After a full week without public events, Bill de Blasio emerged Saturday morning at Rev. Al Sharpton’s weekly National Action Network rally in Harlem, where the new mayor-elect rallied cheering supporters with a promise of “aggressive” progressive change.
And in order to effect change, Mr. de Blasio stressed that he would need the audience to stick with him in the fight.
“I’m going to need you every step of the way,” he told the crowd, citing his plans to tax-the-rich and curtail the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactic. “The Rev is my witness: I will not be shy about coming back here and saying, ‘Now it’s time. I need you to make your voices heard.’ Because we are going to get on with a very, not only progressive, but aggressive agenda.”
Mr. de Blasio nevertheless cautioned that there would be “powerful forces” mobilizing against him and that enacting his progressive agenda would not be easy. (Speaking to reporters after the event, Mr. de Blasio said getting elected was “in many ways the easy part” of the process.)
“We have seen too many times that we achieve a great election victory and then forget that it’s just the beginning of the work,” he told the audience. “Progressive change is not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s called ‘progressive change’ for a reason. Implicitly, it means we’re moving away from the status quo and that status quo has a lot of people invested in it–and powerful people and powerful forces.”
His comments were echoed by Mr. Sharpton, who also asked National Action Network members to stay involved in the politics of governance.
“We must now go from [the] campaign to governin’. And governing is a different kind of discipline,” said Mr. Sharpton. “Like the old saying, ‘A dog can catch the truck, but can he drive it?’ We’ve shown we can track down this truck called New York. Now we got to show we know how to drive this truck in a direction that works for all.”
Still, Mr. Sharpton said that Mr. de Blasio would not fix all of the city’s ills and there would be times the two disagree.
“We understand that we have not elected a savior, we’ve elected a mayor,” he said. “Bill de Blasio will not walk on water on the Hudson. But he will, in my opinion, bring a new day of progress.”