New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
State of the City 2017
“Who We Are”
February 16, 2017
Remarks As Prepared for Delivery
Hello, Brooklyn! Good afternoon, buenas tardes, as-salām alaykum, Bonswa!
Thank you to our Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. And thank you Wilmer for that touching introduction.
Welcome to the breathtaking Kings Theater in the one, the only borough of Kings!
Look around. This stunning hall on bustling Flatbush Avenue tells the story of New York City. Of rebirth and resiliency. Of revival—and second chances.
Esta es nuestra historia. It’s our story. It contains shared experiences and ideals that tie generations of New Yorkers together.
Our story has made us the center of discovery and change since our founding days as the settlement of New Amsterdam.
We are the tribes of the Lenape and the City’s first immigrant – el primer inmigrante – Juan Rodriguez – who came here from Santo Domingo in 1613.
We are Snug Harbor, Prospect Park, Orchard Beach, Jacob Riis, and the murals that animate the streets of El Barrio.
We are “the Little Flower,” Fiorello La Guardia, who welcomed refugees as a young interpreter on Ellis Island, and later fought for immigrants when he led our City.
We are the stops on the Underground Railroad. And we are the rebellion at Stonewall, the fight for worker’s rights, and the women’s liberation movement.
Our heritage is the Young Lords, Vito Marcantonio and Herman Badillo. The comedy of Joan Rivers. The designs of Vera Wang. The skyhook of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
We live in neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Losaida, Chinatown, Woodlawn and Port Richmond – neighborhoods that have embraced generations of immigrants.
Inmigrantes selling piraguas in the Heights, immigrants playing steel drums along Eastern Parkway during the West Indian Day Parade, and immigrants building our City. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Freedom Tower. Con sus propias manos.
Immigrants…they get the job done!
This is who we are. A city of simple origins and outsized ambition. Forged in adversity. Shaped by the hard work and successes of immigrants.
Our history is the music of the Beastie Boys, Biggie and Barbara – the Ramones Y El Cantante Hector Lavoe.
Our history is Supreme Court Justices like Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and the Notorious RBG.
Our history is Emma Lazarus, whose words “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are inscribed on the statue in our harbor that represents our highest ideals of freedom to the world.
So whether you were born in Mott Haven or Mexico; Sunset Park or Syria; Corona or the Caribbean—if you are here, you are a New Yorker.
Esta es tu historia. This is your story. And this is who we are.
New York has always persevered, no matter the obstacle. Whether defying a King in England or a President in Washington, we stand up for what is right.
Because in the words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose message resonates as we celebrate Black History Month, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
And now—when our resolve to do what is right is being tested, and when history has pressed us into action—this is a time to remember who we are.
¡Somos Nueva York! We ARE New York City!
The record of accomplishment this Council has built in three years is unmatched.
We overhauled our criminal justice system by lowering penalties for minor offenses, and banning the box to give New Yorkers a fair shot at a second chance.
We expanded our human rights laws, protected New Yorkers’ gender identities, and brought feminine hygiene products into schools and shelters.
We created affordable housing, made City services more accessible to New Yorkers, and invested over one hundred million dollars in our parks and senior centers.
We strengthened the best campaign finance law in the nation, brought needed accountability to the Department of Correction, and established the Office of the Civil Justice Coordinator, so that families have a better chance of staying in their homes.
We recognized the hardships faced by the women and men in our armed forces, and built our own Department of Veterans Services to connect vets with housing, education, and employment.
And when we see thousands of New Yorkers at risk of deportation, we say emphatically, decisively: ¡No mas! Not in our City.
Because of this City Council, every unaccompanied minor—like Wilmer—has a lawyer; participatory Budgeting brought government directly to you, and young women have the confidence to control their own destinies.
We expanded the Summer Youth Employment Program and offered an unprecedented 60,000 jobs to young people, brought a talented, diverse class of new graduates to City service through our Social Justice Fellowship program, strengthened our commitment to technology and inclusion, and made libraries and cultural institutions more accessible.
Time and time again, we have supported our immigrants—nuestros hermanos y hermanas.
