New York, March 17, 2021: Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. And Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone. I want to talk about the celebration this morning, which was very powerful and filled with hope. But before I get into that, I’ve got to talk about something really troubling and something I think for so many New Yorkers is causing them a lot of pain and a lot of fear right now – the horrible attacks in Atlanta, the murders of innocent people simply because they were Asian American. We have to be clear that what we saw here is nothing less than domestic terrorism, people killed in their workplaces, going about their lives, simply because of their ethnicity, and a systematic effort to harm people. At a time when so many people in this country are trying to work together to overcome the pandemic, to see this hatred, to see it takes such a violent form is extraordinarily distressing. And we all need to understand the pain that Asian Americans are going through right now in this city and all over the country and we need to be there for them. We have to stop Asian hate. We have to focus our energies on supporting our Asian brothers and sisters in this moment. And beyond solidarity, and beyond education, and beyond speaking out, we also need to use the strength of the NYPD to protect our Asian-American communities. And so, there is today a major deployment of NYPD counter-terrorism forces in communities around the city, including some of the most prominent Asian communities in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn. Wherever we get any reports of concern, we’re going to make sure to have a real strong presence. Of course, as usual, the NYPD is assessing the pattern of what we saw in Atlanta, looking for anything that might tell us additional information we need to know here. But I want to assure all New Yorkers, and particularly Asian-American New Yorkers that we are here for you, NYPD, and all New Yorkers will stand by you in this incredibly difficult moment.
Now, talk about standing by each other and the incredible work the NYPD does to protect us, an amazing story last night from Staten Island, the 1-2-0 Precinct. [Inaudible] officers flagged down, because an eight-month-old child was losing their life – life, leaving the child as this was occurring. And these officers immediately responded, performed CPR, saved the life of an infant. This the kind of thing that means so much to know that a child is alive today, because of the bravery, because of the quick thinking, and the commitment of these NYPD officers. So, I want to salute them all and say to everyone at the 1-2-0 Precinct, you have a lot to be proud of today. And, thank God, that eight-month-old child will live to have a long and good life, because of the work that you all did. God bless you all.
Now, let me go back to this special day. And this is a St. Patrick’s Day like no other. Everyone who was this morning, very early, around 6:30 AM, holding a version of the traditional pray. This is a pray that goes back over 260 years. The St Patrick’s Day Parade goes back before the founding of the republic. It’s an amazing tradition. And it’s a tradition that has been in so many ways stressed and challenged by the pandemic, and yet it has survived very very modestly last year. And this year, a little bit bigger, a little bit better, and people could feel that sense keeping the tradition alive, keeping the history alive, but on the way to something much, much better, which is next year, where I think literally millions will be on Fifth Avenue to salute the marchers and to celebrate the day as we all come back together. But this was a very special moment because it was about preserving that tradition and I think everyone felt that they were keepers of the tradition. And there was a sense that, you know, this is the gateway to spring, this is the gateway to renewal, that this parade today, small though it was, marked the beginning of something better and the world-changing for the better for all of us.
Now, there are so many amazing Irish-Americans in this city and so many who have contributed so much. I want to salute one today who I’d hoped would be here to receive his honor in person, but, unfortunately, for some medical reasons, could not. But he is a living legend – Malachy McCourt is someone who, if you know him if you have heard him on the radio, if you have met him and heard his energy, his brilliance, his wit, you do not forget it. And he has an amazing story, born in Brooklyn, but raised in Ireland, came back here and did just about every job in the world, including longshoreman, dishwasher, actor, writer, and, yes, gold smuggler – that’s one I want to know more about – but particularly became famous as a radio host and a storyteller and someone who captured so much of the Irish-American experience, but also believed in a society that included everyone, respected everyone – a voice for respect, for a multicultural society, for a society that really could be for everyone. That’s what I think of when I think of his incredible presence and his voice in this city. So, Malachy is not able to be with us. He had a fall recently. He needed to watch this on television. So, I’m really happy you’re out there with your wife of 56 years, Diana, and blessed by five children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild on the way. That’s pretty good. And so, this proclamation, I was hoping to hand it to you, but I’m going to hold it up for you, Malachy. Today, I proclaim Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 in the City of New York as Malachy McCourt Day. Congratulations.
Source: City Hall. Mayors Office.