Press & Statements

City Council Progressive Caucus Welcomes New Members

New York, NY – The Caucus is welcoming five recently-elected Council Members as members of the Progressive Caucus for the 2018-2021 term:

Alicka Ampry-Samuel, District 41: Council Member Ampry-Samuel has worked in various capacities with City and State legislators and has spent years sharpening her servant leadership. For Council Member Ampry-Samuel, altruism and empathy for others have driven her professional career. As Chair of the Committee on Public Housing, the Council Member looks forward to advancing policy and legislation that will benefit the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

Diana Ayala, District 8: Council Member Ayala has worked for nearly two decades serving the people of the 8th District in social service agencies and government. She is a passionate advocate on housing, mental health, gun violence, and senior services issues. Growing up in both public housing and the shelter system, she experienced challenges that afford her a unique voice and perspective in government and politics.

Justin Brannan, District 43: Council Member Justin Brannan was born and raised in Brooklyn, the son of a record salesman and early childhood educator. With too many people feeling that government only works for the wealthy and well-connected, Council Member Brannan has vowed to always fight for the “little guy.”

Keith Powers, District 4: Council Member Powers is a lifelong New Yorker and a third generation resident of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town. Throughout his life, Council Member Powers has been committed to his community as a tenant leader, community leader and government aide, and he looks forward to continuing to advance progressive policy as the Council Member for District 4.

Carlina Rivera, District 2: Council Member Rivera represents Manhattan’s 2nd Council District, which includes the East Village, Flatiron, Gramercy Park, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Murray Hill and the Lower East Side, her life-long home. Council Member Rivera is focused on progressive solutions to many issues, including affordability, preservation, open space, resiliency, education equality, and small business survival.

The Caucus, with the new energy and ideas of its incoming members, hopes to build on last term’s accomplishments, further its 2018 policy platform, and continue to work towards a more just and equitable New York City. For a number of years, the Progressive Caucus has been a political and budget advocacy powerhouse within the city’s legislative body, with its members passing more than 50 bills through the Progressive Caucus’ policy platform last term. The Caucus held rallies every month around local issues and bills pertaining to progressive values, and advocated for millions in budget allocations for initiatives and organizations working for the wellbeing of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

Last year, the Progressive Caucus also completed launched their Resistance & Progress: 18 Policies for 2018 platform at a policy conference attended by more than 200 elected officials, advocates, and community members. The exciting 18-point campaign document outlines the Caucus’ policy priorities for the 2018-2021 New York City Council Term.

“As we go to work on the behalf of all New Yorkers, welcoming progressive leaders like Council Members Ampry-Samuel, Ayala, Brannan, Powers and Rivera into the Progressive Caucus makes us even stronger. I look forward to working with our new members to continue to fight for a more just and fair New York City,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, co-chair of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus.

“It’s an honor to welcome these five exciting new members who will help bring fresh, new perspectives to elevate our diverse platform of progressive policies,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. “While the Caucus has made great strides to make our City a more equitable over these past few years, we have a lot more work to do and I am confidant that their leadership, experience, and commitment to serving New Yorkers will help move us forward.”

“I am honored to be a member of the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council”, said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. “The key word in Progressive is Progress and it is my job, along with my colleagues of the caucus to ensure that our great city is moving in the progressive direction that can be the standard for many cities to follow across the country. It is my duty to work with my colleagues in the council to stand for those who are looking to us for that progressive leadership, which in turn will provide upward mobility, equality and fairness to all New Yorkers.”

“I am so pleased to have been endorsed by the members of the Progressive Caucus, and will endeavor to be a worthy teammate. This pioneering body has worked tirelessly for years advocating for and endorsing numerous bills and progressive issues that have improved the lives of so many individuals. I look forward to working with my colleagues in identifying and promoting issues that are central to this body’s dynamic mission,” said Council Member Diana Ayala.

“In order for our government to be a tool to advance equity, it must function efficiently and it must serve all people. From protecting immigrants to making it easier for working families to put food on the table, the goal will always be making New York City work for everybody. I look forward to working with the Progressive Caucus to make real differences in the lives of New Yorkers,” said Council Member Justin Brannan.

“I am proud to join the Progressive Caucus to make sure that New York City remains committed to its progressive ideals,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “The Progressive Caucus has led the charge on issues like immigration, worker protections, women’s rights, and upholding our democratic values. As the Chair of the Criminal Justice Services Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that we have a fair criminal justice system in the coming years.”

