In her first State of the City address since her election, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito touted progress and future plans around a progressive agenda that reinforced the platform under which she was elected, reported Gotham Gazette.
The speech was entitled “Lifting Every Voice,” and was indeed focused on increasing the voices of the city’s most disenfranchised. Switching between English and Spanish from a NYCHA community center in her district in East Harlem, the speaker rattled through a checklist of things she has accomplished and slew of items she plans to accomplish, including an increased emphasis on housing protections for the city’s most vulnerable and greater “citizen empowerment” through the expansion of participatory budgeting.
Mark-Viverito promised to strengthen and enforcement of labor laws, as well as provide an infusion of cash to enforce the Human Rights Law that protects against work discrimination.
Mark-Viverito called for an increase in the number of NYPD in order to “carry out more community policing,” saying she will seek an additional 1,000 police officers to be funded through the budget while simultaneously seek criminal justice reforms:: “We cannot continue to lock up those accused of low level, non-violent offenses without recognizing the dire, long-term consequences to them and to our city,” she said.
Finally, she gave particular focused on key changes to the city’s school discipline code, including to “B21,” which makes ‘disobeying authority’ result in suspensions for many students, especially black and Hispanic boys. Removal of B21 has been something advocates have long called for, and now the speaker has vowed to move forward.