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Mayor Adams Announces Advisory Board to Help Guide City's Implementation of Racial Justice Charter Amendments

April 17, 2023

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Mayor’s Office of Equity Commissioner Sideya Sherman today announced the launch of an advisory board on implementation of the Racial Justice Charter Amendments, voted into law during the November 2022 general election. These amendments — the first of their kind in the nation — added a statement of values to the city’s charter; required the city to establish a racial equity office and commission, as well as racial equity focused plans; and called for the city to measure the true cost of living for city residents. The advisory board will help ensure the city continues to lead the nation in innovative, racial equity work and carries out the city’s newly enshrined charter changes.

“Our city has come a long way in the fight for racial justice, but there is still much more work to do to end systemic inequity,” said Mayor Adams. “We are proud to announce the launch of this advisory board, which will help us apply the critical actions needed to these important initiatives. We are fully committed to advancing equity for New Yorkers from all backgrounds and walks of life.” 

“Today, with the launch of this advisory board, we are taking a historic step in breaking down barriers for New Yorkers of color," said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “This administration is committed to working upstream and rooting out systemic inequities that have plagued our city for far too long. This advisory board will help us determine the best path to build lasting, sustainable change.”

“New Yorkers made a bold statement when they voted overwhelmingly to put racial justice and equity at the heart of the city government,” said Mayor’s Office of Equity Commissioner Sherman. “I am thrilled to partner with the advisory board to help make these charter amendments a reality and ensure our city is one where everyone has access, opportunity, and can thrive.”

“Having made history by voting overwhelmingly for racial justice and equity to be a charter-mandated government function and responsibility, New York City now leads the nation in taking formal steps to dismantle structural racism," said Jennifer Jones Austin, former chair, New York City Racial Justice Commission. “I am honored to work with Mayor Adams and his administration, and the newly formed advisory board on the buildout of the three historic measures that hold the promise of a more equitable and inclusive future for all New Yorkers.”

The advisory board will bring together 15 diverse leaders with significant experience successfully implementing large-scale change within government and with a proven commitment to racial equity. In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Equity, these leaders will tackle the structure, design, and development of the new, forthcoming office and commission, as well as the citywide racial equity plans and the true cost of living measure. 

The Mayor’s Office of Equity will convene monthly meetings with the advisory board to advise on these key priorities, as well as additional areas, including institutional reform to uphold and advance the New York City charter changes and recommendations for engaging New Yorkers. They will also focus on creating a process for reporting the true cost of living measure and suggesting ways to apply this information. 

The advisory board will consist of the following members: 

  • Ana Bermúdez, former commissioner, New York City Department of Probation 
  • Grace Bonilla, president & CEO, United Way of New York City 
  • Fred Davie, senior strategic advisor to the president, Union Theological Seminary 
  • Hazel Dukes, president, NAACP New York State Conference 
  • Dr. Torian Easterling, MD, MPH, chief strategic and innovation officer, One Brooklyn Health; former First Deputy Commissioner & Chief Equity Officer, New York City Department of Mental Health & Hygiene  
  • Jacques Jiha, director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget 
  • Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO & executive director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
  • Michael McAfee, president & CEO, PolicyLink 
  • Melva Miller, CEO, Association for a Better New York
  • Michael Nutter, former mayor, City of Philadelphia 
  • Sherif Soliman, director, Mayor’s Office of Policy & Planning
  • Udai Tambar, CEO, New York Junior Tennis & Learning  
  • Phil Thompson, former New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives
  • Carl Weisbrod, former chairman, New York City Planning Commission 
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director, Asian American Federation

Biographies for advisory board members can be found online.


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