New York, NY – Today, New York City Council Members, led by Civil and Human Rights Committee Chair Nantasha Williams in collaboration with Deputy Speaker Ayala and Council Members De La Rosa and Lee, are holding a Racial Justice Ballot Day of Action across the city aimed at engaging and educating New Yorkers on three ballot proposals developed by the New York City Racial Justice Commission. On this year’s election ballot after voting for Congressional, statewide and judicial candidates, voters will find three “yes or no” questions on the back of their ballots, asking them to decide on whether to amend the City Charter with proposals from the Racial Justice Commission.
“As early voting gets underway, it is critical that all voters who head to the polls remember to flip the ballot and cast their vote on the ballot proposals,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “I urge all New Yorkers to learn about the proposals and how they will impact our communities. Today’s Racial Justice Ballot Day of Action will engage and inform residents across the city about the ballot questions and remind them to vote in the General Election leading up to November 8. I thank Council Member Williams and my colleagues for their leadership and advocacy in this effort.”
“Racial justice is a shared responsibility. For decades, communities of color have been denied access to the full benefits of our democracy. These communities are disproportionately impacted by issues such as fair housing, employment opportunities, criminal justice reform, and more. I believe that by providing people with the tools they need to engage civically, we can help them overcome barriers and make a difference in their communities,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights. “In November, voters will decide on several ballot measures that address racial equity. We need to work together to ensure that these measures pass so that we can begin to make real progress toward creating a society where all voices are heard.”
Proposal 1 would add a preamble to the New York City Charter, which would be an introductory statement of values and vision aspiring toward “a just and equitable city for all” New Yorkers; and include in the preamble a statement that the City of New York must strive to remedy “past and continuing harms and to reconstruct, revise, and reimagine our foundations, structures, institutions, and laws to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.”
Proposal 2 would require citywide and agency-specific Racial Equity Plans every two years, establish an Office of Racial Equity and appoint a Chief Equity Officer to advance racial equity and coordinate the City’s racial equity planning process and establish a Commission on Racial Equity.
Proposal 3 would require the City to create a true cost of living measure to track the actual cost in New York City of meeting essential needs, including housing, food, childcare, transportation, and other necessary costs, and without considering public, private, or informal assistance.
“The future of New York is in the hands of voters and they alone can determine the path of our great city,” said Diana Ayala, Deputy Speaker of the New York City Council. “I encourage every voter to familiarize themselves with the ballot proposals, educate their friends and family, and to make their voices heard on Election Day.”
“New York prides itself on its rich diversity, being home to a variety of different cultures and backgrounds that join together to make our city unique. On Racial Justice Ballot Day of Action, we not only assemble to spur civic engagement amongst our communities, but we also raise awareness about the three initiatives on the back of this year’s ballot that aim to tear down the generational barriers that exacerbate the inequities facing our communities of color in New York City,” said Council Member Linda Lee, Vice Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus. “All residents should have access to the resources and programs our city has to offer that foster a safe, prosperous, and equitable future for their families. I am proud to join Speaker Adams, Deputy Speaker Ayala, Council Members Williams, and De La Rosa, and the Racial Justice Commission on this collective day of action to inform our voters of these vital ballot measures that offer a path forward toward reimagining our city’s racial equity plan.”
“New Yorkers have an opportunity on Election Day to guide our government and expand our efforts in creating a more equitable city,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “This Council is the most diverse it has ever been, and it has been a marvel to see how passionately we fight for equity having witnessed our own communities face systemic oppression. That passion needs support, and a Racial Equity Office, a statement of values, and a true look into the City’s affordability can help steer our ship in the right direction.”
“Encouraging our community to be more civically engaged is the key to creating true sustainable change for the betterment of our City,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. “Now, more than ever, we must ensure New Yorkers, especially communities of color, have the access and education to vote and make well-informed decisions that can affect their future and quality of life. The Racial Justice Ballot Day of Action exemplifies partnership and opportunity for us to empower families to flip the ballot and cast their vote on the three proposals from the Racial Justice Commission that seek to increase racial equity in our City.”
“This Election Day, I urge all New Yorkers to #fliptheballot and vote on these very important ballot initiatives because New Yorkers of color across our city deserve more,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Education. “New York is truly the world’s city and it is time we launch a Commission on Racial Equity to eliminate raced based disparities in our five boroughs. In addition to equity, we must truly measure the cost of living to ensure we can create a future where our seniors can age in place and young folks can start out without the odds stacked against them.”