Release: 500+ Progressive Activists Rally at WFP Convention

For Immediate Release
May 19th, 2018

Working Families Party Candidates Rally 500+ Progressive Activists at WFP Convention in Harlem

Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams, Tom DiNapoli and IDC challengers formally accept the progressive party’s nomination and rally progressive base with an agenda to transform New York to work for the many.

Watch the full livestream video. See pictures posted from convention on social media.

Harlem, NY – Over 500 Working Families Party leaders and activists gathered at the historic First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem for the New York Working Families Party Convention, where the WFP’s slate of candidates rallied the progressive party’s base for the months ahead.

Cynthia Nixon, the Working Families Party candidate for Governor, was received with a standing ovation for her speech headlining the convention. She addressed the audience about her inspiration to become an activist and eventually run for Governor: “WFP founders Jon Kest and Bertha Lewis were the first ones to ask me eight years ago to consider running for Governor. Now, after eight years of Cuomo, and Trump in the White House, I couldn’t say no,” said Cynthia Nixon.

Nixon formally accepted the party’s nomination, and called the Working Families Party “the soul of the movement.” Nixon said, “I am proud to officially accept the nomination for Governor of New York from the Working Families Party. I’m ready to work alongside the thousands of WFP members and activists who will knock on doors and organize in their communities for a New York that belongs to all of us, not just the few.”

Jumaane Williams, the Working Families Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York, energized the crowd and vowed to become the “people’s Lieutenant Governor.”

“I am running to be the voice of the people in state government, and I could not be more proud to have the Working Families Party by my side. As the people’s Lieutenant Governor, I will be an independent advocate for all New Yorkers. I will make certain that our Governor and elected officials uphold their promises, and will hold them accountable for the actions they take. Together, we will ensure that New York State is a beacon for progressive leadership, equality, and justice for all,” said Williams.

During the convention, the hashtag #WFPConvention was trending across New York on Twitter.

Prior to the rally, NY WFP’s state committee met to formally issue the WFP endorsements for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Comptroller and Attorney General. Tom DiNapoli was nominated to be the Working Families Party candidate for Comptroller of the State of New York. Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams were overwhelmingly confirmed as the Governor and Lieutenant Governor Working Families Party candidates respectively.

In the contested Attorney General’s race, state committee members voiced support for both New York City Public Advocate Tish James and law professor Zephyr Teachout. The state committee voted overwhelming to award both candidates the authorization to run on the WFP ballot line in November.

“The bench of progressive leaders we’ve supported over the last two decades has shifted the center of gravity in New York’s Democratic Party so dramatically that today, the two leading candidates for Attorney General are both WFP progressive champions,” said New York Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton. “Cuomo and his machine have only ever helped to elect one man — Andrew Cuomo.”

At the rally, New York Working Families Party Director Bill Lipton slammed Governor Cuomo for eight years of broken promises and called for unity as they fight to elect “working families Democrats, not corporate Democrats.”

Lipton introduced the WFP’s insurgent candidates for State Senate who are mounting Democratic primary challenges to members of the Independent Democratic Conference — the group of breakaway Democrats in the State Senate who propped up Republican leadership.

Alessandra Biaggi, the WFP candidate challenging IDC leader Jeff Klein in the 34th State Senate district in the Bronx, said: “I’m excited and honored to have the Working Families Party nomination in my campaign for State Senate. For the past two decades, the Working Families Party has been at the forefront of every important progressive battle in New York — from the Fight for $15 to making the minimum wage a living wage to the fight for criminal justice reform and immigrant rights. I look forward to working closely with the party’s leadership and the grassroots advocates who make up its energetic membership in the years ahead.”

Zellnor Myrie, the WFP candidate challenging State Senator Jesse Hamilton in the 20th district in Central Brooklyn said, “The Working Families Party is taking a stand by refusing to settle for fake Democrats. I’m honored to have their support, and I’ll fight every day to make their progressive vision a reality in Central Brooklyn.”

