The call for Governor Andrew Cuomo to be removed from office is growing with one collective cry that reverberated through Downtown Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.
An army of protest organizers, elected officials, candidates running for office, and community members rallied beneath the Washington Square Arch and pounding sun in Lower Manhattan where they demanded Cuomo undergo impeachment proceedings as soon as possible. Between 300 and 400 individuals encircled speakers such as Assembly member Ron Kim and State Senator Jabari Brisport who not only called for the Governor’s immediate removal, but also took the embattled head of state to task for the lack of resources aiding the homeless community, essential workers who did not receive any stimulus help, and the thousands of nursing home seniors who died from COVID-19 exposure. Onlookers unleashed a cacophony of cheers as one by one those in attendance declared it is time for Cuomo to go.
“We are gathered under this beautiful sun learning of yet another woman now actively in Governor Cuomo’s office is being sexual violated by the Governor of New York State,” Jawamza James Williams, the director of organizing at Vocal NY said.
Williams is no stranger to protesting Cuomo, in fact he was arrested on March 10th for blocking the road outside of the Governor’s Midtown office in an attempt to garner attention for the hardships faced by the homeless, in addition to the standing in solidarity with the now nine women who have come forward accusing Cuomo of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior, one of whom spoke to the crowd. Lindsey Boylan—the very first accuser to bring these issues to light and candidate for Manhattan Borough President—told those gathered that there is more to her than just being another name in the laundry list of alleged victims.
“If you have only learned my name in the last month please know I am much more than a story you heard in the news—all women are. I am here today because New York deserves a progressive government that will fight for working people, right now New York is in the midst of multiple crises but the powerful just aren’t delivering. We need affordable housing, we need climate change, we need equal pay and equal respect for equal work,” Boylan said, adding, “When the Governor should have been focused on leading us out of this pandemic, he was, instead, focused on covering up the deaths of 15,000 New Yorkers and smearing me and my reputation.”
Spectators gave Boylan a thunderous round of applause, but the rally did not end there. The masses came with strident, bellowing voices that were determined to be heard. Washing out from the archway like a wave bursting from a punctured dam, the protesters marched. Pounding makeshift drums, touting signs, and condemning Cuomo through megaphones, the tidal wave washed over the street, heading toward City Hall. Pedestrians stopped in their tracks and broke out their cellphones to record chants of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Andrew Cuomo has got to go,” “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” and “Tax the rich.”
Loud music was played from portable speakers throughout the 40 minutes it took for marchers to arrive outside the office of New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie located at 250 Broadway. Here they called on Heastie to begin the impeachment process. Rally members also called for the cancellation of rent and greater taxations on the wealthy.
The protest came to a conclusion with marchers laying across the roadway posing as corpses outside the office in a symbolic gesture of those who need financial assistance during this difficult time.