Fil-Ams mourn death of former NYC Mayor David Dinkins

Loida Nicolas Lewis with Mayor David Dinkins | Contributed photo

David Dinkins, New York City’s first Black mayor, died in his Manhattan home on Monday, Nov. 23. He was 93.

His death comes weeks after the death of his wife Joyce, who passed away on Oct. 11 at the age of 89.

Dinkins won the mayoral race in 1989, beating Rudy Giuliani by 47,000 votes and served for one term. He would lose a rematch by almost the same margin in 1993.

Community leaders in the city marked his passing and expressed their condolences to the family.

“In this age of Trumpism where boorish behavior and shameless lies seem to be acceptable, Mayor David Dinkins exemplified the decency, courtesy and elegance of a gentleman,” community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis told the Asian Journal.

“Most of all, he was always available to anyone who seeks his counsel, advise and mentorship,” added Lewis, who is also the spokesperson of Filipino Americans for Biden. “May his comportment be a model to the young people of New York and the rest of the world.”

Lolita Valderrama Savage remembered her art exhibit at the Philippine Center in 1993 and 2008, both of which Mr. Dinkins attended.

“Thank you for bringing respect and love to our Filipino people and friends at the opening of my art exhibitions. Rest in peace, dearest friend,” she said on her Facebook post.

Lolita Valderrama Savage (right) seen here with her husband Frank (left), then Consul General Cecile Rebong and Mayor Dinkins during the opening of her art exhibit at the Philippine Center in New York. | Contributed photo

Valderrama Savage said that Dinkins was among the first friends she met when she can to America.

“He was humble and a true gentleman. He will hear your prayers,” she added.

Aries dela Cruz (left) in a 1992 photo with then Mayor Dinkins and his mother, Tess in their Queens apartment. | Contributed photo

Community members also posted their photos with Dinkins, who attended a number of events, including a concert of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2016, and some events held at the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

Dinkins was a former Manhattan Borough President before becoming the first and to date, only Black mayor of New York. He began his political career at the New York State Assembly in 1966.

Tess dela Cruz is thankful to Dinkins because “he left many traces on the city,” including the US Open, Restaurant Week and Broadway on Broadway, among many of the projects he spearheaded.

Aries dela Cruz posted a photo taken in 1992 taken with his mother Tess and then Mayor Dinkins.

“Blizzard of 92 in Queens as he visited immigrant communities to make sure we were doing okay,” he said.

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