NEW YORK - Politicians and political hopefuls gathered at the National Action Network office in Harlem Saturday to remember the life and legacy of David Dinkins, who died Tuesday night at the age of 93. 

“We are going to make certain that nobody is going to be able to say that we didn’t show our love and our affection,” said former congressman Charles Rangel. 

What You Need To Know

  • Elected officials and political hopefuls gathered at the National Action Network offices in Harlem Saturday to honor the life and legacy of former mayor David Dinkins

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray spoke with NY1 before delivering remarks, reflecting on Dinkins’ impact on their personal and political lives

  • Dinkins died Tuesday at the age of 93

Rangel was a member of the Harlem political powerhouse known as the “Gang of Four” with Dinkins. The other members included former Manhattan borough president Percy Sutton, and former state senator Basil Paterson, father of former governor David Paterson.

“They were four men, four gladiators, four Harlem horsemen who said ‘No, you all are not going to keep denying us,’” explained Reverend Al Sharpton.

Together, the four men ascended the political ladder, Dinkins breaking a barrier when he became the first black mayor of New York City in 1990.

“I began to watch how he was managing an incredibly divided city, the indignities, the underestimation, sometimes the disrespect,” said state Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins.

But some spoke not only to remember a legacy of public service, but they said also to protect a legacy under attack.

“David Dinkins as a mayor is not being represented correctly,” said former governor Paterson.

He and Congressman Adriano Espaillat said Dinkins must be remembered as the leader who inherited a city plagued by crime and divided by race. It was Dinkins, they say, who governed through it and unified.

“Crime is going up, he got the monies for community policing, the police officers would walk around the neighborhood and they would get to know the young people and they would get to know the small businesses and there will be a relationship so none of the stuff that’s going on right now could happen,” Espaillat said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray also attended. NY1 caught up with them outside the venue before they made remarks. De Blasio and McCray spoke about the late mayor’s influence on them personally and politically.

“We would not be here if it weren’t for mayor Dinkins, we would not be standing here,” McCray said.

“Yea, it’s as simple as that,” added de Blasio, who met McCray when they both worked for the Dinkins administration.

“We wouldn’t be married, we wouldn’t have our children, he gave us every opportunity, and he also gave us so much warmth, he was always encouraging us and everyone who worked for him,” the mayor said.

“A big tremendous inspiration for us in everything we do,” McCray added.

“We carry him in our heart right now and that’s what we are going to tell people. He’s still here, just in a different way,” de Blasio said.

Also in attendance were candidates for mayor, banker Ray McGuire, former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, and city council member Carlos Menchaca, and other local leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer, State Senator John Liu and Assembly member Inez Dickens.