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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Holds Virtual Briefing

Mayor Adams held a virtual briefing discussing his trip to Rome, emphasizing the importance of faith communities and collaboration with international counterparts in addressing global and local challenges. He highlighted visits to various religious sites and expressed gratitude for the hospitality received, while also acknowledging the need for stronger connections among cities to tackle common issues like public safety and housing.

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Thank you for joining us today for another virtual briefing on Mayor Adams’ trip to Rome. We’ll take it to the mayor in a minute. Just as a reminder, if you have a question, please utilize the raise hand feature. To ask a question, please utilize the raise hand feature. We’ll give it right over to Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks so much, Fabien. Before I begin, I just again want to thank our host for their great Roman hospitality. I guess you have so many visitors and tourists in this city, you’re used to being able to invite and welcome people in your city. I begin my day by saying Happy Mother’s Day to all. This is a day that all of us like to acknowledge their moms. If you’re fortunate enough to still have your mom, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to you.

We started off today by visiting the Mondo Migliore Welcome Center for migrants and asylum seekers, where I met with asylum seekers and refugees. We just really were impressed. Probably the top thing is how fast they’re able to cycle the migrants and asylum seekers out of the welcome center. Within two months, they target to get folks into working trades, teaching them basic Italian, and moving them forward through the system. It’s extremely impressive on how they’re well organized to do so.

We know that when you’re moving 195,000 of migrant asylum seekers that we handle the 65,000 are still currently in our care, we know how important the faith community is. Here, the faith community, are just as in America, they’re stepping up to assist, and learning about what they’re doing. They were very interested in what we’re doing. They know that many of the international leaders commended us in the level of care that we provided.

As I said before, this issue is a global and a local crisis, and we’re going to need the national and state governments to respond appropriately. We want to make sure we can prevent exploitation of asylum seekers and other migrants by human trafficking and other forms of danger and grant asylum seekers paths to integrate into their new lives. That’s what they’re doing here. We want to continue to do that in New York City and all of America, my partners in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and other municipalities.

After I visited the Welcome Center, I attended Mass at one of the local Catholic churches. It was truly an experience hearing a Mass in another language and to see that no matter what locale you are on the globe is basically a tradition that we have followed throughout the centuries, and they stay true to their practices. Then we visited the Jewish Quarter, a great synagogue, and Jewish museum. It was unbelievable there for over 300 years, that Jewish area was a wall around the area and Jews were not allowed to move back and forth. They had to be back in the ghetto by sundown for over 300 years. They built a very prosperous community there and the synagogue was a beautiful place. A few New Yorkers were there. New Yorkers are everywhere, but a few New Yorkers were there, and we were able to interact with them.

We then went over to the Islamic Center of Italy and Grand Mosque of Rome. You really have to see how impressive this mosque is. It’s one of the largest mosques in Europe. They have everything from classes, to prayer services, and teaching young people how to speak Arabic, and also, how to just build strong young people for the future. Rome is the center of religion, and today, I shared sacred moments with the Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim brothers and sisters. This is a trip I’m always going to remember and reflect on.

Before I take on topic questions, I want to again, thank His Holiness Pope Francis, His Eminence Cardinal Gambetti, and the entire government and national police, and my colleague here, Mayor Gualtieri and his entire team for making this a real productive trip. A lot packed into the day, but we’ve been extremely productive as we move through today. Fabien, open up for some few questions.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, mayor. Again, if you have a question, please utilize the raise hand feature. We’ll give the queue a second to populate. 

Our first question is from Emily Ngo from Politico. Emily, please unmute your line.

Question: Mayor Adams, can you talk with me about the importance of seeing a bit of each of the three major monotheistic religions today, why you choose to arrange your day in that way, so that you could be with Jewish people and Muslim people and Christian people, and also the significance of the lapel pin you’re wearing today, please?

Mayor Adams: It was clearly what I always held on to, people of faith is needed as much as we need government. I believe that we spend a great deal of money and time building cities’ infrastructures, buildings, bridges, but we also need to build the infrastructure of people because to have a strong brick and mortar and iron and not have strong people, it’s not going to move your city forward. Faith has a way of building those strong beliefs in oneself.

As I moved from those different houses of worship, there was the same underlining theme, be kind to your fellow man, be there to assist them as they move forward, and let your faith be shown through you as you move about your daily lives. That’s what I saw when I spoke to those at the mosque, the synagogue, and at the Catholic church. 

The pin here is, this is a blue pin from Robert Kraft’s organization to end antisemitism and hate. That was my constant theme as I moved around, hate has no place in our city, it has no place on the globe. I just really want to commend him for his real belief of using his platform to really raise antisemitism and anti end throughout our city and country, if not the globe.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, mayor. I would point out, the mayor’s been wearing that pin for at least a week now at this point. Our next question comes from Jeff Mays from The New York Times. Jeff, please unmute your line.

If you have a question, please utilize the raise hand feature. This is the final opportunity.

Our next question is from Ramsey Khalifeh from WNYC. Ramsey, please unmute your line.

Question: My question is back to New York City, there was a shooting that happened just this morning in East Flatbush with police involved. Have you been debriefed on this, and would you just like to comment on what went down?

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thanks. We’re taking on-topic questions on the mayor’s trip to Italy at this point. We’ll try Jeff Mays again one more time. Jeff, try to unmute your line.

Question: Mayor, you sound a little sick, and I know you missed the second visit to that migrant center, was that the reason you canceled that event? I’m wondering if you could talk overall what from this trip, particularly, you spent a lot of time with the mayor of Rome and visiting sites, are there things that you’re going to take back and potentially use or try to apply in New York City?

Mayor Adams: Yes, I am a little stuffy. I feel fine, but air conditioners just kill me all the time. Sitting on the air condition of the plane, it was extremely cold, and it just always impacts me. As in New York, our schedule shifts often. We were able to get to one of the migrants asylum-seeker sites and there was a shift in the schedule of two meetings that I wanted to look into, but it always shifts from time to time.

The big takeaway for me is the similarities of these cities. Sitting down in several of the conversations I had with the mayor of Rome and the mayors from across Italy. It is clear that we are facing the same challenges and why we must have come together to deal with these issues, such as environmental housing, public safety, and many of the other issues that we are facing in our cities. That was important, and I’m going to, upon returning, really lean into international affairs, developing a regular communications with our mayors across the cities, particularly these big cities like Rome.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Great. Our final question comes from Craig McCarthy from the New York Post. Craig, you can unmute your line.

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor. I hope you feel better.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Question: I hear you got sick on the flights. I just want to ask, so we did visit the group of three o’clock that we had to cancel on, and they had actually told us at the end that they would like to invite you to their community in New York City. We just wanted to see if you wanted to take them up on that when you get back.

Mayor Adams: Yes, I look forward to it. No matter what communities you have abroad, there is a community in New York City, and I look forward to visiting all of these locations upon returning and let them know I had a great deal of respect by visiting their communities here in Rome, and we want to continue to have that collaboration.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Great. Thank you very much, everybody. Those are all the hands we have up at this time. We’ll see you back in New York. Thank you again.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Take care.

May 12, 2024 New York City Hall

Sources: Midtown Tribune NewsNYC.gov

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