“As a life-long New Yorker and progressive, I am excited to join my fellow members in the Progressive Caucus in standing against the Trump agenda and advocating for a fair and equal New York City,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “The Progressive Caucus has passed some of the most impactful policies and Council reforms over the last four years, and I look forward to continuing that trend during my term.”

The full list of 21 members for the 2018-2021 term include:

  1. Council Speaker Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan)
  2. Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel (District 41, Brooklyn)
  3. Council Member Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn & Queens)
  4. Council Member Ben Kallos (District 5, Manhattan)
  5. Council Member Bill Perkins (District 9, Manhattan)
  6. Council Member Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn)
  7. Council Member Carlina Rivera (District 2, Manhattan)
  8. Council Member Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn)
  9. Council Member Deborah Rose (District 49, Staten Island)
  10. Council Member Diana Ayala (District 8, Bronx & Manhattan)
  11. Council Member Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens)
  12. Council Member Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan)
  13. Council Member I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens)
  14. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens)
  15. Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn)
  16. Council Member Justin Brannan (District 43, Brooklyn )
  17. Council Member Keith Powers (District 4, Manhattan)
  18. Council Member Margaret Chin (District 1, Manhattan)
  19. Council Member Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan)
  20. Council Member Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn)
  21. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan)

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Progressive Caucus Passes Nearly 50 Bills in Current Council Session

New York, NY – On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, the New York City Council passed several bills endorsed by the Progressive Caucus in its current session policy platform. Including the bills passed today, the Caucus and its members have sponsored and advocated for the passage of nearly 50 bills representing crucial advancements in progressive issues including tenant safety, workers’ rights, affordable housing, and community safety.

The bills passed today endorsed through the Progressive Caucus’ Current Session ‘Advancement Agenda’ include: (1) Community Land Trusts (I. 1269), which amends the administrative code of NYC as it relates to creation of regulatory agreements with community land trusts; (2) Asthma Allergens (I. 385), which calls to regulate indoor asthma allergen hazards in residential dwelling and pest management; (3) Right to Request Flexible Schedule (I. 1399), which protects employees who seek temporary changes to their work schedule for personal events and certain scheduling changes; (4) Right to Know Act, a legislative package that aims to protect the civil rights of New Yorkers while promoting communication, transparency and accountability for everyday interactions between NYPD and the public; and (5) Automatic Benefits (I. 855), which would support a study regarding the feasibility and cost of utilizing City administrative data to determine individuals who are likely eligible for public assistance and to provide electronic notices of eligibility. The nearly 50 passed bills endorsed by the Caucus are listed at the end of the release.

“Every New Yorker should have the right to know about their protections under the law when dealing with law enforcement.  Most importantly, they should have assurance that their rights will be respected and upheld by police officers. ‘Consent to Search’ (Intro. 541) will ensure that our city’s residents are informed of their right to consent to a search when that search has no legal basis. This Right to Know bill will improve safety in New York City by enhancing trust between police and communities they serve. I thank all my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus for supporting and championing this legislation,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.

“Community Land Trusts take the power away from speculation and puts it in the hands of local communities and the nonprofits who serve them,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “With the passage of Intro. 1269, we are paving a true path toward affordable homeownership in New York City. I’d like to thank the Coalition for Affordable Homes and the New York City Community Land Initiative for their partnership on this legislation and for their dedication to preserving and creating affordable housing.”

“No one should go hungry, lose their home, or go without healthcare in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, especially when assistance programs have been created to help those in need,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice-Chair of Policy for the Progressive Caucus. “When this study through Intro. 855 is completed I look forward to seeing HRA and the City implement what we know can be done and help low and middle-income New Yorkers. Next year, we’ll have the information we need to eliminate the bureaucracy, paperwork, and unnecessary hurdles that prevent our poorest from accessing and keeping the assistance they need to be lifted from poverty. Thank you to all the Members of the Progressive Caucus and their offices for supporting the legislation.”

