Eric Adam clarifies his 'Go back to Iowa' remarks

1010 WINS Newsroom
January 21, 2020 - 2:12 pm
Eric Adams

Eric Adams

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- At a speech in Harlem on Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams railed against gentrification, telling transplants, "Go back to Iowa, you go back to Ohio" -- but in an interview with 1010 WINS on Thursday, he said it was merely a gaffe after a dizzying day of speeches.

He clarified to 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria, "I want people from all parts of the country to come to New York ... Let's sit at the table and be inclusive in our city ... Many people in our communities, long-standing residents, are finding themselves being pushed out of their community and new arrivals are not engaging. We want everyone to engaged. Everyone is welcome here, from Iowa to Ohio."

The remarks comes amidst buzz that Adams will run for mayor of New York City in 2021. So is he running, "We're looking at that," he tolds 1010 WINS. 

Adam's speech, given at an event held by civil rights organization National Action Network in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, focused on how issues concerning black and brown citizens are not taken seriously across the nation.

"If you know the spirit and energy of Dr. King, he did not allow others to be comfortable while everyone else was living in horrific conditions," Adams said. "If you are uncomfortable with raising these issues, then you just have to get over it because you are not going to enjoy this city and watch the displacement of the people who made this city."

Speaking to long-time residents of the city, he said, "You were waking up to gun shots and not alarm clocks and you stayed. You were here before Starbucks. You were here before others came and decided they wanted to be part of this city. Folks that not only hijacking your apartments and displacing your living arrangements, they displace your conversations and say the things that are important to you are no longer important. And they decide what's important and what's not important."

"Go back to Iowa, you go back to Ohio. New York City belongs to the people that was here and made New York City what it is. And I know I'm a New Yorker, I protected this city, I have a right to put my voice in how this city is run."

The was pushback to his language. The Daily News called the speech "racially-tinged" and the New York Post said he "implicitly played the race card" by calling out states that are both more than 80 percent white.

"The mayor doesn’t agree with how it was said, but the borough president voiced a very real frustration," said Freddi Goldstein, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We need to improve affordability in this city to ensure New Yorkers can stay in the city they love, but New York City will always be a city for everyone."

The event was hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and included de Blasio, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

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