The Rev. Al Sharpton is weighing on the new power structure in the state Senate between Republicans and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference.
He plans a rally Saturday at its Harlem headquarters. The IDC added its first black member on Tuesday, former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens. The rest are all white.
“It is a fact that President Obama won New York by the second largest plurality in the nation after Vermont, and by all accounts it would appear that there will be 33 Democratic Senators and 30 Republican Senators elected to the New York State Senate,” Sharpton said in a statement.
“Within the body of the Democratic Senators there are 15 Senators of color, including the current Minority Leader. Throughout the entire history of New York State, it has always held true that the party with the majority of Senators runs New York’s Senate. In this instance, come January 1, 15 Senators of color should hold critical Senate Chairmanships on committees such as housing, criminal justice, the judiciary and education, acting upon policies consistent with President Obama and the lifeblood of Black and Brown New Yorkers.”
He said that for the coalition to “brazenly ignore tradition and history in the State Senate, and effectively deny these legislators of color what is rightfully theirs: the ability to chair committees and pursue policies and initiatives that reflect the will of the people is a perversion of justice. This means that policy and resource discussion on issues such as Stop and Frisk, affordable housing and rebuilding the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy will be led by Senators from Upstate New York rather than those Senators whose communities are most directly impacted by these policies and events.”
“Moreover,” he continued, “it would be enormously troubling for any leader in this state to allow such a miscarriage of justice and obstruction of the will of the people to go forward. I am consulting with New York elected leaders interested in ensuring that justice and fairness prevails, and we will kick off a campaign this Saturday towards this end at the House of Justice.”