Mayoral candidate says lengthy civil rights background proves she’s ready to lead NYC

NYC Democratic Mayoral Forum

Mayoral contender Maya Wiley would be the first woman and second-ever Black individual to serve as mayor of New York City if elected, and with her lengthy background in civil rights work, she says she already stands out in the election.

Wiley, the daughter of civil rights activists, went to law school to be a civil rights attorney and spent time at both the ACLU and NAACP. She also worked for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and led the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a watchdog of the NYPD, as they handled the Eric Garner case after his death at the hands of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

“When I walked in the door, that case had been languishing,” she said. “If I had been mayor, Daniel Pantaleo would have already been off the force.”

Policing changes have been a large proponent of Wiley’s campaign. She wants to eliminate the next two classes of police cadets as part of a plan to shift money from the NYPD budget. With those resources, Wiley wants to bring trauma-informed care to New York City schools and double the amount of summer youth employment opportunities in communities with high rates of gun violence. 

“That brings violence down and sends graduation rates up, and that’s what we want in this city, we want a win-win,” she said. 

New York City crime rates rose in recent months; shootings were up 166% year over year in April, according to NYPD data. Respondents to a PIX11 poll found crime should be the top priority for the city’s new chief executive. 

“Safety is job one,” Wiley said, noting part of that is making sure Black and brown New Yorkers feel safe.

Housing and homelessness were two other chief issues polled New Yorkers said they want the next mayor to tackle. Wiley said the two areas are linked. 

“The homeless crisis we have in this city is an eviction crisis,” she said. “It’s because we don’t have enough affordable housing.”

Relief money from Washington should go to homeowners and small landlords so they can pay their mortgages and afford not to evict people, Wiley said.

She would also increase the number of people who have access to free legal help because access to lawyers helps keep people housed. 

“I’m going to make sure we have a balanced approach so people can hang onto their homes,” she said.

Wiley also answered questions on education and how she’d differ from de Blasio. Watch the full interview to find out these answers and more.

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