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public safety

everyone deserves to feel safe

Everyone deserves to feel safe. We know that community stability and well-being are the best ways to promote safety. Research shows that states that invest in their social safety net have improved health and decreased violence in their communities.

Far too often state responses to our demands for safer schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces have been met with increased policing and prison budgets. We have seen time and time again that New York City’s bloated police force does not keep us safe. 

As a social worker, I have experience working with previously-incarcerated people. What has become abundantly clear to me is that we need deep investments in our social safety nets, not punitive systems. 

I will fight the violence caused by our current system by investing in what really keeps us safe: housing for all, free and accessible health care and mental health care, high-quality education, and cleaner neighborhoods. We must invest in our communities to plant the seeds of safety. If elected, that is exactly what I will do.

investing in our communities

Safe communities result from real and sustained investments in public services like healthcare, education, and housing. Our current system does not keep us safe. In fact it actively harms our communities and our neighbors. 

We’ve underfunded vital public services for decades while the NYPD’s budget has ballooned. We spend billions on a prison system that traps working-class New Yorkers in a cycle of punishment and poverty. Real estate speculation has resulted in growing housing instability and homelessness. 

We can do better. Throwing billions of dollars into police and jails hasn’t resulted in less crime. 

We need permanent and truly affordable housing solutions to protect our communities. We need truly accessible, comprehensive mental and physical health care. We need quality public schools.

My priority is to nurture this community that I am proud to call my own. It is time our community was shown the care it deserves by taxing the rich and investing in our community.

End Anti-Asian Violence

No one should ever have to fear for their personal safety because of their race or country of origin. The anti-Asian rhetoric of the Trump administration and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated an already-existing public safety crisis for Asian Americans in New York City.

In New York state, hate crimes against Asian Americans have quadrupled since last year. Many other attacks have gone unreported or haven’t been properly classified as hate crimes. 

We must ensure that Asian-American neighbors can report incidents without fear of dismissal, ridicule or retribution from immigration authorities. 

We must also center and publicly support our Asian-American communities. Neighborhood anti-racism programs should be funded and promoted to help combat the long and shameful history of anti-Asian sentiment in our country. We should educate bystanders on what to do when they witness a neighbor being subjected to anti-Asian abuse. 

We can also help prevent these violent acts if we invest in our community. Our current shelter and criminal justice systems lack both timely and consistent mental health screenings and long term mental health care. We need to ensure that anyone that could be a danger to themselves or others receives impactful treatment that could prevent violence in our community and ensure permanent and stable housing for at risk New Yorkers.

Investing in Community Centered Safety

I support the funding of Community-Based Violence Prevention Programs. This legislation utilizes the power of community relationships and mentorship to connect community members with lived experience with young folks at high risk for being victims or perpetrators of violence. These programs have proven to be incredibly effective at preventing violence and recidivism, and improve community safety by eliminating fears of police intervention.

As a social worker I understand that protecting our community members’ mental health is crucial. That is why I support passing Daniel’s Law, which will help protect those experiencing mental health crises and protect our communities. This legislation supports the building of a robust mental health crisis response system that does not involve police, but instead consists of first responders with relevant expertise to help keep New Yorkers safe in times of crisis.

We must ensure that everyone has access to free healthcare and mental health care. I support the expansion of more mental health walk-in clinics across our community. I will do everything I can to fund and implement these programs.

Care not Cages

I have vocally opposed the Chinatown mega jail, the borough based jail plan, and all new jails. We cannot decarcerate by building new jails, and we must decarcerate. Caging our neighbors has not ended crime — but it has put the lives of millions of incarcerated New Yorkers at risk.

Every three days, one incarcerated New Yorker dies in a state prison, with Black New Yorkers making up nearly 45 percent of those deaths. As a social worker I have worked with formerly incarcerated people and it has only furthered my commitment to decarceration. We must provide care not cages. We must fight to end the cycle of incarceration, surveillance, and harm, through Decarceration, Decriminalization, and Parole Justice.

If elected I will actively fight to reduce the prison population. Our current system of mass incarceration persists in part because many incarcerated people are sentenced to unimaginably long sentences, without opportunities for release. Fair & Timely Parole and Elder Parole would provide more incarcerated folks, especially elders, with meaningful opportunities to appear before parole boards and have a chance at earlier release. 

I will work to end the failed war on drugs by decriminalizing all low-level drug possession and expunging past misdemeanor drug convictions, and repealing mandatory minimum sentencing, a key mechanism of mass incarceration. And I will fight to end the criminalization of poverty, by eliminating cash bail, ending predatory court fees, and passing the Access to Representation Act, which establishes the right to legal counsel in immigration court proceedings.