This is the record of this City Council. A Council that is unafraid to lead through justice and through fairness. So please, join me in thanking your incredible body of legislators!
There is so much to be proud of, but still so much more to do. In our final 10 months together, we renew our pledge to fight for all New Yorkers.
This year, we will continue to stand for justice, access and fairness. Justicia. Acceso. E igualdad.
This year, we will once again show the world just who we are.
And we’re going to start by leading a new, national effort to build lasting partnerships with legislative leaders across the country.
We’ve reached a critical point in our nation’s history, and it’s imperative that we create opportunities to rise above divisive rhetoric and learn from one another. So we will team up with the National League of Cities to convene legislative leaders for a first of its kind gathering.
This collaboration will assemble Council speakers and presidents from the largest cities across the United States, to help legislative bodies tackle issues ranging from immigration, to technology, to criminal justice reform.
Just imagine dozens of Criminal Justice Reform Acts and municipal identification card programs instituted in every big city across the United States. The possibilities for national solidarity on almost any issue are endless.
I am proud to announce that the inaugural meeting of legislative leaders will take place this April in Council Chambers.
Juntos, somos más fuertes. Because we are a city that knows we are never stronger than when we are united.
But as we have seen, unity does not always guarantee equality. That’s why we must create open dialogues about race, gender and sexuality.
So we will tackle these hard issues head on by ensuring students have the knowledge they need to learn, and that educators have the tools they need to discuss diversity in the classroom.
We have a pressing responsibility to advance this dialogue – and to get it right. So today, we’re unveiling several proposals to strengthen and support education for all of our children.
This means creating a new model for culturally responsive education, addressing chronic overcrowding, and teaching comprehensive sex ed.
Let’s face it. We live in the most culturally diverse city in the world. Yet studies show that the majority of our schools are failing to respond to the cultural identity and experiences of most of our students.
If we want all students to feel connected to what they are doing, we need curricula that takes the backgrounds of all students into account.
Because having role models who come from the same communities where students live shows our youngest New Yorkers that no matter where you’re from, nada está afuera de tu alcance.
Nothing is out of reach.
You, too, can be the next Neil deGrasse Tyson, Katherine G. Johnson, or New York City Council Speaker. And having role models from other cultures teaches inclusion, acceptance, and respect.
This is who we are. A City that embraces our differences and celebrates diversity, and we will teach our children the same.
First, the Council will greatly increase the number of teachers who receive professional development training in culturally responsive teaching. With an investment of over half a million dollars, 360 teachers in 180 public schools will be able to take part in the Critically Conscious Educators program.
We will also provide training to new teachers on how to talk about race in the classroom. This will give our educators the tools they need to understand race and racism, and will promote positive racial identity development in children.
And training our educators will pay huge dividends, as more students will be taught in ways that encourage inclusion and critical thinking.
We will also partner with AT&T, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and families to combat the cyberbullying crisis and empower young people and parents to use social media responsibly. Mrs. Clementi, thank you for being here and helping make sure no other family has to endure the pain you went through.
And today, we’re calling on New York State to review the learning standards used in our public school system, and to make important changes so that they require more culturally relevant content across all subject matters.
Universal themes in Shakespeare are important, and necessary. But so are Reginald Shepherd’s poems about the Black gay experience in America.
We will also make sure students have the individual attention they need by working to reduce class size and overcrowding in our public schools.
There simply aren’t enough seats in many NYC neighborhoods to accommodate every student. And the current approach to building schools isn’t working.
So the City Council will tackle the issue of siting public schools and reimagine the way we plan for school capacity. We will work with real estate, land use, and education experts on how we can create classroom, lab, and physical education space for ALL students.
And now, let’s talk about the birds and the bees.
Despite research linking sexual health education with better outcomes for students, it’s not being taught the way it should be in most City public schools. And discussions about how to prevent and address the trauma of sexual abuse, is not required as part of the health curriculum.
So today, we pledge to advocate for comprehensive sexual health education for all students in all grades.
