Statement on charlottesville
The failure of our policymakers to seriously address the practice of broken windows policing, gentrification, and the continued operation of Rikers Island is a sign that white supremacy is alive and well even in progressive centers like New York City.
I, along with our campaign staff & volunteers, strongly condemn the racist Neo-Nazi rally that left Heather Heyer dead and many more injured. However, it is important to note that white supremacy does not always come in the form of Confederate flags and swastikas. More often than not, white supremacy is subtle, making its way into the policies of even seemingly progressive Democrats.
New York City is known for being a very progressive city. Our mayor is a Democrat along with the vast majority of the City Council. However, under the guise of "broken windows" policing, the NYPD inflicts harm & hardship on low-income NYers of color every day, arresting 100's of black and brown people for minor infractions that have been virtually decriminalized in white areas. Under Mayor De Blasio, for instance, something as minor as fare evasion is the 2nd most common NYPD arrest.
That is not all. According to de Blasio's plan, Rikers Island, a brutal jail colony named after a notoriously racist 19th century judge who sent escaped slaves back to the South, will be open for at least the next 10 years. About 80% of NYers currently in Rikers jails have not been convicted of a crime & are supposedly presumed innocent. It is a place where someone like Kalief Browder, a black teenager imprisoned for a crime he insisted that he did not commit, can do three years without being found guilty of anything.
In NYC, real estate companies, working in tandem with De Blasio, promote higher rents in communities of color, thus pushing people out of their own neighborhoods. It is a city with a public school system that is the 3rd most segregated in the nation. Research shows that black & brown children are much more likely than white children to attend dilapidated schools with few resources & inexperienced teachers.
White supremacy is an evil ideology that has existed at the heart of America since our country's inception. Every one of us has an obligation to fight it aggressively, whether it comes from Neo-Nazis or the Liberal Democratic Establishment.
I’ve lived in this city my entire life, and I love it deeply. However, we must be honest about how corrosive racist practices persist at every level of public policy in NYC, from policing & criminal justice, to housing & homelessness to public education. It is only by being honest that we can begin building a city where #blacklivesmatter and where racial, social, and economic justice is a daily reality -- not just something that politicians pay lip service to -- for all New Yorkers.