Monday night Harry Belafonte legendary musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte addressed more than 2,000 people who had gathered to celebrate Democracy Now!’s 20th anniversary at New York City’s historic Riverside Church. Belafonte spoke on what it could mean for Americans under a Donald Trump administration.
HARRY BELAFONTE: In a few weeks from now, if there is a platform on which I will be privileged to stand and speak, my opening remarks will probably be something like “Welcome to the Fourth Reich.” I was talking with a comrade recently. He was a victim of the Third Reich. He was a victim of the great Holocaust and what happened to the Jewish people during the reign of Hitler. And all my life I have committed myself to making sure that here, this country, not for the want of effort, but I and so many others would be forever committed to the idea that America will remain an open and a free and a democratic society. With each cycle, those thoughts become a bit dimmed. Now, I think, more than ever, we are in need of Democracy Now!
I’m just at the threshold of my 90th year, and I had often—who said that? I never thought I’d live this long, but to be able to share an evening with Danny Glover, and certainly with Noam Chomsky, for whom I have great affection and deep respect, that I can kind of dance out of here feeling like, well, I did it all. But, in a way, each time it was done, we kind of figured it was the last time we would have to do it. During a lifetime of Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, those who mentored me and guided me and inspired me, that I should have lived long enough to be able to stand here and once again say thanks to all my colleagues, to all of my comrades, to all of the people who have sacrificed so greatly to make this nation whole—we are looking upon a curious time. But I think it’s a time that should be used as an opportunity to know that we have to make a much bigger difference than we’ve made up to now. We should not let the current state of affairs dull the fact that all that we have done was worthless. Nothing could be further from the truth.