"Right on!" a spectator yells.

"Diversify the artwork at city hall, because when our children come here, when black and Latino children come here, they should see images of their heroes as well."

A smattering of applause. All eyes are now on Barron.

Charles Barron
Christopher Farber
Charles Barron

"As I depart, I will leave you with a better half," he says. "You think I was something — when she finishes with you, you're gonna ask me to come back! I'm sure that Governor Cuomo and [Assembly Speaker] Shelly Silver can't wait till I get to Albany. I'll try not to disappoint them and get there as soon as I can."

Just how soon he gets there is in Cuomo's hands. If the governor calls for a special election, a Barron victory is guaranteed: Brooklyn's Democratic Committee selects the nominee in a special election, and nearly every member representing the 42nd District is a Barron ally. Charles and Inez serve as the party's two district leaders.

But if Cuomo slates the race for the normal election cycle, leaving the seat vacant through the end of the year, Barron will have to get past Banks in the primary. That's no sure thing. Banks has already secured the endorsement of Hakeem Jeffries, who vanquished Barron en route to Congress.

"Finally, I wanna leave y'all with something special," Barron says. "I have written a pledge for you that you can use to replace the pledge here."

Nervous giggles and chatter sweep the room.

"Ready? Repeat after me. I pledge allegiance . . ."

Few voices speak up.

"Look at you, you scared! You can't even play with me. Y'all are scared! I pledge allegiance to rid this nation of racism, sexism, classism."

The crowd echoes the line.

"And all forms of discrimination for which this nation stands."

Just laughs this time.

"I pledge to fight for the eradication of poverty."

Everyone proudly recites.

"And equitable distribution of wealth, income, and opportunity."


"Finally," he says, allowing the buzz to die down. "I pledge to unite this nation under human rights until there's liberty and justice for all."

The ovation begins before he finishes.


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