Jessica Ramos, the WFP candidate challenging State Senator José Peralta in the 13th district in Queens, said, “As a mother, a renter, and a long-time labor advocate, I’m proud to stand strong with my brothers and sisters in the Working Families Party. The WFP has led the fight for working families in New York for decades—making affordable housing, fair wages, and strong benefits top priorities in this state. I’m running for State Senate as a proud Working Families Democrat to increase school funding, expand affordable housing, and fix our broken subway system. In Albany, I will work every day with my Democratic colleagues to pass the State DREAM Act, the Reproductive Health Act, and single-payer healthcare.”

Robert Jackson, the WFP candidate challenging Senator Marisol Alcantara in the 31st district in Upper Manhattan, said, “Thank you to the members of the Working Families Party for their support and the work they do every day to make our city fairer and our future brighter. The WFP has been a leader in resisting Trump and organizing voters. We look forward to working with them to grow our people-powered campaign to defeat the incumbent Trump Democrat and bring new progressive leadership to the State Senate to fund our public schools, reform our rent laws, knock down barriers and create opportunity for all.”

Jasmine “Jasi” Robinson, the WFP candidate challenging State Senator Diane Savino in the 23rd district in Staten Island, said, “I am honored and humbled to receive the support of Working Families Party. I am happy to participate in today’s event. We are the coalition of a movement. A coalition who is willing to fight and stand up the political establishment.”

New York WFP Co-Chair Karen Scharff introduced State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who the WFP nominated today for re-election. DiNapoli thanked the WFP for this endorsement and for the party’s dedication to promoting progressive policies in our state. “I am committed to protecting New York’s working families, whether they be taxpayers, retirees, small business owners or public employees. It’s gratifying to see my office’s efforts recognized with this endorsement,” said Comptroller DiNapoli.

The first Mexican-American member of the New York City Council, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, introduced Cynthia Nixon and addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English. Menchaca slammed corporate Democrats for throwing working families under the bus and highlighted the need for a Governor that who will “fight for safe, and affordable housing for all; fix our subways; and provide real protections for immigrants that include driver’s licenses for all and passing the New York Dream Act.”

Menchaca spoke about his own experience of defeating an incumbent with the support of the Working Families Party. “In 2013, I saw that my community wasn’t being represented. And I decided to stand up to power, with the support of the Working Families Party, and challenge an incumbent. With the WFP at my side, we defeated an incumbent and made history. Now Cynthia and the WFP are ready to do the same thing — but this time we will win a Governor’s race and take control of THE WHOLE STATE,” said Menchaca.

The event also featured renowned activists including Paola Mendoza, co-artistic director of the Women’s March; former Bernie 2016 surrogate Nomiki Konst; and WFP national organizing director Nelini Stamp.

Working Families Party’s new National Director Maurice Mitchell addressed the crowd of progressive activists for the first time since he was named to the post. “We must have racial justice, we must have economic justice, and we cannot have one without the other. This two-political party mafia is preventing us from achieving both. On one hand, we have a party that will incarcerate us and deport us. And on the other hand, we have a party that will over promise every time, a party not willing to antagonize the corporations that fill their coffers. That’s why we need a party like the Working Families Party. A party that will stand against the Bully-in-Chief Andrew Cuomo. A party that will endorse true progressives like Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams to transform New York.”

The Working Families Party is a grassroots progressive political party that fights to make New York work for the many, not just the few. WFP recruits, trains and elects the the next generation of progressive leaders to office — and then works with those leaders to win meaningful policy changes that make a difference in the lives of working families.

Earlier this year, the Working Families Party endorsed progressive challenger Cynthia Nixon for Governor of New York.

In recent years, the Working Families Party has grown rapidly around the nation. In 2017, WFP endorsed 1,036 state and local candidates in 23 states and won in nearly 2/3rds of those races, including helping to elect progressive champions like Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin. This year, WFP is supporting notable progressives leaders including WFP member Randy Bryce, whose strong candidacy for Wisconsin’s first congressional district has led to Paul Ryan’s resignation and Stacey Abrams, who, if elected in Georgia, would be the nation’s first Black woman Governor.