Right now, we are in the midst of multiple crises – a health crisis that has disproportionately impacted communities of color and exacerbated the glaring inequalities that plague our society, and a pandemic of policing that has continuously devalued and destroyed Black lives.
We cannot continue to address today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions.
That’s why we are building a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational movement to fight for everyday New Yorkers. Our campaign is a community centered movement rooted in a racial justice and a pro LGBTQ, pro worker, pro immigrant, pro women agenda.
I was born and raised in this community, and I know the issues that matter most to New Yorkers, because they are also the issues that matter most to me. I spent my career fighting for this entire district: from organizing tenants on the verge of eviction in Bed-Stuy, to fighting against socially irresponsible developments like 80 Flatbush and the Industry City Rezoning, to delivering meals to our food-insecure neighbors in NYCHA during this crisis.
If elected I will continue fighting for the entirety of our district.
Read my policy priorities below:
POLICING AND CRIMINAL LEGAL SYSTEM REFORM
The COVID-19 crisis has provided yet more evidence of the structural racism embedded in our State’s criminal legal system. We see it in state sanctioned policies like “Stop and Frisk” and Broken Windows, and in the enforcement of social distancing. As Senator, I will fight for police accountability and reform, and will fight to implement policies that put an end to police brutality and racial bias in law enforcement. I will champion legislation that strengthens transparency in our law enforcement, and I will be a fierce advocate to end mass incarceration and solitary confinement.
As State Senator, I will fight to:
- Demand Transparency and Accountability: I will demand transparency and accountability for bad actors within law enforcement by fighting for the Safer New York Act which includes:
- Passing the Police Statistics and Transparency (STAT) Act, requiring police departments to record and report data related to low-level offenses
- Repealing New York State’s police secrecy law, 50-A
- Codifying the special prosecutor executive order 147, in order to ensure impartial and thorough investigations regarding police killings.
- Ban Deadly Force: We need to reform the standards under which police may use force and prohibit the use of deadly force except when necessary to protect human life and only after all other non-lethal options have been exhausted.
- Require Racial Impact Data: The State must require that all state funding for local law enforcement include minimum standards for racial impact data collection, reporting, and publication.
- Ban Bias-Based Policing: New York should immediately prohibit the profiling and targeting of individuals based on their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, HIV status, and/or other marginalized identity and establish rights to allow people who have been profiled to sue the police in court.
- Decriminalize sex work and repleal the “Walking While Trans” Statute.
- Defund the Police and Refund the Community: We should require that every dollar spent on law enforcement is matched with equitable funding for alternatives to policing, restorative justice programs, and community-based institutions that protect and restore our communities.
- Protect Immigrant New Yorkers: The State must prohibit local law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration law. Pass “Protect Our Courts Act” to protect immigrant New Yorkers’ constitutional rights, and ensure they can access the courts without being arrested by I.C.E.
- Legalizing the Adult-Use of Cannabis: Focus on reinvesting in the communities that have been ravaged by the “War On Drugs”.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND AFFORDABLE NEIGHBORHOODS
I grew up in this district, and I have seen its social fabric torn apart by gentrification, causing the displacement of communities of color. Today, our district contains some of the most affluent neighborhoods in Brooklyn and some of the most under-resourced. It is time to make New York affordable for everyday New Yorkers.
I’ve spent my career fighting to protect tenants from predatory developers and against socially irresponsible development’s like 80 Flatbush and the expansion of the Brooklyn House of Detention.
As your State Senator, I will fight for truly affordable housing so our neighbors can stay in their homes and in their communities.
Here’s how I will help usher in an affordable future:
- Provide COVID-19 Relief for Tenants and Small Homeowners: Right now, thousands of New Yorkers have lost their income and are at risk of losing their homes. We need to cancel rent and declare a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures for the duration of this crisis.
- Pass Good Cause Eviction: Despite historic rent reforms passed last year, for millions of New Yorkers who live in market rate housing there are no protections against rent gouging. We must pass Good Cause eviction to ensure New Yorkers cannot be evicted without “good cause.”
- Change the Affordability Formula: We need to redefine “affordability” and pass legislation that will align our definition with area median income by zip code rather than the entire New York region.
- Stop Deed Theft and Predatory Foreclosures: We need to put a halt to this theft of Black generational wealth and look back on such theft to restore property to its victims.
- Invest in Public Housing: We need to stop the privatization of NYCHA, and prevent the sale of air rights. Instead, we need to invest billions of dollars into repairing and preserving NYCHA and public housing authorities across the state.
