U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Good evening Make the Road NY and all gathered to celebrate the Dignity, Community and Power Awards Gala. I am proud to stand with MRNY, an exemplary organization fighting to achieve dignity and justice for NY’s immigrant and working-class communities of color.
I want to thank Arlenis Morel, Jose Lopez, and Theo Oshiro for their leadership of this organization and ensuring this great community received essential services and education.
MRNY has demonstrated true resilience and organized multiple efforts to support the vulnerable, particularly our frontline and essential workers. It is through the dedication and generosity of everyone joining tonight that MRNY can continue its noble efforts to enhance the lives of countless New Yorkers and its efforts to advance progressive public policy victories.
I especially want to spotlight this year’s honorees: Amazon Labor Union Founders: Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, and Chris Small’s; our great NYC Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams; my great friend and national movement leader, Ana Maria Archilla; and Little Anal Walks NYC.
Thank you for work and never stop la lucha!
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
I am pleased to join you in celebrating Make the Road New York’s Dignity, Community, and Power Awards Virtual Gala. I am deeply grateful for the work that your staff, board, and members do every day to fulfill the goals of this important organization.
You continue to change our state and nation for the better with your unwavering commitment to promoting a more just and equitable society and by empowering our immigrant and working-class communities.
I am with you in spirit tonight and look forward to continuing to work together. You have my commitment that I will keep lifting up your voices and fighting for our shared priorities in Washington, DC. I send my congratulations to the honorees on their well-deserved recognition, and my best wishes to you all for a joyous event and many more years of continued success.
Rep. Grace Meng
Buenas tardes y felicitaciones a Se Hace Camino Nueva York!
Thank you for all you do to assist and empower immigrant and working class communities throughout our city including many in neighborhoods that I represent in Queens. From your efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to always fighting and advocating for immigrants, I salute the tireless work that your outstanding team does on the front lines each and every day.
I am proud to have recently secured funding for your adult education classes, and look forward to continuing to partner with you to ensure that immigrants have the resources they need to improve their lives, and pursue the American dream.
Thank you to Co-Executive Directors Jose Lopez, Arlenis Morel and Theo Oshiro for all your tremendous and exceptional leadership. I send my warmest wishes for an enjoyable gala and much continued success.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is thrilled to congratulate this year’s Make the Road Honorees: Amazon Labor Union’s Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls as well as New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, national movement leader Ana María Archila, and Little Amal Walks NYC.
The Dignity, Community, and Power Awards Honorees are symbols of courage. They’re fighting for workplace justice, they’re fighting for structural change, and they’re fighting for a New York that proudly welcomes and supports all refugees. We extend our deepest appreciation to the honorees and to Make the Road New York’s mission to build power, dignity, and justice for every New Yorker.
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez
Congratulations! Make the Road NY will always hold a special place in my heart and I recall the membership when I first became involved back in 1997 was about 50 people then; today it has more than 24,000. It’s amazing and reaffirms that in unity there is strength. This is a fight for workers, for tenants—to change policy and to improve lives. Your common purpose has sparked organizing and advocating for progressive policy changes at the local, state, and federal level. As we look towards another year, I have no doubt that MRNY will soar to new heights and continue to challenge the systems that perpetuate bias and deny equal opportunity for all.
I also want to thank and congratulate this year’s honorees: The founders of Amazon Labor Union– Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls; Jumaane D. Williams, New York City Public Advocate; Ana María Archila, national movement leader; and Little Amal Walks NYC.
NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome you to Make the Road New York’s Dignity, Community and Power Awards Gala. I am truly honored to be part of this evening’s celebrations.
Tonight’s events give us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the success that Make the Road New York has had in this past year and their efforts to help our city’s immigrant and working class communities achieve dignity and justice.
I wish to congratulate tonight’s honorees; Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls, founders of Amazon Labor Union; Jumaane D. Williams, New York City Public Advocate; Ana Maria Archila, National Movement Leader; Little Amal Walks NYC. These individuals exemplify what it means to be leaders in their field and upstanding citizens of the community, and I am thankful for their many contributions, which have helped make Make the Road New York successful.
This gala would not have been possible without your support, so I thank each of you for your interest in this significant resource for the community. Make the Road New York is well-served by your involvement, and I thank you for helping make a difference in the lives of others.
NYS Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris
As we work through the tremendous challenge of serving more and more people who want to share in the American dream, our community is stepping in where others are not and meeting that challenge with tremendous compassion. Working together, we are rising to serve the newest New Yorkers and build on recent successes. While we have more to do, we will always be able to do more – together. I thank Make the Road New York for your ongoing partnership.