“Emergencies happen to all people in all walks of life. While many New Yorkers are fortunate to have employers who understand this and make reasonable accommodations, a 2015 survey of New Yorkers revealed that 45 percent of respondents have no access to flexible work arrangements,” said Council Member Debi Rose, member of the Progressive Caucus. “Intro. 1399 would give all employees working in New York City the right to a temporary change in schedule twice a year to attend to certain specific personal needs. I believe strongly that no one should lose their livelihood for asking for an unpaid day to tend to an emergency—and that is what this bill ensures.”

“Mold abatement and integrated pest management will be codified after 10 years of diligently working with advocates on the passage of the Asthma Free Housing Act, Intro. 385C,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez, the bill’s prime sponsor.  “After what appeared to be endless negotiations with several mayoral administrations, we passed this crucial bill that will go a long way to eradicating mold, as well as taking preventative measures to address mold and asthma triggers.  Asthma has a debilitating effect on an individual’s’ quality of life and, in New York City, there are approximately one million individuals who have been diagnosed with asthma.  This legislation will have a direct benefit for tenants and their health and enables the City to recapture funds expended through its Emergency Repair Program, if the agency determines that such work is necessary. I am proud that my partnership with the advocates will result in ground breaking legislation and I am hopeful that other big cities will follow in our footsteps.”

The nearly 50 bills passed this term which were endorsed by the Caucus are listed below:

1.       Worker Coops, I. 423 –Rosenthal
2.       CLEAN Act, I. 697 –Torres
3.       Hotel Conversion, I.592 – Johnson
4.       Grocery Worker Retention, I. 632 – Miller
5.       Freelance Isn’t Free, I. 1017 – Lander
6.       BRT Plan, I. 211 – Lander
7.       Ban Credit Checks, I.261 – Lander
8.       Criminal Background Checks, I. 318 – Williams
9.       Caretakers discrimination, I. 108 – Rose
13.    Port Ambrose Reso. 549 – Richards
14.    Plastic Bags, I. 209 – Lander
15.    Hit and Run Justice I. 603 – Van Bramer
16.    Hit and Run Justice I. 604 – Van Bramer
17.    Commuter Van Reform, I. 570 – Williams
18.    Three Fourths Housing, I. 1164 – Johnson
19.    Three Fourths Housing, I. 1166 – Richards
20.    Three Fourths Housing, I. 1167 – Torres
21.    Three Fourths Housing, I. 1168 – Torres
22.    Three Fourths Housing, I. 1171 – Williams
27.    Nonprofits Deductions, I. 1384 – Ferreras-Copeland
29.    Illegal hotel reporting, I. 823 – Rodriguez
30.    Right to Counsel, I. 214 – Levine
32.    Vacate Orders I. 924 – Espinal
33.    Task Force I. 926 – Garodnick
34.    ECB Liens  I. 930 – Kallos
35.    Adjudicated before ECB I. 931 – Kallos
36.    Tenant Protection Plans I. 936 – Levine
37.    Permit oversight I. 938 – Reynoso
39.    Penalties stop work order I. 940 – Reynoso
40.    Online work permits I. 944 – Rosenthal
42.    Tenant Harassment Relief I. 347 – Rosenthal
43.    Real time enforcement I. 934 – Levin
44.    Community Land Trusts, I.1269 – Richards
45.    Asthma allergen hazards, I. 385 – Mendez
47.    Police ID, I. 182 – Torres
48.    Consent to Search, I. 541 – Reynoso
49.    Automatic Benefits I. 855 – Kallos

Welcoming Bill Perkins into the Progressive Caucus

The Caucus welcomed recently-elected Council Member and Former State Senator Bill Perkins as a member of the Caucus. Bill Perkins, was re-elected to the New York City Council in a Special Election on February 14th, 2017. Perkins brings a breadth of experience – having been elected to the Senate in 2006 after previously serving as deputy majority leader on the City Council for eight years, from 1998-2005.

The council member was a prime sponsor of the Childhood Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention Act of 2004, and a dedicated affordable housing advocate. He also fought tirelessly to reform public authorities like the MTA, and worked to extend unemployment benefits and to make health care more accessible during his Senate tenure. A lifelong resident of Harlem, Bill Perkins started his political career as a community activist and known for his tenacious and unyielding commitment to serving the community.

Continue reading “Welcoming Bill Perkins into the Progressive Caucus”

Progressive Caucus launches 18 Progressive Policies for 2018

The New York City Council Progressive Caucus and allies gathered today on the steps of City Hall to announce their adoption of a new platform of “18 Progressive Policies for 2018” representing crucial campaigns they are fighting for – especially under the current political climate and the regressive era of the Trump administration.

