Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that he was forming a commission to “rethink” the city’s laws through the lens of racial justice.
Comparing it to South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, de Blasio said that the group’s primary goal would be to “examine the fundamental laws of New York City, the very basis of the governance of this city, and determine if those very laws themselves are either exacerbating institutional racism or helping us to cure it.” (RELATED: ‘A Sobering Impact’: Bill De Blasio Wants NYPD Knocking On Doors To Root Out Hateful Behavior)
De Blasio also announces the creation of a Racial Justice Commission, with the power to put proposals on the ballot. @NYCMayor likens it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from South Africa.
— Juan Manuel Benítez (@JuanMaBenitez) March 23, 2021
Jennifer Jones Austin, head of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, will chair the committee — which she says will “do the most to end racism.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announces his Racial Justice Commission with lofty language, along with its chair Jennifer Jones Austin.
The mayor says it will “surpass everything else we’ve done” in sweep and impact. She says the group’s report will “do the most to end racism.” pic.twitter.com/abHHXBhxDY
— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) March 23, 2021
“This group will change the world. Folks who have put their entire lifetimes into racial and social justice, it takes a group like that to objectively determine where structural and institutional racism exists and what we need to do about it,” de Blasio said.
The mayor went on to compare it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa, saying it set the example he wanted to use as his own commission went about “recognizing the foundational sin of racism in this country, in this city.”
Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson, anti-Asian racism advocate Chris Kui and Department of Probation Commissioner Ana Bermudez are among the other members of the commission, as is Lurie Daniel Favors, interim executive director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College.
Lurie Daniel Favors, interim executive director of the @CLSJ_MEC, will be recommending policies that “dismantle structural racism for all New Yorkers” as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s newly formed Racial Justice Commission!https://t.co/DUTAjVmZ8d
— Medgar Evers College (@NewsatMedgar) March 23, 2021
“We need to do something transformational at this point in our history, something unprecedented,” de Blasio said. “This is unlike any approach you’ve ever seen in the history of New York City or, honestly, in any major city in America, any state in America. We’ve never had a model for actually addressing structural racism… formally apologizing for it.”