On January 1, 2014, Bill de Blasio, 52, was inaugurated as the 109th Mayor of New York City.
Twelve hours prior to the City Hall ceremony, de Blasio took the oath of office in a modest ceremony outside his Brooklyn residence, with his wife, Chirlane McCray, and children, Chiara and Dante de Blasio, by his side. The swearing in was officiated by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The inauguration ceremony however, was of grand proportions. Former President of The United States Bill Clinton, performed the swearing in of New York City’s new mayor.
Accompanying Clinton, in attendance was his wife and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Entertainer/activist Harry Belafonte was on hand to deliver the opening remarks. Also sworn in to hold citywide offices were, Letitia James as public advocate and Scott Stringer as comptroller. While some spectators looked on from across the street of the City Hall, many crowded the corners of Broadway and Murray Street in protest.
In a less than harmonious transition from former mayor Bloomberg to de Blasio, there was a score of New Yorkers, cornered off by police, black SUV’s and a gated entrance cementing this notion.
The song ‘I’m Every Woman’ by Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T echoed across the street from the City Hall and what seemed like a show of unity and progression was severely contrasted by protesters voicing their frustrations. Many spoke out about issues ranging from “income inequality” amongst New York citizens, the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy, the “prevention and treatment of the HIV/AIDS virus” and it’s toll in New York City’s communities.
“The poor people aren’t allowed in the seats”, a man said. “I’m a disgruntled New York City employee that hasn’t been given his job back. I’m a teacher. They fired me for teaching the truth about what’s going on in the city, about ‘stop and frisk’, about the brutality of the police department…about the education our kids should be receiving. I just wanna’ go back to teach. de Blasio can drop the appeal.” A Prioritize HIV/AIDS Prevention group chanted in call and response to remove New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley with a sign that read:
Commissioner Farley MUST GO
The crowd shouted, “We want a new Health Commissioner. One who understands HIV prevention and treatment. We want PrEP (Pre-Exposure-Prophylaxis). We want a public health campaign that promotes PrEP and prevention.” The group proceeded to do just as their sign stated “Act up” by lying on the ground face up with their signs raised above them. Decades of Republican mayoral administrations in New York City have widened the wealth gap and have apparently heighted sensitivity regarding the expectations of Mayor De Blasio.
“Keep your promises” was the most repeated point on the cold streets New Years Day just parallel to the celebratory inauguration that headlined “Progress” as its campaign and term initiative.