The policy platform represents crucial campaigns to move the city forward, especially under the regressive Trump administration. As Progressives, we will fight for a more equitable and fair city that is safe for vulnerable New Yorkers – and that stands as an example for the rest of the nation: Progressive Caucus Policy Platform “Resistance & Progress: 18 Progressive Policies for 2018” Progressive Caucus Policy Platform “Resistance & Progress: 18 Progressive Policies for 2018”

Continue reading “Progressive Caucus launches 18 Progressive Policies for 2018”

Progressive Caucus Statement on the formation of Mayor’s EDP Task Force

New York – In recent months and years, we have seen several tragic indicators that there are fundamental flaws in the way that our city addresses behavioral health crises. Most recently, the shooting death of Saheed Vassell has drawn renewed focus to months of calls for a task force to review and reform these practices, calls which members of the Progressive Caucus have been making with allies since the death of Dwayne Jeune in 2017.

The Caucus commends the administration for recognizing the dire need for an alternative approach to handling safety concerns around emotionally distressed persons (EDPs) through the formation of a city-wide multi-agency task force. Recognizing this tremendous step towards truly making our city a safe place for all New Yorkers, the Progressive Caucus will continue to advocate for reforms through this task force, including the creation of new systems where social workers or well-trained 911 call operators divert 911 calls to social workers or therapists or trained peers instead of police response; an expansion mobile crisis teams who can respond to crisis within 30 minutes of a call; building a large system of co-response teams who can respond to 911 calls; and building a system where trained peers or therapist can meet police at the scene of 911 calls.

We look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office and this task force to implement solutions which prevent the criminalization of mental illness while providing the support and resources needed to properly address behavioral health crises – both for the long-term well-being and safety of emotionally distressed persons and the community to which they belong. As the administration rightly notes, the approach must be comprehensive, encompassing not only emergency response but also preventative, community-inclusive measures that could avert such crises.

“The NYC Crisis Prevention and Response Task Force will grant stakeholders the opportunity to cultivate holistic approaches to prevent behavioral health crises. As the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction, I am looking forward to the recommendations that will result from this task force and I thank Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, and the Health Department for investing resources into the creation of this body,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction.

“It is as important as ever that we bring together professionals from all different fields related to behavioral health to come up with a new citywide strategy to prevent these crises before they happen,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Member of the Progressive Caucus, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “We must also look at expanding our response teams when emergencies occur to prevent any loss of life in our communities. A mental illness shouldn’t be a death sentence, which is why it is imperative that we continue the conversation around better practices and keep pushing to find a smarter and safer approach. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray for their continued efforts to attack behavioral and mental illness head on.”

“I am glad this this long overdue task force is being convened, and that the administration recognizes the need for this issue to be a priority. The deaths of Dwayne Jeune, Saheed Vassell, and too many others have shown that there are fundamental flaws in the way our city handles EDP emergencies. I look forward to working with the task force to reform this system to provide the support and resources needed to properly address emotional distress and mental health crises,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Member of the Progressive Caucus.

“The Mayor is to be commended for his commitment to expanding access to mental health services for New Yorkers and for recognizing the need to focus additional attention on the many complex issues related to police interactions with people in an emotional crisis. We believe a task force of this type is the best approach to create diversion and treatment strategies that are effective and sustainable,” said Steve Coe, CEO of Community Access.

City Council Progressive Caucus Stands in Solidarity with Community Organizations

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New York, NY – As elected officials representing diverse communities across New York, we stand in deep solidarity with these community organizations, which are at the front lines of the fight for respect and dignity for all New Yorkers. We are joined by Assembly Members Nily Rozic, Richard Gottfried, and Tremaine Wright.

Every day, these organizations undertake the most pressing work in our democracy—fighting for the rights of working-class New Yorkers, immigrants, and people of color.

Their members and staff work tirelessly to safeguard immigrant families from deportation, help tenants stand up to unscrupulous landlords and stay in their homes, ensure that workers are paid a living wage, to fight for all New Yorkers to have access to quality health care and fully-funded public schools, and more.

