How the NYC Budget Fails Us

Mutual aid is as important in this moment as it ever was. 

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.


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In solidarity,
Mutual Aid NYC (MANYC)



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