city.
And my message today to the graduates, my message to those who believe that their beliefs are the only beliefs in a diversified city like New York, my message to you, instead of being a detached spectator in the full contact sport called life, get on the field and participate about improving the lives of the people of this city, something that I will continue to do and encourage the graduates to do.
These are exciting times, CUNY grads. These are exciting times. And we know we can move this city forward as we deal with the issues around immigration, the issues around public safety, the issues around how do we build a better city for all.
And so, I look forward to the future of these graduates that are here today. And those of you who are here, sitting here celebrating this amazing journey, I thank you. I thank you for what you have accomplished. Use your power and skill, not to yell, but to quell the burning desire that we have. Congratulations to you. Look forward to the future of graduation. Thank you very much.