At a time when the Trump administration has declared war on our communities, it’s more critical than ever that organizations like Citizen Action of New York, Community Voices Heard Power, Make the Road Action, and New York Communities for Change be allowed—and indeed, encouraged—to continue their indispensable work.

We are committed to standing strong with these incredible organizations.

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Progressive Caucus FY19 Budget Priorities

Every year, the Progressive Caucus works to ensure a fair budget that maintains a commitment to strong core City services while supporting programs that protect the most vulnerable. At a time when the Trump administration threatens the most basic rights and beliefs of many of our residents, an equitable and fair budget that strengthens core City services and protects the most vulnerable is that much more important in order to resist the bigotry and divestment from public assistance occurring at the national level.

With our values and the threats to our city from the national level in mind, Caucus members identified priority investments, using our eleven-point policy framework to outline our policy and budgetary goals for this legislative term. Due to the critical partnership and leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson and Finance Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm, many of these priorities and other priority investments were advocated for in the Council Response to the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget.

The Council’s Budget Response to the Mayor reflected many of the budget items prioritized by the Progressive Caucus for the FY19 Budget Cycle, including:

NYCHA Repairs: Invest in NYCHA repairs to improve housing, health, and safety for public housing residents.

Universal Youth Jobs: Additional funding for slots in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to baseline and grow the program, and more funding to providers to increase support for the development of NYC youth.

Universal Free Lunch for Seniors: Investment in Universal Free Lunch for Seniors to provide free lunch to eligible seniors aged 60 and older.

Fair Fares: Provide funding for half-price MetroCards pilot program for those New Yorkers living at or below the poverty level.

Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP): Increase funding to meet the basic needs of all food pantries and soup kitchens in the EFAP network across the City, and provide food relief for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

Combating Opioids: Allocate funding to lead prevention and treatment efforts around opioid abuse.

School’s Out New York City (SONYC): Fund the Summer SONYC program to ensure the safety and growth potential of children in New York City.

Citywide Citizenship Fund: Include funding in the budget for a citywide citizenship fund to reduce barriers to citizenship for NYC residents who require citizenship application assistance.

Citywide Census 2020: Allocate funds to educate the public about the importance of the census and to assist applicants with navigating the complexities of the process.

Construction Safety Training for All: Investment in ensuring construction safety training is available to all New Yorkers regardless of their background, legal status and gender by hiring new trainers and building the capacity for all construction workers and supervisors to fulfill OSHA requirements.

As we enter City Council’s Executive Budget hearings, we hope to continue work to ensure adequate funding for Caucus priorities above.

Progressive Caucus Advocates for Fair Fares to be Included in the City’s FY19 Budget

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New York, NY – The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council joined Speaker Corey Johnson, Riders Alliance and Community Service Society of New York on the steps of City Hall to advocate on behalf of Fair Fares. Fair Fares has been a top budget priority for the Progressive Caucus for a number of years, and yesterday, due to the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson, and the sustained advocacy of the Progressive Caucus, Riders Alliance, and allies, Fair Fares has been included in the Council’s budget response.

The Council’s Response recommended that the city pay $212 million to subsidize half-fare MetroCards for the 800,000 city residents living at or below the federal poverty line. No New Yorker should have to choose between subway fare and other essential living expenses. The Fair Fares program will help many New Yorkers access greater city resources, ensure equitable access to transportation, and encourage greater upward mobility.

“New York City’s working poor deserve respect. They should not have to jump turnstiles in order to have access to our public transportation system,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “If you make anything close to minimum wage, you have to put around three hours of pay aside every week just to afford to get to work. By funding half-priced MetroCards in the 2018 budget, we would bring much-needed equity to our City’s transportation system and increase opportunity for struggling New Yorkers.”

“It isn’t public transportation if people can’t afford the fare. I support funding reduced fares for all low-income New Yorkers. The economic and social benefits of Fair Fares proves it’s one of the smartest transit investments we can make,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Vice-Chair for Civic Engagement of the Progressive Caucus.

“I am proud to join the Community Service Society and Riders Alliance in urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund discounted metro cards for low-income New Yorkers,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, member of the Progressive Caucus. “The cost of a MetroCard should not inhibit New Yorkers from taking advantage of the economic opportunities our city has to offer. Furthermore, our current system penalizes those who can least afford it, charging more to riders who can’t cover the up-front cost of an unlimited MetroCard which would save them money in the long term. The Fair Fares Initiative will ensure that our transit system is equitable and accessible to all New Yorkers.”

