Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Message from CM James: Regarding Mayor Bloomberg's Statement During State of the City Speech

“Although I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for recognizing and highlighting the plight of young Black and Latino men throughout New York City, I feel strongly that it is simply not enough to speak of the symptoms that plague these young people without addressing some of the root causes.

Albeit, some of the causes of disparities in educational and economic progress are historical in nature, others are directly tied to governmental policies that have had an adverse impact on the stability of Black and Latino families. Seeking a long-term remedy should therefore not be done in isolation of parents, relatives, and caregivers who are dealing directly with the rising costs of living in New York City.

Accordingly, in his third term, I urge the mayor to expand his view to a broader scope that encompasses a bolder vision for change, focusing on support and sustenance for the family structure - including, but not limited to -

● initiatives that include the development of more living-wage jobs;
● healthcare reform that includes a Citywide paid sick-leave policy;
● subsidies that finance the retention and growth of manufacturing and industrial enterprises, specifically those committed to “green” and otherwise sustainable industry development;
● overall preservation of existing affordable housing, and creation of new affordable housing, for low and moderate-income families;
● academic and athletic programs that focus on human development with parental involvement, and led by culturally-sensitive mentors and teachers;
● expansion of alternatives-to-incarceration programs, and striking a general tone in the NYPD to respect the growth and human development of young Black and Latino youth;
● a capital jobs program to rebuild the infrastructure of New York City targeting structurally-unemployed communities.

If Mayor Bloomberg would adopt such an inclusive plan, this administration could truly have a long-term positive affect on the educational and economic gap that adversely affects Black and Latino boys. Such a policy would go a long way in realizing the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King by fostering a better environment for young Black and Latino men to grow and thrive throughout the City of New York.”

Letitia James
Member of the City Council

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