NYS Senator Julia Salazar
Make the Road New York has such a rich and storied history of serving our communities, so I’m delighted to have this opportunity to thank them for the invaluable work they do! From successfully lobbying for the Excluded Workers’ Fund, to joining our office in regular constituent services hours, to serving on the front lines at Port Authority in assisting the newly arrived immigrants and asylum seekers, the tenacity, passion, and dedication of the organizers and staff at Make the Road NY has shone through countless times. I’m so grateful that my office has a committed community partner in Make the Road NY, and I look forward to working alongside them next year in Albany to pass transformative legislation to bring about social and economic justice in New York State!
NYS Senator Jessica Ramos
Wherever there is a fight to preserve the dignity of working class and immigrant New Yorkers, that’s where I know I’ll find mis compañeros en la lucha, Make the Road. From fighting for fully funded schools to winning a first-of-its-kind $2.1 billion Excluded Workers Fund, I can count on the members of Make the Road to organize and win big. Congratulations to the honorees for exemplifying the values of the Dignity, Community, and Power Awards Gala.
NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera
Congratulations to Make the Road New York (MRNY), its members, and its honorees as they gather to celebrate its annual Dignity, Community, and Power Awards Gala.
For decades, MRNY has championed immigrant and working-class New Yorkers through its tireless political and economic grassroots efforts and innovative policy work that has significantly improved the lives of our immigrant communities, especially during these tumultuous times.
It is also my pleasure to congratulate this year’s honorees, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, national movement leader Ana María Archila, and Amazon Labor Union Founders, Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, and Chris Smalls.
I look forward to continuing to partner with MRNY and all the communities they serve in our fight for justice and equality.
NYS Senator Shelley Mayer
Congratulations to my friends at Make the Road NY on their Dignity, Community & Power Awards Gala:
To the honorees – NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Ana Maria Archila, a national movement leader, and the founders of the Amazon Labor Union – Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls – to Little Amal Walks NYC, the 12 foot puppet which has traveled across the world to spread the message of refugees – my heartfelt congratulations and deepest gratitude for your vision, courage and leadership. You are leading the way to a “more perfect union”. I am proud to salute Make the Road for all you have achieved – and what you will make happen in the days ahead. Congratulations, and I look forward to continuing to work together.
NYS Senator Brad Hoylman
With xeno- and transphobic policies increasing across the country, Make the Road’s efforts to support immigrants and other marginalized communities is ever more critical. Walking While Trans, Protect Our Courts Act, the Excluded Workers Fund. Over and over, Make the Road has successfully championed progressive values through grassroots organizing. It is an honor to celebrate this incredible organization and this year’s Gala honorees: Jumaane D. Williams, New York City Public Advocate; Ana María Archila, national movement leader; Little Amal Walks NYC, the community arts project; and the founders of Amazon Labor Union – Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls. Congratulations, and thank you.
NYS Senator Alessandra Biaggi
I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations to the honorees of this year’s Make the Road NY Gala: Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, Chris Smalls, Jumaane D. Williams, Ana María Archila, and the Little Amal Walks NYC project.
All of these honorees have been instrumental in the fight for the rights of workers, immigrants, and marginalized New Yorkers. Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, Chris Smalls fought for the creation of the first Amazon union in the country– a paramount win for workers across the country. Jumaane D. Williams and Ana María Archila led a historic campaign which centered the needs of working class communities and communities of color, and inspired countless others to fight for a better New York. And the Little Amal Walks NYC project has served as an incredible symbol of compassion, uplifting the stories of millions of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers worldwide.
Thank you to all of the honorees for your commitment to serving immigrant, working class, and communities of color and advancing justice in both New York State and around the nation. It is thanks to individuals like you that we are able to build a better, more just world.
Assembly Member Chris Burdick
Thank you to Make the Road NY for tenaciously advocating and providing life-changing services for the immigrant and working communities of New York. I’m particularly grateful for the work you do with the constituents I represent in the 93rd Assembly district. The impact you have in New York City and New York State is undeniable. Most recently, by welcoming and assisting the newest immigrants coming from Texas, Florida and beyond. Congratulations to the honorees Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, Chris Smalls, Jumaane D. Williams, Ana María Archila, and Little Amal Walks NYC. You are an inspiration to us all!
Assembly Member Maritza Davila
As the New York State Assembly representative for the North Brooklyn communities of Bushwick and Williamsburg, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the 2022 Make the Road NY Gala.
