NYC mayor names panel to examine structural racism in city

Local News

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday he has appointed a commission to examine structural racism across the city and come up with a plan for dismantling it.

The 11-member racial justice commission may propose changes to the city charter that would go before New Yorkers for a vote, De Blasio said; the commission’s members will produce a report by the end of the year.

“The epitome of a recovery for all of us is addressing the injustices that have plagued our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his announcement Tuesday. 

The commission’s work will include “addressing structural racism, institutional racism identifying it, acknowledging it formally apologizing for it,” the mayor said.

New York City’s commission will be modeled after international groups like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was founded after the end of apartheid. 

When asked if the commission will consider reparations, the Mayor said “everything should be on the table.”

Reverend Kirsten John Foy has spent the last two decades working on campaigns for racial justice in New York City.

Foy told PIX11 while he welcomes the new commission, actionable change can be taken now.

“When we look at things like public housing or we look at things like healthcare infrastructure, these things don’t require a commission to analyze the problem,” he said, “they require a political will and they require a budget that reflects the values that the mayor is espousing.” 

Nupol Kiazolu spent last summer marching for social change after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. She has questions about who will serve on the commission.

“Do you have folks from the front lines there? Do you have community change makers and do you have voices at the table that make you uncomfortable?” she asked.

The 11-member racial justice commission will include Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation. 

De Blasio’s second and final term will end on Dec. 31. He said he expects the panel’s work to continue under his successor, whoever that may be.

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