Could the Left’s authoritarian vaccine overreach herald the breakdown of its coalition? Chivona Newsome, who cofounded Black Lives Matter (BLM) Greater NY, gave an indication of this Sunday when she castigated New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for his citywide vaccine rules, which she said were “racist.” Kevin Downey Jr. asked Thursday: “Will Black People Save the Nation From Vax Passport Mandates?” If Newsome has her way, the answer will be yes.
As Kevin noted, BLM held a protest Wednesday at Carmine’s, where three black women recently attacked an Asian hostess who asked to see proof of their vaccination status. At that protest, Newsome said: “Seventy-two percent of black people in this city from ages 18 to 44 are unvaccinated. So what is going to stop the Gestapo, I mean the NYPD, from rounding up black people, from snatching them off the train, off the bus?”
Who indeed? In the statement she issued on Sunday, Newsome doubled down and hit de Blasio for his hypocrisy: “Although Mayor Bill De Blasio ran on progressives values, nothing in his tenure will attest to his campaign promises. The September 13th vaccine mandate is racist and specifically targets Black New Yorkers. The vaccination passports are modern day Freedom Papers, which limit the free will of Black people.”
Newsome charged de Blasio with failing to “protect New York’s most vulnerable” during the pandemic, and claimed that “social distancing and mask requirements resulted in Black New Yorkers being brutalized and arrested while their White neighbors received masks and refreshments.”
This is as false as it is hysterical, but it is hard to avoid a certain schadenfreude in seeing this race-baiting tyrant get called out by those he has enabled and aided. When de Blasio was first sworn in as mayor on January 1, 2014, he had a former member of the racist Nation of Islam, Askia Muhammad, offer a prayer. And in December 2014, when a grand jury decided not to indict a white NYPD cop in the killing of a black man, Eric Garner, de Blasio was furious and didn’t hesitate to charge his own police force with racism: “There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from…crime and violence…but are they safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors?” He added: “Our history, sadly, requires us to say that black lives matter. Because as I said the other day, we’re not just dealing with a problem in 2014. We’re not dealing with years of racism leading up to it, or decades of racism. We are dealing with centuries of racism that have brought us to this day. That is how profound the crisis is.”
In July 2016, he told CNN: “I think that movement, just the very phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ has changed the national discussion…for the better.” And of course in 2020, he had “Black Lives Matter” painted in huge letters in front of Trump Tower.
Newsome was not appeased: “The vaccination mandates infringe upon the civil liberties of the Black community,” she said. “It’s more than where we can dine or enjoy entertainment, it will result in loss of income. As of Monday, September 27, Black health care workers and educators will lose their jobs.”
De Blasio, said Newsome, instituted the draconian vaccine rules while being “fully aware of the hesitancy and distrust people of African descent have about vaccination and their interactions with government and law enforcement.” Despite this, he “chose to disenfranchise and force the very people who elected him into poverty and second-class citizenship.”
Yes, a new name has been added to the group: Nathan Bedford Forrest. Robert Byrd. Strom Thurmond. George Wallace. Theodore Bilbo. Lester Maddox. Bill de Blasio. Newsome said: “It is the duty of Black Lives Matter Greater NY to fight for the liberty of Black people. The vaccination passport will not be a free pass to racism. Our organization pledges to demonstrate until the vaccine mandate is abolished.”
Bill de Blasio must be dismayed. He certainly expected pushback from conservatives, but what does he care about what he no doubt thinks of as a tiny band of racist, redneck, MAGA-hat-wearing yahoos? To have aroused the ire of Black Lives Matter, however, is another thing altogether. If BLM had issued a similar broadside about any elected official de Blasio opposes, it is unlikely that Red Bill would have hesitated to call for that official’s immediate resignation. He knows who holds the real power in New York City today; after all, it is he who has done so much to bring this situation about. So will he bow to BLM and remove the vaccine mandate? Will he make it binding only on white people? Or will he confirm his new adversaries in their accusations that he himself, the great benefactor of BLM, is a racist? Grab some popcorn and pull up a chair.