Come November, Black men could hold two of the most powerful positions in New York City. While the general election is months away, Alvin Bragg and Eric Adams — who recently won their primary elections — will likely win, given the city’s Democratic-leaning voting tendencies.
On track to be Manhattan’s first Black district attorney, Bragg joined Adams — who is poised to be New York Citys second-ever Black mayor — and the Rev. Al Sharpton on stage Saturday for a National Action Network rally. The historic nature of the two men’s ascension to these positions is more than an interesting footnote.
As the Manhattan district attorney, Bragg will take over one of the nation’s highest-profile cases. Outgoing District Attorney Cy Vance will hand over the investigation and prosecution of the Trump Organization case to his successor.
Characterized as having a progressive background, Bragg told the crowd Saturday he was given a “profound obligation.” Bragg committed to addressing racial disparities and leading a justice system for all.
“The state has the power to take away someone’s liberty,” Bragg reflected. “We are going to use that power judiciously and wisely. We’re going to use that for fairness and for safety.”
Adams said he saw part of his role as mayor as making Bragg’s job “boring.”
“Prosecution rates is [sic] tied to my educational failure rates,” said Adams. “If I do my job right, then he will have nothing to do in this office.”
Adams discussed the commonality between the two men. But it will be interesting to see how they overcome their differences around policing, given Bragg’s commitment to police accountability and Adam’s interesting relationship with the police and their unions.
On the stage, Saturday, the potential differences in approach and policies didn’t seem to matter with a common goal in November.
Adams sees his leadership as changing the paradigm in New York, where systemic poverty is no longer normalized. He pointed to the correlation between dyslexia and incarceration as evidence of preventative investments in education.
Adams also stressed his status as a lifetime member of the National Action Network as important to becoming the city’s second Black mayor.
“This is why we did it,” said Adams. “We didn’t do it to stay in the streets. We did it to go into the suites so that we can start putting in place real policy.”
Adams drew criticism for some of his policy proposals around crime during the primary. But Saturday, he said that all of the organizing done by the National Action Network, from painting crack houses to fighting for education reforms, helped his political evolution.
“We were nurturing who I was supposed to become,” Adams explained. “So when I get there, I won’t be just another Black face in a high place, but a person that’s willing to do the job in a real way.”
Watch Saturday’s event in full below.