“Making mass transit affordable to the New Yorkers who rely on it most should be our top priority. This of course means exploring ways to reduce fares for lower-income residents. And just as important, it means seriously addressing the MTA’s ever-increasing costs, which lead to frequent fare increases. Let’s get the MTA’s costs under control so we can focus on what truly matters – excellent subway and bus service that is accessible and affordable to all,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, member of the Progressive Caucus.

“I join my colleagues in the fight for ‘Fair Fares’ as part of this year’s budget. Half price bus and subway fares will be extremely helpful to low income New Yorkers who are generally most affected by Fare Beat arrests. This funding will alleviate that issue to some extent,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, member of the Progressive Caucus.

“People shouldn’t have to decide between their subway fare and their groceries,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, member of the Progressive Caucus. “All New Yorkers, especially those living below the poverty line, need to be able to take the bus or subway to appointments, work and school. As lawmakers, we can make Fair Fares a reality, guaranteeing half price MetroCards and ensuring access to transportation to some of our city’s most vulnerable.”

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Progressive Caucus Stands with NYC Students to Demand Safe & Just Schools

The Caucus is supporting high school students and youth organizations who are calling on the Mayor to reallocate funding from school policing to increase citywide investments in Restorative Justice, Mental Health Supports, Guidance Counselors and Social Workers, and Culturally Relevant Education

New York, NY – On Wednesday, April 4th, the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council joined Chair of the Education Committee Mark Treyger, New York City students, the Urban Youth Collaborative, Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change, Desis Rising Up and Moving, and Dignity in Schools NY to rally at New York City Hall to call on the Mayor to adopt young people’s solutions for creating safe and just schools for all.

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is proud to stand in solidarity with students across the country and in our own city. We recognize that gun violence disproportionately impacts students of color, and so we rally for student safety not only inside of classrooms, but within our greater communities. Young people have led countless movements for change here in New York City and across the country, and as progressive elected officials; we pledge our commitment to uplifting the voices of student advocates and fighting for their safety.

“New York City schools need to spend more money on guidance counselors, social workers, and teachers not on criminalizing students and turning schools into detention facilities,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Students need to feel comfortable while they are safe in order to learn. Thank you to the Urban Youth Collaborative and Education Chair Mark Treyger for bringing attention to this topic.”

“I know firsthand that what struggling students need is support, not suspension. High school aged students who are dealing with social pressures, and mental or emotional health concerns should not be criminalized as a first response, which often leads to further interactions with the criminal justice system out of school and facilitates the school to prison pipeline. Rather, we need a structure in place that provides aid, and I am proud to join with the voices of these students calling for safe, supportive, and inclusive schools,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Member of Progressive Caucus.

“School safety should not be synonymous with punitive approaches like suspensions, scanners and unjust suspicions levied against students of color. Instead, our city should be making lasting and positive investments to transform our schools into truly safe havens for all students,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Member of Progressive Caucus. “I want to thank the young people who are leading this movement to revolutionize the way we approach school safety and to create an education system that is responsive to students of all cultures and backgrounds. I will continue to fight to make sure that your voices are heard.”

“It’s time for leaders in Washington, Albany, and here at home to pay attention to our young people, who are courageously showing us the path toward a future where our students can feel safe and supported,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education. “As a former educator, I know that students gravitate toward social workers and guidance counselors when they need help navigating life in and outside of their school building. Social workers and guidance counselors help students cope, process, and ultimately, open up to the full academic and social experience available to them. We need to stop focusing on punitive measures, and start listening to our students and providing them with the help and resources they need. Investing in more social workers and guidance counselors means investing in our students and their futures. I am proud to have stood with so many of our students, the Urban Youth Collaborative, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer today at City Hall, and I thank the members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus for joining us.”

Following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, New York City (NYC) students have experienced a backlash of criminalization. Young people have called for an end to school safety approaches that criminalize students of color, including, metal detectors and scanning, arrests, summons, NYPD in schools, and the use of suspensions. Students are calling for citywide investments to bring restorative practices to every school, significantly increase the number of guidance counselors and social workers, develop a mental health continuum, scale Culturally Responsive training for all educators, and increase student-led college access and support programs. The Caucus supports this call for action.

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