During her ceremony at CUNY York College on February 6th, Nantasha Williams made history as the first woman councilmember to represent District 27. Several local and state government officials praised Councilwoman Williams for her dedication to politics, even following a previous election loss in 2016.
York College President Marcia V. Keizs welcomed The Knight News to the York College Atrium. In her speech, Keizs asked us to “take a moment to understand how important CUNY is to this city and how important York College is to this community.” Keizs noted that “there is a very short walk from where you were to where you want to go.”
Among the political figures who feted Williams were U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer, Congressman Gregory W. Beats, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and Speaker of New York City Council Adrianne Adams. Each noted the important work that Williams will accomplish during her time as a councilwoman. “We need a criminal justice system that works and doesn’t violate people’s civil rights,” Congressman Beats said.
Also in attendance were several religious leaders who offered the audience prayers regarding Williams’s forthcoming time in the New York City Council office. In his prayer, Reverend Stephen Green said, “We thank you for Nantasha Williams, our sheer warrior…We need fearless leaders in the city council. We need those who are not afraid to stand up to racism and sexism.”
After Willams’ swearing in, the audience had an opportunity to hear from the councilwoman herself. In her speech, the councilmember placed emphasis on the locality of politics. She cited her previous election loss when she ran for New York City assemblymember in 2016. Williams said that during her campaign for assemblymember, she wasn’t thinking about politics. “I wanted to do the work,” she said. Additionally, Williams touched upon her love of dance, “I spent a good portion of my childhood in dance classes. So, most of my friends come from dance classes. Dance is still very much life to me.”
The inauguration involved presentations and performances by young adults from the Southeast Queens area. The Boy Scouts of America Troop 263 from Queens Village presented the American flag. Early in the inauguration’s proceedings, a duet of dancers from the Edge School of the Arts Dance Group performed a dance to a pre-recorded speech by Williams. Later in the proceedings, dancers from the DeVore Dance Center ranged from children to young adults and incorporated drum beats into their performance. Dancers from Benjamin N. Cardozo High school performed a routine to the song “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo.