A vision for the City we want, where Black Lives Matter

Last week I quoted President Obama’s commencement 2020 message: “Be alive to one another’s struggles.” Historically, we have not been, but now is the time to strive to be more alive, more aware. I stand with Black communities and communities of color as an ally, in solidarity. I share the pain as we mourn the lives lost and and fight against police brutality and systemic racism that affects voting rights, access to quality education, and employment and housing opportunity.

I saw two different kinds of images last weekend:

On social media, I saw police charged with our safety, revving up violence. I saw the opening of age old wounds, and the crying out of people in pain. I saw New York on edge. And yet, Sunday afternoon at State Senator Robert Jackson’s Vigil for George Floyd and against police brutality I saw a peaceful, powerful, diverse group with the common goal of change.

We need to build resilience, equity, and understanding so that someday George Floyd is remembered as the very last victim of a murderous police officer.

Tomorrow morning, three generations of our family will gather at the Riverdale Monument to join an ongoing, day’s long, socially distanced, peaceful vigil. My children ages 7 to 18 spent last night painting signs. They understand what’s at stake.

The change we need for the city we want will take everyone’s participation.

Our city budget is a reflection of our priorities. The budget crisis is translating into a hiring freeze for teachers and cuts to social services but no cuts to the Police Department. New York has twice as many police officers per capita as Los Angeles. How we spend our money matters: are we investing in the future of education or incarceration? I have joined with other City Council Candidates and DA Candidate Janos Marton supporting a call for a reduction in the NYPD Operating budget (currently $5.6 billion) over the next four years.

This has been a difficult time. I take comfort in coming together with neighbors and family in vigil and in solidarity and with fellow candidates with a unified vision for the future City we want.

Climate activist, tech entrepreneur, and working mom of four, running for NYC Council, District 11 in The Bronx. www.JessicaHaller.com

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