On Monday, Dec. 27, the NYC Racial Justice Commission unanimously approved its final report outlining three landmark ballot proposals intended to advance racial equity and dismantle structural racism in the City’s Charter. New York City residents will vote on these proposals in the November 2022 general election. This final report also outlines specific legal changes to the New York City Charter that would take effect if the ballot measures are approved by voters and it includes a ”Roadmap for Racial Justice,” which offers recommendations to local, state, and federal governments the Commission believes could further advance racial equity.
The final approved ballot proposals are:
Proposal 1: Add a Statement of Values to Guide Government
Adding a preamble would allow New Yorkers to adopt a vision and statement of values, and it acknowledges past and continuing harms experienced by marginalized groups and individuals.
Proposal 2: Establish a Racial Equity Office, Plan, and Commission
This proposal establishes a framework for planning and evaluating City government efforts to advance equity. It would create an Office of Racial Equity, require a citywide Racial Equity Plan every two years, and create a Commission on Racial Equity to represent communities’ needs and publicly review the citywide Racial Equity Plan.
Proposal 3: Measure the True Cost of Living
This proposal will require the City government to develop and report, beginning in 2024, an annual “true cost of living” measurement of what it costs to live in New York City without consideration of public, private, or informal assistance. The proposed measurement is intended to focus on dignity rather than poverty, by considering the cost of meeting essential needs.
“We worked across the five boroughs to lift up the voices of New Yorkers and transform their stories of inequity to proposals intended to bring human justice to our communities. I’m proud of this Commission and am confident New Yorkers across this city will spread the word about the vote in November,” said Commissioner K. Bain, founder and executive director, Community Capacity Development.