WFP National gala
In mid-November 2015, Working Families Party staffers from across the country gathered for their first-ever national gala. Held in a dimly lit foyer of the national AFL-CIO headquarters, two blocks from the White House, the event featured a modest bar and forlorn-looking cheese tray. To one side, an imposing, 1950s-era, gilt-heavy mural of heroic laborers with a motto from Virgil (“Labor Omnia Vincit”); to the other, a canvas banner color-printed with WFP activists, carrying signs like “The Seas Are Rising & So Are We,” “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” and “I Am a Woman.” A plaque identified the venue as the Samuel Gompers Room.
Diana Richardson, a member of the New York State Assembly from Crown Heights, Brooklyn; in a May special election, she became the first-ever New York state legislator elected solely on the WFP ballot line. Her campaign hinged on railing against gentrification and the “greedy developers” leaving the neighborhood’s historic residents behind.
Richardson proclaimed, “The local Democrats didn’t want someone like me. Listen to my voice—it’s very strong! You can’t push me around.” The audience laughed and cheered. “But another party did want me,” she added. “The Working Families Party.”
April 2017 Mayor Bill de Blasio bestowed special honor on his former City Council colleague, Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, and her Brooklyn-based Progressive Democrats Political Association (PDPA) at a gala ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the group that was founded by Clarke.
“You did something powerful that will help everyone,” said the mayor, after reading part of a New York City Proclamation declaring Sunday, April 22 “PDPA Day,” at the group’s Silver Jubilee celebrations at Tropical Paradise Ballroom on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.
Prior to bestowing the honor, deBlasio described PDPA’s 25th anniversary as “extraordinary,” stating that the organization has the ability to reach many.
“There was a time when many doubted PDPA,” he said. “I had the honor to serve as Yvette’s Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Dr. Clarke’s daughter] campaign chair. So, I wanted to be here to celebrate, because everyone in this room has made a profound difference.
“And I must tell you, I wouldn’t be Mayor of New York City if it wasn’t for PDPA,” he added. “I want to congratulate PDPA.
“Obamacare — look today Obamacare is still the law of the land,” the mayor continued. “And our congresswoman [[[Yvette Clarke]] was there. It’s an organization that’s not just celebrating the leaders but [has] made a difference.”