Williams' Statement On The Commemoration Of Independence Day

July 4th, 2023

Press Release

"As the nation marks its Independence Day, I am reminded of the founding truths declared on that day, words which envision principles that we have never achieved in reality, words that from inception excluded so many. Yet at our country’s best, we have been defined by the pursuit of those ideals – at our worst, by the deliberate denial of liberty to people viewed as lesser by the wealthy white men who created a country that preserved their power and privilege.

"What has given hope and inspiration to so many aspiring Americans across centuries – including my mother, who arrived in New York City on the Fourth of July many decades ago – is the promise of freedom, and the knowledge that while flawed, we have always strived to move forward. Today, though, particularly in the aftermath of disastrous Supreme Court decisions, it feels as though we are moving backward, further from those lofty ideals raised with the flag.

"As a son of immigrants, as a Black man, as a public servant in the city where so many people first came to this country, and so many diverse communities shape our culture, I hope and will work to see a city and an America that fully embodies the values of justice, equity, and opportunity that we have long proclaimed but never fully exemplified, even if at inception it was never really intended. That is the America that gives hope."

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