We will pass legislation creating a sexual health education task force to review the current curriculum and how it is being implemented. This task force will consult with health experts, parents, and teachers to develop recommendations for improving and expanding how sex ed is taught in all New York City public schools.
If we don’t provide our young people with the knowledge they need to make well-informed, healthy decisions about their bodies, we are not living up to our responsibilities as a City.
And in the face of threats to undermine a woman’s own self-determination, the City Council will launch an aggressive new campaign to defend a woman’s constitutional right to make decisions about her own body.
When equal rights come under attack, when women are threatened, and when it seems as though we are being plunged back into the dark ages…¡Marchamos y Protestamos!
We march. We protest. We come together, just like I did with my own Mami, who is here today, when I was growing up. And we unite to beat back the blunt forces of ignorance, sexism and misogyny.
This is who we are.
The choices we make about our bodies are our choices.
We will not let the federal government dictate what happens to our uteruses.
We will also not remain quiet while the federal government seeks to deny basic health care coverage to millions of New Yorkers.
We applaud Governor Cuomo’s action to require that health insurance plans in New York State cover contraception without co-pays.
And here in New York City, we will fight to ensure that all women—todas las mujeres—have access to free birth control regardless of their healthcare plan, including City employees.
A year and a half ago the Young Women’s Initiative recommended that the City create a fund for long acting reversible contraceptives. Based on this proposal, the City Council has already allocated nearly $800,000 for this important form of birth control.
Going forward, we will advocate for this money to be baselined and expanded so free contraception is available to any woman in our city who wants it.
Finally, today, we are renewing our call for the State Legislature to pass the Reproductive Health Act and protect a woman’s decision-making power over her own body.
We will NOT accept the destruction of this basic human right.
Porque somos una ciudad que defiende a las mujeres, a todos los Neoyorkinos.
We are a City that stands up for women, and for all New Yorkers.
We don’t just tolerate our differences – we embrace them.
So, whether you are transgender or gender non-conforming, an immigrant or a person of color, or someone whose voice has been marginalized or silenced, we must do a better job of providing equitable services to all New Yorkers.
So, we will pass legislation directing the Administration to set racial and gender equity goals for our City, and to assess programs, policies, and regulations for their impact on women and people of color.
We know that institutional racism and sexism lead to poverty.
By recognizing how to combat racial and gender disparities, we can target our programming and resources and be even more effective at fighting against hunger, educating our children, and reducing incarceration rates.
We must make sure all New Yorkers are on equal footing – and that we’re providing a pathway for all New Yorkers to be heard and to succeed.
This is who we are.
A City that knows that the rules governing us must keep pace with changing times.
A City that values our diverse communities – nuestra diversidad – and actively strengthens them.
A City that recognizes and meets challenges, so that real and lasting progress can be achieved.
And over the last three years, we’ve done just that.
We’ve made tremendous strides toward strengthening our criminal justice system.
We hired 1,300 new police officers to support a neighborhood policing model.
We invested in our youth, creating new, year-round and summer jobs, so they have a better chance at a brighter future.
We recognized the injustice of being burdened with a permanent criminal record for being in a park after dark, and created more proportionate penalties for low-level offenses to divert them to civil court.
We heard the anguished cries of Kalief Browder, and established the Independent Commission on Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, so that the dream of closing Rikers can become a reality.
Going forward, the Council will pursue critical reforms to reduce pre-trial incarceration rates, support community-based justice, and promote fairer outcomes in our criminal justice system.
We know that the vast majority of people at Rikers Island are pre- trial detainees, incarcerated solely because they are too poor to afford bail. But we also know that of those who can post bail, about 75% do so in less than a week.
Locking people up for a couple of days does nothing to make our streets safer. But it does upend lives needlessly, causing people to miss out on work, school, and time with their children – not to mention the effects on a person’s mental health and the enormous cost of processing and housing them.
Right now, there is a small window when bail can be posted before a defendant is sent to Rikers. Unfortunately, if a friend or family member misses that tiny window, you may have to spend an extra 24 hours in jail – or more. And vast inefficiencies, including the fact that DOC still tracks detainees using an antiquated paper system, have only made these problems worse.
