On Sunday, January 29th, two months after his historic, unopposed ascension to House Democratic Leader, Congressman Hakeem Sekou Jeffries (D-NY 08) delivered his 2023 inaugural address at Brooklyn Technical High School, located at 29 Fort Greene Place, not far from the Crown Heights neighborhood where he grew up.
And Brooklyn was in da house for the occasion! Over 3,000 guests packed the school’s auditorium for the “Community Inauguration,” held only two days prior to the start of the official observation of Black History Month. The event was also attended by a plethora of elected officials representing New York City and State, many of whom, like Jeffries, hail from Brooklyn, including Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer, Mayor Eric Adams and Attorney General Letitia James. And they didn’t let you forget it.
“I have a question for you,” Schumer stated at the beginning of his remarks. “Is Brooklyn in the house?” And the audience roared back, “Yes!”
“It’s great to be here to celebrate my fellow Brooklynite, my dear friend, the history-making first African-American Democratic Leader, Hakeem Jeffries! The fact that so many people fill this beautiful auditorium on a cold Sunday, January afternoon is a testimony to the depth of relationships that Hakeem has built over the years,” the Senate Majority Leader said. “Today is Hakeem’s day, but it’s your day too.”
The 71-year-old, five-time elected New York Senator spoke of some of Jeffries’ accomplishments over the 10 years he’s represented New York’s 8th Congressional District and also outlined some of the Democrats’ plans for the future. “It’s good to have a Senate Majority Leader from New York and a House Minority Leader from New York. It’s going to be even better in two years when Brooklyn also has a Speaker of the House.”
The event was emceed by Lori Stokes, daughter of Ohio’s first black Congressman, Louis Stokes. When the retired media personality announced, “Please join me in welcoming Judge Lohier, Congressman Jeffries and his family for the moment you’ve all been waiting for,” the eager audience rose to their feet and acknowledged the distinguished group with thunderous applause.
After taking the Oath of Office for a second time since his historic ascension, Jeffries extended special thanks to the clergy who participated in the ceremony. He joked, “I got a Jewish blessing; I got a Muslim blessing and I got a Christian blessing. I feel real blessed right now, y’all. I’m gonna need it down in Washington.”
Jeffries also thanked his parents and many supporters who stood by him during his journey. “We’ve been together, seen a lot, done a lot – been through a whole lot. And I mention that because no matter what responsibilities I will now have down in Washington, DC, I want you to understand that I will never walk away from you and I will always have your back right here on the ground in this district of Brooklyn,” the House Leader promised.