Make the Road NY has been an integral part of our community. They’ve been on the forefront, fighting for changes in policy against scrupulous landlords and providing legal support and representation for immigrant families. All in an essence to positively shape society through grassroots organizing and education that is transformative; creating a fair and just environment for community members to prosper and overcome adversities.
I’m proud of the work that Make the Road NY has accomplished over the years and I continue to stand by them as we work together to strengthen our community.
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou
Make the Road New York is a powerful force that drives positive change throughout our state. Our city and state’s failure to provide our communities with the resources we need is on full display. It is the work of organizations like Make the Road to organize and support the community that ensures the dignity of all New Yorkers. Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls founded the Amazon Labor Union and have altered the entire labor dynamic of the country for the better. They have inspired workers nationwide. Jumaane Wiliams and Ana María Archila have been long standing champions for our community in the state and have shown what true, progressive leadership looks like. Congratulations to all of the 2022 Honorees and I look forward to continuing our work together with Make the Road New York and all the outstanding honorees.
Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas
Felicidades Make the Road New York! I am excited to take part in another Annual Dignity, Community, and Power Awards Gala. My warmest congratulations to all the honorees tonight: The Amazon Labor Union, Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, and Chris Smalls, our New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, Ana Maria Archila, and Little Amal Walks NYC. We celebrate all of you for your hard work, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to our working-class communities.
I am honored to work alongside the leadership, staff, and volunteers at Make the Road NY, who lead with courage and respect. You have helped many New Yorkers build their power to achieve justice for themselves and their families. Make the Road NY has become a leader in the fight for justice for immigrant and working-class communities in New York. Communities like those I represent in Queens are grateful for the services Make the Road provides and the advocacy the organization engages in.
I look forward to fighting alongside you in the years to come.
Assembly Member Emily Gallagher
Congratulations and best wishes on the 2022 Dignity, Community and Power Awards Gala and another year of Make the Road New York’s transformational work for dignity and justice for all. MTR demonstrates principle and conviction in everything you do, so it’s no surprise that you have selected honorees as bold as you are. The Amazon Labor Union showed us that working people can come together and stand up to the biggest, most powerful corporations on the planet. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Ana Maria Archila define courage in politics. And Little Amal Walks confronted New Yorkers with the global refugee crisis that we must not ignore. While I regret I couldn’t join you all tonight in-person, my heart is with you, now and always. Solidarity forever!
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards
Greetings to you and to all the members, friends and supporters of Make the Road New York on the occasion of your annual Dignity, Community and Power Awards Gala.
Tonight’s event gives us the opportunity to celebrate the great success Make the Road New York has had promoting social justice for all. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of your entire organization, Make the Road New York has achieved several major victories that have significantly furthered the causes of dignity and justice for immigrant and working-class people.
Tonight is also a great opportunity to pay tribute to your Dignity, Community and Power Award honorees, who are all visionary changemakers committed to building a better future for our communities. On behalf of the 2.4 million residents of Queens, “The World’s Borough,” I offer our deepest thanks and sincerest congratulations to New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and to Ana María Archila, Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls.
I hope you and all those in attendance enjoy tonight’s Dignity, Community and Power Awards
Gala, and I wish you and everyone associated with Make the Road New York continued success in all your worthy endeavors.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine
Make the Road NY’s service work and advocacy are invaluable to immigrant and working-class New Yorkers. A champion of progressive change, you are building unstoppable grassroots power that will pave a more just future. Congratulations to tonight’s honorees: Amazon Labor Union founders Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, and Chris Smalls; national movement leaders Jumaane D. Williams and Ana María Archila; and Little Amal NYC. These distinguished honorees embody Make the Road NY’s values of dignity and justice for all. On behalf of the Borough of Manhattan, I wish you all another year of success and tireless service to the New Yorkers who need it most.
NYC Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala
Congratulations to Make the Road NY’s 2022 honorees! Make the Road NY’s overall mission to create change at all levels of government has played an integral role in providing community access to resources and support. They have provided legal and survival services to tackle discrimination, abuse and poverty, as well as, transformative education to develop community member’s abilities to lead their organization, movement, and society, and much more in their effort to create change at all levels of society. On behalf of East Harlem and the South Bronx, I thank you for all the work you do to uplift my community and other communities throughout New York City.
Council Member Sandy Nurse
Congrats to the Make The Road family on your hard won victory this year winning support for our Excluded and Essential Workers! It was an honor to take part in powerful and heartfelt actions with your members and to witness the passion of your organizers who never missed a single beat.
