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NYC Banquet Features Former Mayor

Posted by Will Rice (will) on Aug 05 2011 at 12:39 PM
ADA Today >>

The gathering May 25 in New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel was truly festive--and not just because of the red, white and blue balloons mirrored in the floor-to-ceiling ballroom windows. The two hundred progressives attending New York ADA’s annual Roosevelt Day Dinner had extra reason to be happy.  

“It is a real pleasure to be here in New York,” Michael J. Wilson, ADA’s National Director, told the gathering.  “Especially today, now that New York has helped make the nation just a little bit better.”  He was referring to the special election the day before, in which progressive Democrat Kathy Hochul had won a surprise victory in an upstate Congressional district that normally elects Republicans.  The crowd roared its agreement.  

ADA has held its Roosevelt Day dinner in New York since the organization’s founding in 1947. The annual fundraiser has been in the capable hands of New York ADA chapter president Marvin Rich and executive secretary Evelyn Jones Rich for many decades.

Former New York mayor David Dinkins,  who co-chaired the dinner with Communication Workers of America Legislative and Political Director Bob Master, was also happy to be there.  “The difference between being mayor and not being mayor,” he explained, “is that these days I don’t go anywhere I don’t want to go, and I don’t do anything I don’t want to do.

“But I really wanted to be here, with ADA, with folks who strongly support liberal policies and liberal ideas, and with Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley, a staunch supporter who never shrinks from a fight.”

Hanley, the evening’s guest of honor, returned the favor.  “We were proud to support you, Mayor Dinkins,” he said, referring to the ATU’s early support of the former mayor’s candidacy.  “ATU members care about this city and want to help keep New York moving.  We want to work with passengers and communities to improve the bus and transit programs this city needs.”
Speaking of the importance of building strong progressive coalitions, Hanley added, “And we want to work with ADA because we want to reach out to the broader community. I want you to know that the ATU will be there with you.”

Jones-Rich presented Hanley with a mementos of the Freedom Rides, transportation-based political protests celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Her husband, Marvin, had been an integral part of the team that planned and facilitated the rides.

As the city lights blinked on in the late spring evening outside the ballroom windows, everyone seemed happy to be in New York.