Jumaane Williams as he protested against US President Donald Trump. (CMC)
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NEW YORK – A Caribbean American legislator has been arrested for protesting United States President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court.
New York State Lieutenant Governor candidate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, was arrested Monday night outside Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan as he protested the President’s nomination of District of Columbia’s Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the highest court in America.
Williams was charged with disorderly conduct and released from New York Police Department (NYPD) custody shortly after midnight.
Before being arrested with a group of protesters, Williams called on Democrats to find the moral conviction to stand up to Trump and what Williams characterized as Trump’s “extremely conservative Supreme Court nominee”.
“My message is to the Democrats who think resistance is just a hashtag,” he said to protestors outside of Trump’s skyscraper on Fifth Avenue and East 56th Street. “We have fought for protections for so many, fought hard for black, brown, LGBT, for women.
“All of that is now at risk, not because of bigoted Republicans, but because of Democrats who refused to step up because they were afraid,” he added. “I am begging all Democrats – all those who claim leadership – to take a risk, show courage. If you are in your comfort zone, you are not doing enough.”
During the rally, Williams emphasised his concern that the right-leaning Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion a constitutional right.
He also criticised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for “failing to advance legislation that would protect women’s rights on the state level by empowering the right-leaning Independent Democratic Conference (IDC)”.
“Establishment Democrats, like the Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant. Governor Hochul have led us to where we are today,” Williams claimed. “They have had every opportunity to pass progressive legislation that ensure women have access to safe and legal abortion, but lacked the moral courage to advance what’s right, putting their own personal political gain ahead of those they represent.
“Now that the political winds have swayed and more progressives are demanding action, I would not be surprised to see the establishment follow our lead,” Williams added. “But, come September, New Yorkers will decide if they want elected officials who follow or lead at the helm of our state’s government.”
Williams on Tuesday participated in a rally in Union Square in lower Manhattan calling urging New York State legislators to advance reproductive justice measures, such as codifying Roe v. Wade and passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act.
Just before Trump announced his nominee for the US Supreme Court Monday night, Cuomo unveiled a new campaign calling on the State Senate to codify Roe v. Wade into New York law, “or be voted out of office”.
The campaign includes a new digital ad “Vote for Roe or We’ll Vote You Out,” as well as robust six figure TV ad buy championing what the governor said is his “record on women’s rights”.
With Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement, Trump nominated Kavanaugh, a politically connected member of Washington’s conservative legal establishment, who is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court’s ruling on a woman’s right to abortion. (CMC)