The time you have to make bail before being sent to jail should not be dependent on when the next bus to Rikers is leaving the courthouse.
So the Council will pass legislation requiring the Department of Correction to accept bail payments immediately after bail is ordered at any criminal court. And they will be required to release inmates within a few hours of posting bail.
The idea is simple: cut red tape, remove inefficiencies and stop the churn of detainees –primarily young men of color – from unnecessary and harmful incarceration.
We’ll also reduce the number of people who are sent to Rikers – and to criminal court at all – by supporting true diversion programs to help people who are addicted to drugs.
Imagine someone you love, struggling with addiction. But instead of getting the help they need, they’re sent to Rikers.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs allow officers to re-direct low-level offenders to community-based support and treatment services, instead of jail and prosecution.
Lo que necesitan es ayuda y apoyo. No encarcelación.
Because jail is not the answer to addiction.
So the Council will partner with District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to establish a LEAD program right here in Brooklyn.
And we will support the HOPE program, developed in Staten Island by District Attorney Michael McMahon, to address the outbreak of opioid abuse that has taken the lives of too many New Yorkers.
We will also continue to move toward a model of community-based justice by establishing a Neighborhood Justice Panel with Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark.
Many crimes impact not only individual victims, but also the community as a whole.
Tasking a group of fellow community members with the responsibility of imposing consequences for low-level misdemeanors like petit larceny will promote justice and empower neighborhoods.
The Council will also continue our critical work to promote fairer outcomes in the criminal justice system.
Because criminal convictions remain a hindrance long after an individual’s debt to society has been paid, the City Council is calling on the State to seal certain types of criminal records to give people that second chance.
We must also safeguard New Yorkers against injustice and make sure that in the event of a false conviction, we have the tools we need to right these wrongs.
So, working with the Staten Island District Attorney, we will support the creation of that borough’s first Conviction Integrity Unit.
Since launching CIU’s in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, those offices have exonerated, vacated or dismissed charges against dozens of individuals, who spent decades imprisoned.
If we expect New Yorkers to put their full faith in the criminal justice system, there must be vigilant oversight, so that going forward, patterns or practices that lead to injustice are identified and addressed.
And we must also work to keep young people off Rikers Island in the first place.
16 to 19 year olds are at a crucial age of development in their lives. And just one visit to Rikers can put them on a destructive path that leads back to jail and into a cycle of recidivism from which they may never escape.
So, the Council will work to provide judges with more alternatives to pre-trial incarceration for youth.
And we MUST update draconian laws that set the age of criminal responsibility in New York State at just 16 years old.
This is the third time I have delivered a State of the City speech and called for this important measure.
Trying teenagers as adults in court does nothing except increase the likelihood that they will become repeat offenders.
New York is one of only of two states that still prosecutes all 16 year olds as adults.
So today, the Council renews our demand for the State Legislature to profoundly improve the lives of countless young people by raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18.
Eso es lo correcto.
Because we believe in New Yorkers, and the promise of a second chance.
One year ago today, I called for the clearance of low-level summons warrants ten years or older.
There are 1.5 MILLION outstanding summons warrants in this City for minor offenses like having an open container of alcohol in public.
Because of the Criminal Justice Reform Act, the majority of these offenses will never even be sent to criminal court. These are individuals who have had no contact with the criminal justice system for over a decade – yet they are unknowingly at risk of arrest, for cases that are impossible to prosecute.
So today, I am proud to announce the Council will be delivering criminal justice reform for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Working with the Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens District Attorneys, we will clear low-level summons warrants that are ten years or older.
We are a City that believes in justice, not in supporting a broken summons system.
This is who we are.
Una ciudad que cree en los Neoyorkinos. En una verdadera reforma judicial. Y en la promesa de las segundas oportunidades.
We know that promoting better outcomes means supporting vulnerable New Yorkers starting when they are young.
The shocking reality is that every year, over one million of our fellow New Yorkers struggle with not having enough food to feed themselves or their families. The epidemic of hunger in our City is real, and it disproportionally affects women, children, seniors and communities of color.
