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City Budget Ignore Young People’s Demands for a More Equitable New York City

Early Wednesday morning, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council reached an agreement on the city’s $88-billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

Marissa Muñoz, Northeast Regional Director for Young Invincibles, released the following statement on the FY21 budget and its impact on young New Yorkers:

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Black and Brown New Yorkers — including our city’s young people — experienced more deaths, illness, and economic hardship than white residents. With the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio had an opportunity to tackle the systemic racism that enables these disparities. Yet, he failed to meet the moment.

The budget that passed today does not meet the demands of young New Yorkers leading the charge for a more just New York. Across the city, young people are putting themselves on the line to demand a budget that moves our resources away from policing, and towards education, housing, and social services. While the Mayor and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson claim this budget makes real cuts to the NYPD, young people see the reality: the FY21 budget maintains the status quo of policing, and does little to address the real danger young Black and Brown New Yorkers face from the NYPD.

The FY21 budget also does not go far enough to address the profound challenges young New Yorkers are facing. While funding for critical programs like CUNY ASAP was restored at the eleventh hour, our city’s support of ASAP — CUNY’s nationally recognized free-college program that doubles graduation rates — was already too low. As more young New Yorkers find themselves destabilized by a seemingly endless pandemic, we need to invest in programs that put them on a path toward economic dignity. This budget does not do that.

It’s clear the Mayor and Speaker Johnson did not fully hear the demands of young people calling for a more equitable New York. The next generation of New Yorkers won’t forget how their leaders ignored them with this budget.”

Lyric Young, a recent graduate of City College student and CUNY ASAP recipient also responded to the passed FY21 budget:

“Mayor Bill de Blasio had a perfect opportunity to hear the voices of thousands of New Yorkers, including those of marginalized Black and Brown young adults most affected by this pandemic. However, their requests fell onto deaf ears. It was only after Mayor de Blasio experienced backlash for the proposed FY21 budget cuts did he listen.

While restoring CUNY ASAP funding is a step in the right direction, it should not have taken the backlash of thousands who had already expressed how beneficial the program had been for them. As a young adult in New York, I am appalled by the way young New Yorkers are being ignored when we are the ones who will build up this city after this pandemic. We will create change, and we will most certainly listen to the needs of our Black and Brown residents. We will not let the same mistakes be made.

Mayor de Blasio, you cannot claim that you believe that Black Lives Matter with performative actions such as naming streets in every borough after the movement, and then ignore the needs of these residents by not completely addressing the root of the problem.”