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Mayor Adams Announces $5 Million Commitment to Racial Justice Commission for Ballot Proposal Voter Education Effort

May 2, 2022

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced a $5 million commitment to the New York City Racial Justice Commission (RJC) to educate New Yorkers about the three ballot proposals they will see during the November general election. RJC outreach plans prioritize equity, accessibility, and language justice, while making a special effort to reach groups protected by the Voting Rights Act.

“Equity and justice go hand in hand and are key to building a prosperous city that serves all New Yorkers. And while our city has come a long way, we have more work to do,” said Mayor Adams. “I am proud to support the Racial Justice Commission’s efforts to ensure New Yorkers can fully participate in our democracy with full transparency. These three ballot initiatives intend to place racial equity at the heart of New York City government.”

“After hearing from BIPOC New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs about the persistent racial injustices and disparities they face as they pursue opportunities and a better way of life, the Racial Justice Commission developed three ballot measures to begin the work of both preventing and reducing such inequities as we recover from COVID and move forward as a multicultural city,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, chair, RJC. “With generous funding provided by Mayor Adams, the commission will be able to reach and educate New Yorkers about how these measures would begin to dismantle structural racism in our city and ensure equity as a core government function and responsibility.” 

“These proposals are intended to fundamentally change the way City government runs by writing equitable principles into the City’s constitution,” said Henry Garrido, vice-chair, NYC Racial Justice Commission and executive director of DC 37 and AFSCME. “Collectively, the commission worked to put these proposals on the ballot with the aim to improve the lives of New Yorkers. I encourage everyone New Yorker to learn how these proposals could impact their lives and make their decision about each one at the polls.”

Operating simultaneously as a Charter Revision Commission, RJC is responsible for educating voters and publicizing the ballot measures before the election. If New York City voters adopt these proposals, the charter will incorporate the broadest structural racial equity laws in the country:

  1. Add a statement of values to guide government,
  2. Establish a racial equity office, plan, and commission, and
  3. Measure the true cost of living.

Initial plans incorporate strategies to deeply engage New Yorkers through partnerships with community organizations on the ground, creative and accessible communications, and strategic paid media. The RJC is seeking city-certified Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBE) for the contracting needs, aiming to contract at least 50 percent of the total budget to M/WBEs. Interested businesses can email to receive updates about solicitations.

Community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and other non-partisan community organizations will have the opportunity to receive funding to support civic education efforts through November 2022. Application details will be available soon and interested organizations can sign up to receive updates online.

New Yorkers are encouraged to visit the RJC’s website to read more about each proposal and view how each of the questions will appear on the back of New Yorkers’ ballots, as well as find more details about the legislative changes that would go into effect if the proposals are adopted.

The RJC was formed on March 23, 2021, empowered with the legal authority of a Charter Revision Commission. RJC is identifying and proposing transformative structural changes, as well as significant policy reforms to advance racial justice and equity and begin to dismantle structural racism for all New Yorkers.

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