Lawmakers pose with controversial 9/11 banner at climate change rally
Two Democratic state senators are under fire from the state’s Senate Republican leader over a photo showing them posing with 9/11 imagery at a climate rally Tuesday.
The image, taken by a reporter for Politico, shows state Senators Rachel May (D-Syracuse) and Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) with an image showing an airplane that reads "climate change" looming next to an image of the Twin Towers.
Some scenes from @NYRenews rally for $15 billion in budget for climate law implementation— Marie French (@m_jfrench) March 8, 2022
Several lawmakers here to speak as they await more detail in conference about what’s in their one houses… pic.twitter.com/p5WZ6TYPpt
The rally in Albany was organized by NY Renews, which said its goal was to pressure lawmakers to include climate justice funding in their budgets.
May posted a statement saying she "did not see the content of the sign" before posing for the photo.
The imagery on the banner is unacceptable and I would never endorse such a cynical use of our state’s history to score cheap points. I apologize sincerely to all New Yorkers and call upon the organizers to similarly condemn this message.— Dr. Rachel May (@SRachelMay) March 8, 2022
"The imagery on the banner is unacceptable and I would never endorse such a cynical use of our state’s history to score cheap points," she said in a statement posted to her personal Twitter account.
Her office declined to comment and referred NewsChannel 13 to the statement.
NY Renews told NewsChannel 13 Tuesday that no one from their organization brought the sign to the rally. A spokeswoman apologized for the banner and said the organization "did not sanction this image."
Today, hundreds of people from across NY gathered in Albany to call for $15 billion in climate funding. Unfortunately, during our rally, a banner depicting 9/11 was used. NY Renews *did not* sanction this image and condemns the use of this image. We apologize to all New Yorkers.— NY Renews (@NYRenews) March 8, 2022
NewsChannel 13 also reached out to Jackson for comment and did not immediately hear back.
He posted a statement on Twitter this evening, claiming he too did not see the image on the banner.
"I did not note the details of the artwork and would never support anything that denigrates the memory of all who were impacted by 9/11. The artwork depicted is wrong and I fully reject it," the statement reads.
I did not note the details of the artwork and would never support anything that denigrates the memory of all who were impacted by 9/11. The artwork depicted is wrong and I fully reject it. 2/5— Robert Jackson (@SenatorRJackson) March 8, 2022
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Counsins released a statement saying, "The image on the banner at a climate change rally that took place at the Capitol was wrong and inappropriate. We must do better if we want to enact positive change — and all sides of the political spectrum must hold ourselves accountable in doing so."