Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Harlem Saturday to talk up his agenda at Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking at a National Action Network rally, acknowledged the connection between New York passing landmark gun control legislation and the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"We passed new gun laws, and we passed the new gun laws on Dr. King Day," Cuomo said. "Why? Because it's simple. Because enough innocent people have died."
Rev. Al Sharpton called the legislation a foundation for historic change and demanded other states to follow suit.
"If there's anything that we must do, especially in light of Newtown, especially in light of what's going on in Chicago every day, is get the assault weapons and the semi-automatic weapons and these magazines off the streets, make them illegal and set a high penalty," Sharpton said. "And New York State has led the way. It's now time to go from rhetoric to results."
New York is the first state in the country to tighten gun laws since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
As Cuomo received thunderous applause for taking quick action with this law, he took the opportunity to lay out his initiatives for the legislative year ahead in Albany.
"We want to raise the minimum wage," Cuomo said. "We put forth a women's equality agenda, because the truth is, there is still discrimination and bias against women."
Of special interest to this crowd was the governor's pledge to address a controversial New York Police Department policy.
"We need to address the stop-and-frisk situation and the marijuana arrests," Cuomo said.
The National Action Network has repeatedly challenged the NYPD policy. Sharpton believes recent victories, such as a judge's ruling that stop-and-frisk in private buildings is unconstitutional, plus Cuomo's help, will lead to a change in New York.
"National Action Network and others marched last Father's Day, tens of thousands, on stop-and-frisk," she said. "We lobbied. To hear the governor say that on King weekend, and he has committed that in our private conversations, that we've got to deal with stop-and-frisk, is a civil rights victory in the state."
These are steps that both men say will bringing New York closer to the society that Dr. King dreamed of: one of racial, economic and social justice.