This City Council has fought to combat food insecurity by funding emergency food programs that operate on the front lines in the war against hunger in all 5 boroughs. And for the first time ever, we put food pantries in public schools, to give hungry families access to nutritious food.
Today, we’re calling on the Administration to increase the baseline funding for Emergency Food Assistance Programs from $8 million to $22 million dollars.
A $14 million dollar increase will meet the basic needs of more than 500 food pantries and soup kitchens across the City, and provide food relief for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers – including children.
We’re also renewing our call for the Administration to provide the 1.1 million students in NYC public schools with Universal Free Lunch.
The sad reality is, many New York City public school students wake up and go to bed hungry.
But as we have seen in our middle school lunch pilot program, when hunger isn’t an issue, children do better in school and lead healthier lives.
Children aren’t the only ones who need our help.
Seniors are also at risk of being food deprived, and the effects on their health and well-being could be equally devastating.
We are all going to be seniors one day – some of us sooner than others.
And we must make sure that we take care of one another – especially our food insecure seniors. Nuestros abuelos y abuelas.
So, the Council will pass legislation to increase low-income seniors’ participation in the SNAP program.
Outreach workers will visit local senior centers and help our seniors enroll in SNAP, so they don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
At the national level, we’ll fight for our seniors – and any New Yorker who is food insecure.
Last year, the proposed cuts to federal SNAP funding under the House Budget Committee were $150 billion dollars. These cuts would jeopardize food assistance for millions of low-income families, and slash benefits for millions of households.
No permitiremos que esto pase. We cannot allow this to happen.
And as we fight to preserve and increase federal assistance, we will also come up with more responsive solutions to combat hunger.
In a city like New York, there are thousands of places that throw out edible food on a daily basis. The food wasted each year would fill at least 100 subway cars each day.
But picture for a moment what it would mean if we could better connect food rescue organizations with food disposers.
To get there, we will pass legislation requiring the development of a City Web portal to connect food establishments with food rescue organizations to feed the hungry.
And while we partner with businesses to help New Yorkers, we’ll also enhance our support of the small business sector.
New York City is safer than ever, but it hasn’t always been that way.
When times were tough and entire neighborhoods were written off, our small businesses stood strong and helped make areas like Flatbush what they are today.
So whether you’re at Lakruwana in Stapleton…
Tom’s Restaurant in Coney Island…
Or Casa Latina Music Shop on East 116th Street…
We know that we must continue to support our small businesses and eliminate barriers that hinder their success.
Over the last three years, we’ve worked to streamline small business services and significantly reduce fines.
This year, the City Council will focus on reforming how some fines are paid. And businesses, building owners – and the City itself – will benefit.
We’ll give businesses the know-how they need to comply with the City’s myriad record keeping requirements instead of paying penalties.
We’ll post free online tools so that small businesses and startups know what is available to them to support their growth and compliance with the law.
To encourage building owners to take a more proactive approach to resolving non-hazardous violations, we’ll introduce legislation to reduce fines for owners who can show they’ve taken serious steps to fix a problem.
And we’ll incentivize the use of on-site compliance consultation programs for owners of businesses and multiple dwellings, to ensure that they have help adhering to rules and regulations.
We’ll even encourage owners to reinvest and bring us closer to our goal of cutting carbon emissions by giving businesses and building owners the option to make energy efficiency improvements instead of paying certain fines.
Upgrading lighting systems, installing insulated windows, and retro-commissioning smaller buildings are environmentally friendly measures that will save owners money – and reduce carbon emissions in the process.
And while we’re working with landlords to make their buildings greener, we’ll also pass comprehensive legislation to strengthen the City’s residential tenant harassment laws.
Every day, I walk through this City.
I talk to New Yorkers.
I read your tweets – even the mean ones!
Y todos los días, les escucho.
I hear about the challenges facing New Yorkers fighting to stay in their homes.
Tenant harassment is all too rampant. But because it can be hard to prove in court, most harassment goes unchecked. And even when a tenant does beat the odds and win, they typically get nothing.