- New Affordable Housing & Mitchell Lama: Mitchell Lama housing has stabilized communities across our district for decades. It allowed for everyday New Yorkers to maintain stable households through good, affordable housing. We need to re-stabilize our district to permit the children of those who grew up in the community to remain in their communities. New Mitchell Lama housing as opposed to luxury condos will do just that.
- Eliminate or Restructure Tax Abatements: Tax abatements such as 421-A, grant 4 billion dollars a year to real estate developers to provide barely “affordable” and market-rate housing, that is unaffordable to everyday New Yorkers. We need to end these giveaways now and reinvest in public housing, transportation, and education.
- Stabilize Commercial Rent: We used to have a district full of thriving small businesses, but now due to skyrocketing rents, we have empty storefronts, and big box chains. COVID-19 has shown us how fragile our valued small businesses are. We need to preserve our small businesses which serve as economic stepping stones for so many. Commercial rent stabilization is needed now.
- Industry City Rezoning: For decades, this type of socially irresponsible development has torn apart the social fabric of our communities and has created an unaffordable and polluted environment for our children. The current proposal would devastate the vibrant immigrant community that surround Industry City.
EQUITY IN OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM
The quality of the education a student receives should not be based on the zip code in which they are born. All students need to receive an equitable and full education.
Here’s how we accomplish this:
- Foundation Aid: Our public schools are owed billions in Foundation Aid.
- Civic Education in All our Schools: Right now, our students are taught white washed versions of American history and are barely given the tools to engage in their communities. We need to bolster our curricula by implementing civic education and comprehensive American history, including the full history of indigenous peoples and African Americans.
- Moratorium on Charter Schools: We need to implement a moratorium on charter schools and implement accountability measures for existing schools, which now drain more than $3 billion from the DOE’s annual budget.
- End High Stakes Testing: Our students are more than just numbers.
- Desegregate our schools: New York has some of the most segregated schools in the country. Segregation leads to less qualified teachers for students of color, inadequate supplies, violence, and health issues. Students of all races have higher academic achievement results in schools that reflect the diversity of our city.
- Professional Development: We need to hire and retain more talented education leaders of color to ensure our schools can provide students with high quality education and culturally relevant education.
- Mental Health Support: Schools should have at least one full-time social worker on-site as an essential member of each school’s health care unit. Research research suggests that adding sufficient mental health care providers to the school setting improves overall behavior and raises test scores. These reforms, taken together, will begin to end the school to prison pipeline.
- End Out of School Suspensions: Enact the “School Solutions Not Suspension” bill. Children of color are disproportionately suspended from school. We need to create an equitable and fair environment for ALL of our children to receive the education they deserve.
- Invest in Adult Education and Re-entry Programs: These programs cut down on recidivism and give our community members a chance to succeed.
- Invest in English language Programs for Adults
The climate crisis is an immediate threat to sustainable life in New York. The first casualties are, and continue to be, communities of color and therefore we must always use a racial justice lens when implementing environmental policy.
Our future depends on our acting now. Too much time has already been wasted.
To meet our climate goals, New York needs to increase our investments in mass transit, renewable energy and energy efficiency. These investments, if done properly, can protect our communities as well as providing thousands of good, green union jobs.
- Neighborhood Resilience: Hurricane Sandy exposed the vulnerability of many of our neighborhoods. In 2012, for example, our Red Hook neighbors were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. Not only are the Red Hook Houses East and West still recovering, but areas in South Brooklyn, Long Island and Staten Island have also never fully recovered. We must push forward legislation to implement a resiliency plan for our shorelines.
- Disinvest from Fossil Fuels: We must move to ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure and require the New York State Common Retirement Fund to divest from holdings in the largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies.
- Jump Start the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA): Allocate $1 billion in state funding for renewable energy, infrastructure and energy efficiency programs that lean on a model of equity and justice to protect the most vulnerable communities hit the hardest by the economic, social and health impacts (i.e. asthma) from fossil-based fuels
- Transition to a Green Economy: Bring the sustainable jobs of the future to both downstate and upstate and focus on under-resourced communities.
- Support legislation that mandates enforceable labor standards: Under the CLCPA, we can fund prevailing wages, labor agreements, and local hiring and training standards for projects..
- Promote Healthy Communities: A carbon free economy will lower rates of asthma and other chronic respiratory illnesses within communities of color, who have disproportionately suffered from these by providing a toxin free environment.
- Ensure communities of color and low-income communities benefit: “Disadvantaged” communities referenced in the CLCPA must receive at least 40% of state energy funding to support steps like renewable energy projects and energy efficiency.
- Make needed regulatory and legislative changes to remove impediments to the siting of renewable projects like solar and wind.