Make the Road has been a cornerstone institution in my community by providing a safe space for our youth to step into their political power, creating an organizing home for workers to fight for their rights, and for families to stay together. It is so important that we continue to support this organization that has touched so many lives.
Council Member Sandra Ung
Congratulations to Make the Road NY on the occasion of the 2022 Dignity, Community & Power Awards Gala. This is a well-deserved night to reflect on a year of hard work and accomplishments advocating for immigrant communities across the five boroughs. Without Make the Road’s leadership and advocacy, our working-class communities would lose a powerful ally and community organizer in their fight for dignity and economic justice. And congratulations to this year’s honorees, who have all been instrumental partners in advancing the goals of Make the Road NY. I look forward to welcoming you to your new permanent home in Queens, as well as celebrating many more years of success.
Council Member Lincoln Restler
Congratulations to Make the Road NY on the annual gala. When our rights are under attack – we can always count on Make the Road to lead the fight. I am inspired by the organizers and members of MRNY who relentlessly push for social, economic, and health justice everyday. Now more than ever, MRNY’s leadership in supporting immigrant New Yorkers is absolutely vital.
Congrats to the honorees – the extraordinary Amazon workers who won the most consequential union victory in decades and my friends Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Ana María Archila, who are the best of the best. Thank you all!
Council Member Chi Osse
Make the Road NY is a deeply special organization. It makes ours a better city for all New Yorkers – whether they have been here for a lifetime or for a day. It also makes New York more accessible, fighting to ensure that our doors are open and that our home is warm and welcoming for all who cross the threshold. I am deeply proud to call MTRNY a partner in building immigrant and working class power and thrilled to see such impactful and deserving individuals be recognized as the night’s honorees.
Council Member Alexa Avilés
I am grateful to Make the Road New York and your members for all the work you do to support immigrant, working families across our city and state. We stood together this year on many occasions, whether it was in the struggle for fairness for excluded workers, for dignity in our schools, or in defense of our democracy. There is so much more we have to achieve, and I look forward to continuing to uplift our communities together.
A shoutout to all the 2022 Make the Road honorees: Amazon Labor Union Founders Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer and Chris Smalls, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, la campeonesa Ana María Archila and Little Amal NYC, whose worldwide journey inspires us to stand with refugees across the globe. It gives me strength to know we have each others’ back and to see Make the Road grow stronger every year.
Council Member Crystal Hudson
Make The Road has long been a source of community empowerment and a stalwart advocate for the material needs of our immigrant neighbors across New York State. It is an honor to celebrate the organization’s achievements and recognize the invaluable contributions of tonight’s honorees. We do not often get the opportunity to come together and rejoice in the progress we have made, so it is truly humbling to join Make The Road and fellow guests in recognition of all we have accomplished and in acknowledgement of the work we have yet to achieve. Together, we’ve proven, time and again, that our communities hold the power, that organizing and mobilizing is our strength, and that the vision of justice and equity we all deserve is within reach.
Council Member Carlina Rivera
Make the Road’s work is vital to our collective fight to ensure our City’s social safety net remains an equitable support system for all immigrant New Yorkers. I commend all of those honored at this year’s gala – the impact of Amazon Labor Union founders Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, and Chris Smalls is meaningful for workers not only in the five boroughs but across the entire country. I’m also proud to be a legislative partner with Make the Road’s honorees as we rewrite unjust laws, including my legislation prohibiting solitary confinement with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. And thank you to the Little Amal project for calling attention to the needs of migrants and refugees – there is no justice or equity in New York City without justice and equity for our immigrant communities,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.
Council Member Shekar Krishnan
Felicidades! Congratulations on another year of service to your members and to the entire immigrant community of New York City!
Make the Road New York continues to build and lead the most powerful grassroots movement of working-class immigrants in the entire state. And you have always used that power to fight for justice – for undocumented essential workers during COVID, for street vendors and day laborers, and most recently, for asylum seekers from our southern border. Despite the real challenges that our communities face every day, organizations like Make the Road New York give me hope that we can and will continue to thrive in New York City.
I also want to join you in celebrating your honorees tonight: Amazon Labor Union founders Gerald Bryson, Jordan Flowers, Derrick Palmer, and Chris Smalls; NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams; Little Amal Walks NYC; and of course, the fearless activist and tireless leader of our movement, Ana Maria Archila. All are pioneers, blazing the trails that so many have followed.
May this coming year bring even more Dignity, Community, and Power to everyone at Make the Road New York! Pa’lante!