Our City Demands It: Defund the NYPD
The global pandemic has wrought tremendous pain upon our city, exposing and exacerbating longstanding injustices against essential workers, low-income families, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities. Mayor de Blasio has consistently refused to invest in our communities, choosing instead to enable the NYPD’s continuing and escalating violence in support of white supremacist fascism. The Governor has repeatedly hedged demands to tax the rich, while threatening to cut budgets for local governments and schools to make up for the massive deficit. The path forward is indisputable. In the words of Angela Davis, we cannot “rely on governments, regardless of who is in power, to do the work that only mass movements can do.”
Here’s what we know, often through personal experience: Slashing public services like housing, education, transportation, and medical care—underfunded and deprioritized long before the pandemic—will subject more New Yorkers to the violence of poverty. We know the city workers who keep us safe—EMS clinicians fighting COVID-19, social workers, sanitation workers, educators, and more—are at greater risk of losing their lives to the pandemic. We stand in solidarity with them, even as our Mayor proposes a budget that will decimate the services that keep them safe and healthy. At a time of global reckoning with racial injustice, we also recognize that our public health crisis is disproportionately affecting Black and brown people—and devastating the economic stability of Black New Yorkers (20% of whom are employed in the public sector).
New Yorkers need our teachers and counselors; our nurses and emergency medical workers; our housing lawyers, homeless outreach workers, and countless others to ensure our safety and wellbeing. We are safe when we have affordable housing, and policies that safeguard us against eviction. We are safe when our jobs and livelihoods are no longer considered “nice-to-haves” in an immoral municipal budget. We are safe when all of our children have access to quality public education, with practices that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amongst our loved ones. We are safe when our community health programs are strengthened, with non-police mental health and drug crisis responses and adequately-funded hospitals. We keep us safe.