We’re going to change that.
Going forward, the Council will pass legislation so that when a landlord threatens a tenant or commits another bad act, the burden will be on the landlord to prove it wasn’t harassment.
And we’re going to give tenants who win in housing court the right to collect fair damages and expand the law’s reach to include more types of homes and harassing acts.
We’ll also take a close look at how some unscrupulous landlords may use construction work to push out tenants from their homes.
And as I announced with Mayor de Blasio just days ago, the City Council will pass groundbreaking legislation to provide legal representation to all low-income New Yorkers in housing court.
And as we advocate for tenants in this City, we’ll continue to support our public housing residents.
More than 400,000 New Yorkers call places like the Wagner and Betances Houses home.
So we will work to make sure that NYCHA isn’t just the cornerstone of affordable housing, but a center of opportunity.
First, we will make it easier for residents to have repairs made in their home by expanding FlexOps to serve more tenants in the early morning and evening hours.
Next, we’ll partner with NYCHA and the Murphy Institute to create the Resident Leadership Academy, so that tenants can earn college credits while learning how to better advocate for their communities.
We’ll also provide more computer labs on wheels so NYCHA residents and the community can use the internet, search for jobs, and polish their resumes.
And we will create new job training opportunities and increase access to fresh produce, by partnering with Green City Force to bring urban farms to more public housing developments.
We’ll also support the expansion of Business Pathway programs. These programs provide NYCHA residents with the tools they need to launch their own childcare and food businesses at places like Brooklyn Food Works in Bed Stuy.
Imagine signing up for an intensive business class and opening your own business a few months later.
This is the promise of our City.
Turning untapped potential into endless possibilities.
If you are here, you are a New Yorker.
You are part of the struggles and successes that have played out over decades and across generations.
Ningún muro—no importa lo alto o lo grueso que sea—cambiará eso.
And no wall or Executive Order can change that.
But while the federal government has taken drastic measures to vilify our country’s immigrants, and make an already broken immigration system worse, this City Council has done more to support immigrants than any other City in the nation.
In 2011, we passed a law I sponsored limiting the City’s role in federal immigration enforcement unless there’s a true threat to public safety.
Since then we’ve made it even stronger, by banning ICE from Rikers Island, where detainees charged with low-level offenses were targeted for deportation – even if they were never convicted of a crime.
And we created the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, a first of its kind program, so that New Yorkers in immigration detention have legal representation.
We’ve also provided lawyers for every unaccompanied child in New York City facing removal, and created IDNYC, a government-issued ID available to all New Yorkers.
Because if you live here, work here, or send your child to school here – you are a New Yorker.
This is who we are.
But today, threats of mass deportations risk undermining the safety, stability, and economic growth we’ve fought so hard to achieve.
This would shatter the lives of young Dreamers and their families, inflict suffering on our co-workers, neighbors and loved ones.
It would tear families apart, and would do nothing to improve public safety.
The familiar faces on your morning commute.
The family who owns your favorite diner.
The young girl who plays with your daughter at school.
These are the lives that would be destroyed.
Pero eso NO es lo que somos, ¿verdad?
But that is NOT who we are. Right?
Two weeks ago I stood on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall and watched Cadman Plaza transform as thousands of Yemeni immigrants poured into downtown Brooklyn, demanding to be heard and seen.
In a gesture of incredible strength and unity, they closed hundreds of bodegas across our City.
They came from the five boroughs, but they arrived from other Cities too: Aden. Taiz. Sadah. Marib. Sana’a.
They arrived as generations of immigrants did before them to say: Listen to us! Hear our voices! Acknowledge our struggles!
They shouted, and waved flags. Yemeni Flags, American flags. And they prayed. It was incredibly moving.
This is who we are.
3 million immigrants live in New York City. They fuel our economy. They propel our City forward. They are an indispensable part of our City’s landscape.
And they are absolutely, unquestionably New Yorkers.
So today, we’re announcing a sweeping package of legislation to protect immigrant New Yorkers and their families.
First, we will not waste City resources to help immigration authorities locate otherwise law abiding New Yorkers who pose no threat to public safety.
