I write to support overriding the mayor’s veto of two important pieces of legislation important to our community and city — the bills known as the Community Safety Act. I joined a rally of concerned Council members, justice advocates and residents July 18 to make clear my support and help push back against the tremendous pressure being put on courageous Council members who put their constituents, justice and public safety first.
When race or ethnicity is the determining factor to question or arrest an individual, society sends the wrong message. In knocking on thousands of doors in, and campaigning throughout, Council District 27, covering all or part of Addisleigh Park, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Queens Village and St. Albans, I found that young people of color made clear the devastating impact that profiling inflicts on them. The practice should be illegal.
No New Yorker should be singled out because of his or her ethnicity; these bad contacts only widen the divide of distrust between police and the communities they serve. The then-New York attorney general’s 2001 report confirmed that the NYPD applied “stop and frisk” tactics more aggressively and broadly to African Americans and Latinos than to whites.
The police commissioner must be held accountable to the law’s reporting requirements and its ban on profiling.
As a community and labor activist, president of Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1056, which represents drivers and mechanics who work for MTA New York City Transit’s Queens Bus Division, co-chairman of the MTA Labor Coalition of 29 unions and more than 60,000 workers, and a longtime southeast Queens resident, who has worked with our community’s young people including as a co-founder of Brothers Unlimited, which assists families in need, and as a mentor with United Black Men of Queens and Life Camp, I know our community needs this reform.
That’s why I support the Community Safety Act and advocate overriding the mayor’s veto.
The writer is a candidate for City Council in the 27th District.