“Jordan Neely was a New Yorker, a son, and a performer, and he should still be alive. My heart and condolences are with his loved ones during this difficult time. His killing at the hands of a fellow passenger and the responses to this violence that took his life have been not only tragic but difficult to absorb. Racism that continues to permeate throughout our society allows for a level of dehumanization that denies Black people from being recognized as victims when subjected to acts of violence. The perceptions of Black people have long been interpreted through a distorted, racialized lens that aims to justify violence against us. It is another example of how far we remain from an equitable and just society.

“Let’s be clear: any possible mental health challenges that Jordan may have been experiencing were no reason for his life to be taken. The initial response by our legal system to this killing is disturbing and puts on display for the world the double standards that Black people and other people of color continue to face. There must be accountability for his killing, and a thorough investigation by the Manhattan district attorney that accounts for the facts and these realities is critical. Everyone in our city and nation should be reflecting on what this incident represents and says about us.”