Photo credit @freeblackradicals
Defund the NYPD & Occupy City Hall
Last week the New York City Council passed the 2021 fiscal year budget and failed to cut the NYPD budget by at least $1 billion, despite demands from New Yorkers. Instead, Mayor de Blasio allocated $5.22 billion to the NYPD, only about $382 million less than last year’s expense budget. This is a failure by the city’s government to show up for racial justice and be accountable to Black and Brown New Yorkers. Losses in the new budget include the firing of 2,800 teachers from CUNY, the removal of 21,000 affordable housing units, an 11% cut in arts spending, an 80% cut to NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program, and more reductions to crucial public resources.
Occupiers at City Hall are continuing their encampment, where volunteers and organizers are practicing true mutual aid and community—providing free meals, PPE, trainings, and various teach-ins on community needs, organizing, and Indigenous lands rights to protestors.
In a statement sent out on Wednesday, June 1st, Jawanza James Williams, an organizer for VOCAL-NY and Occupy City Hall, responded to the passing of the budget:
After today, Black and Brown communities will bear the consequences of a budget that maintains police power in New York City, and underfunds long-neglected communities that have now also been hit hard by the coronavirus. Our elected leaders are to blame for that. But our movement has grown profoundly in the last weeks, and there’s no going back. New York City needs a radical financial and political shift to tackle the intersecting issues of poverty, public health, homelessness, and incarceration. This means reimagining what public safety means. It means identifying all the social problems that have long been policed rather than solved through community investments like permanent housing for the homeless or wrap-around harm reduction services for people who use drugs.
As one of the organizers of the City Hall encampment, I believe the most important outcome of all, is that millions more understand the abolition of police and prisons and reinvestment in our communities, as the only way to affirm that Black lives matter.
By passing this budget, our Mayor and City Council have made their lack of support for Black and Brown communities overwhelmingly clear. While a large majority of Council Members voted yes on the budget, 8 Council Members voted no as they believed the budget cuts were too high. Only 9 Council Members voted against the budget because the NYPD cuts weren’t enough. Find out how your Council Member voted and if they’re up for re-election.
Mutual aid is as important in this moment as it ever was.
Mutual Aid NYC believes that mutual aid means long-term solidarity with the community, not a momentary act of charity, and we will continue to fight against the systems of oppression in NYC that prioritize profit over people.
More Ways to Get Involved
In an open letter, Teens Take Charge called on Council Members to engage with youth organizers given the cuts to the Student Youth Employment program, which was cut by $100 million in the new budget. Visit their Linktree to join the fight to #SaveSYEP.
Abolition Plaza is fundraising to hold teach-ins, dialogues, and events connecting organizers aligned with abolitionist policies. Donate here.
The Good Ole Lower East Side is hosting a virtual Community Check-in on Wednesday, July 8 from 10:30 am to 1 pm. Join GOLES to help families and seniors in the Lower East Side to access COVID-19 resources and fill out the Census. There will be a mandatory training on Tuesday, July 7th from 6 pm to 7 pm. If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bed Stuy Strong, a coalition of neighbors helping COVID-19 impacted neighbors in Bed Stuy, is currently taking donations and seeking volunteers. Donate and sign up to volunteer at their website.
The Abolition Library Commons at Occupy City Hall is seeking donations of radical literature.
Mil Mundos is accepting donations of food and PPE for Bushwick Ayuda Mutua, including baby formula, rice, beans, bread, masks, and more.
“The only path to liberation for all oppressed people is radical revolution, a moment we are already bearing witness to and participating in.” Read Mutual Aid NYC volunteer Natalya Bomani on the Fourth of July.
Mutual Aid NYC (MANYC)
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