As he voted ‘No’ in the first new New York City Council stated meeting for the next speaker, returning City Councilmember Charles Barron wanted to share his reasons for doing so with Amsterdam News readers.

A majority of this body has been described as more progressive and people-oriented than previous councils. At the outset, there were hopes of a paradigm shift, to move from being under the dictates of the mayor, political county bosses, union leaders and real estate magnates, in exchange for getting a preferred committee chair. Unfortunately, the traditional process prevailed.

We must be the voice and conscience of the people, to protect them from a greedy capitalist system that creates poverty, unemployment, mass incarceration, homelessness, and a myriad of oppressive racial and economic issues. Especially during this pandemic.

I appeal to you to stand for the people during the budget process, legislative process, and land use process.

We must stand strong for the people when the over $100 billion budget process begins. We are in a state of emergency.

Gov. Hochul, Mayor Adams, and soon-to-be speaker Adams are cut from the same political cloth. They profess police and criminal justice reform, but support the racist, oppressive NYPD with more money and more police.

Mayor Adams wants to bring back Guiliani’s racist street crime unit; supports the real estate industry’s gentrifying projects; supports privatizing public housing and education projects; and supports ending “no cash bail.” With the support of the governor and the newly elected speaker, he will turn our Black and Brown communities into a “police state.”

The answer to crime is not police containment. It is economic development, job creation and a multi-billion-dollar anti-poverty initiative. We say jobs, not jails.

Finally, STAY WOKE! Don’t be lulled to sleep or inaction because of Black faces in high places. We need independent bold Black leadership that stands for the people over the party. We don’t want just a change in the complexion, we want a change in the direction the city is going.

Power to the people. Forward ever, backward never.

I, Councilmember Charles Barron, vote “No.”

Thank you.

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