We will not be a pawn in that game.
Next, the Council will pass legislation blocking ICE from private areas on City property and offices where New Yorkers receive social services, unless they have a judicial warrant or court order.
And we will not allow officers of the Department of Probation, the NYPD, and the Department of Correction to act as ICE agents and enforce immigration law.
They have better things to do.
And because even minor violations or misdemeanors can trigger deportation, the Council will pass legislation creating a City alternative to the State penal law Disorderly Conduct provision.
This new charge will carry a lower possible jail sentence, and will not trigger the adverse immigration impact of the longer State sentence.
As with our Criminal Justice Reform Act – the punishment must fit the crime.
Next, we’ll defend the right to free, public education for all children by restricting ICE’s access to schools, students and student records.
And we’ll arm parents with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and their children in school.
Las aulas deberían ser recintos seguros para aprender.
Furthermore, we will not let the federal government tarnish the trust we’ve built with immigrant communities, or impede the way this City functions, by taking our data and using it to track down and harm law-abiding New Yorkers.
So we will use all the tools in our power – including going to court – to make sure our personal information stays secure.
And we’ll create a comprehensive system to limit the information we need to collect to run our City, and impose strict guidelines for what we’ll disclose to federal officials.
We’ll build a team of experts to guide this process and review requests from the federal government for personal information.
This team will be our watchdog, monitoring changing federal laws and executive action, and making sure that we’re putting people, their privacy, and our communities first.
The Council will also increase our support for immigrant legal representation, by working to baseline funding for legal services to protect the rights of those facing deportation.
And to make sure that we deliver social services as effectively as possible, we’ll significantly expand the role of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to coordinate all City services that touch immigrants.
We will also work to support families who have been hurt by harmful immigration policies, by establishing at least one immigrant family resource center in each borough.
Así es – en la unión está la fuerza.
We are never stronger than when we work together.
That’s why we’re preparing a nationwide convening of Sanctuary Cities for lawmakers who want to support their immigrant communities.
We will join forces to develop advocacy strategies and discuss best practices and shared goals.
There is strength in numbers and together, we will build our own wall of resistance – nuestro propio muro – against destructive immigration enforcement policies.
Así que esta es mi promesa: La ciudad de Nueva York defenderá y protegerá a nuestros inmigrantes.
We will not abandon our immigrant communities.
They are members of our New York family.
And we will continue to fight for their rights, safety and security.
This is who we are.
Walt Whitman, that famous son of Brooklyn who lived just a few miles from here, called the United States “the greatest poem.”
He said this to illustrate the breathtaking diversity of America and its inhabitants.
That was a few years before the Civil War plunged our country into a crisis of national identity. A crisis we are still facing today.
Immigration is our national identity. When we speak about cultures, it’s about everyone across our city:
Muslims in Astoria.
Hindus in Jackson Heights.
Russian Jews in Brighton Beach.
The Irish in Sunnyside.
Y Boricuas y Mexicanos en El Barrio, en mi distrito.
This is our story.
And this is our America.
When others close borders, we build bridges. We resist. We fight.
We do what New Yorkers have always done: We stand together. Everyone. Everywhere.
We are all uniquely different, yet we have found ways to work together. Including your City Council. And that’s the point. That’s the promise I made when I became Speaker.
Escucharnos. Valorar nuestras diferencias. Y respetarnos.
To listen to each other. To respect each other. And to learn from one another.
At the end of the day, though, it’s about New Yorkers, the communities we represent, and the values we all share.
Because that is who we are. Porque eso es lo que somos.
A City that supports one another. Una ciudad que se mantiene fiel a nosotros mismos.
And in our final ten months together, we pledge to uphold our commitment to equality, justice and fairness above all else.
Because whether we are building a fairer criminal justice system, defending a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, or making sure that immigrants aren’t forced into the shadows…
No matter where you were born, what neighborhood you live in, or what subway you take:
We are all New Yorkers.
Estos son nuestros valores.
These are our values.
Y esto es lo que orgullosamente somos.
And this is who we are.