NYC Public Advocate on Over-Policing During the Pandemic

“As a citywide elected leader who comes from the communities that are being disproportionately targeted, who has seen the impact of over-policing for many years magnified in this pandemic, even I was shocked to see the egregious degree of disparity in social distancing enforcement. It was what we had suspected, feared and warned against, only worse. So I was glad to see the administration finally announce some changes we had called for – to hand out more masks and less summonses, to engage civilian agencies as ambassadors, and to expand community outreach.”

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams speaks to our partners at MetroFocus about the over-policing of Black and Brown Americans during COVID-19.

TRANSCRIPT:

> WELCOME TO ‘METROFOCUS’ I’M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

THROUGHOUT HIS POLITICAL CAREER OUR NEXT PUBLIC ADVOCATE STOOD OUT TO ISSUES OF RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE.

MANY OF THOSE HAVE BEEN APPARENT DURING THE ECONOMIC CRISIS.

INCLUDING THE SOCIAL DISTANCE POLICIES OF THE NYPD WHICH HAS ISSUED THE VAST MAJORITY OF SUMMONS FOR VIOLATING THESE RULES FOR BLACK AND LATINO NEW YORKERS, HE JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THOSE AND OTHER ISSUES ON POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, PUBLIC ADVOCATE WILLIAMS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME, I APPRECIATE IT.

THANKS A LOT.

SO PUBLIC ADVOCATE WILLIAMS, AS WE KNOW COVID-19 HAS CAUSED DISPROPORTIONATE HARM TO BLACK AND LATINO NEW YORKERS TO WHAT DEGREE IS THAT A RESULT OF THE STRUCTURAL RACISM AND ECONOMIC INJUSTICES ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND TO WHAT DEGREE IS THAT THE RESULT OF THE FAILURES OF OUR LOCAL AND STATE POLITICIANS DURING THIS CRISIS?

FIRST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME AND TO THE WORKERS ON THE FRONT LINE OUT THERE WORKING EVERY DAY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WORK THEY’RE DOING AND THEN, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE TAKE A BIRD’S ‘VIEW WE DIDN’T EXPECT MUCH FROM THIS PRESIDENT AND WE DIDN’T GET MUCH.

HOPEFULLY PEOPLE CONTINUE TO WORK AROUND HIM AND HIS — I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DESCRIBE HOW BAD HE IS.

WE EXPECT TO SEE SOMETHING.

WE HAD A RIGHT TO EXPECT BETTER LEADERSHIP FROM OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT, MANY OF WHOM SAID IT’S DIFFERENT FOR DEMOCRATS AND PROGRESSIVES, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

WHAT WE SAW ACROSS THE COUNTRY WAS DISPARITY BASED ON LACK OF PREPAREDNESS AND LEADERSHIP FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF MESH.

IN NEW YORK WE HAVE AMONG IF NOT THE WORSE CORONA RESPONSE AND RATES ON THE PLANET EARTH, THAT’S NOT AN EXAGGERATION.

ON THIS PLANET, WE ARE AMONG THE WORST.

THAT’S BECAUSE OF THE RESPONSE OR LACK THERE OF OF MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO AND TO A GREATER EXTENT GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO.

AND THE GOVERNOR ASKED FOR AND RECEIVED UNPRECEDENTED POWER OF DECISION MAKING.

THEY DID WELL ASKING FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM THE PRESIDENT, WHAT WAS TERRIBLE IS IF AND WHEN WE GOT THE RESOURCES THE DECISIONS MADE ON THE GROUND.

WE DIDN’T ACT FAST ENOUGH.

DIDN’T ACT BOLD ENOUGH.

AND WE NEVER ADAPTED TO THE DATA WE GOT ON A REGULAR BASIS.

AND WHEN YOU HAVE THESE QUESTIONS, ALL OF THE TIME IT COMES BACK OH, WE’RE THE DENSEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY, THESE COMMUNITIES HAVE PREEXISTING CONDITIONS, SO, ONE, SOME OF THOSE STRUCTURE AND INEQUITIES YOU DESCRIBED THE GOVERNOR AND MAYOR MADE WORSE SINCE THEY CAME IN OFFICE.

TWO, THAT’S NOT AN EXCUSE.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS WERE TRUE BEFORE COVID.

SO THE QUESTION IS WHAT DID YOU DO IN YOUR CAPACITY TO PLAN FOR THAT, AND THE ANSWER IS, NOT MUCH.

AND HERE’S WHAT THEY DID ON TOP OF THAT.

AND SO, WHEN I WAS THE FIRST CITY AGENCY TO SAY I’M SHUTTING DOWN AND SENDING MY FOLKS TO WORK FROM HOME, AS A SHOW OF UNDERSTANDING, THE GOVERNMENT SAID, VERY CLEARLY PEOPLE SHOULD FACT-CHECK EVERYTHING I SAY, WE ARE GOING TO TURN THE DIAL, GOING TO GO FOR 25%, 50% WORKERS, 75% WORKERS.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS IN TIME.

WE THEN SAID WE DON’T WANT TO SCARE PEOPLE.

WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A PAUSE.

EXPECT SEVERAL DAYS AND A PAUSE AND THEN ANOTHER COUPLE DAYS BEFORE IT GOES INTO EFFECT.

WE WERE SAYING THEN ALL OF THOSE THINGS HAVE A HUMAN COST TO THEM.

SO IF WE ACTED FOUR OR FIVE DAYS EARLIER WE MIGHT NOT HAVE AMONG THE WORST RATES ON PLANET EARTH AND WE DIDN’T.

LASTLY, ON TOP OF ALL OF THAT, TWO THINGS WE SAID SHELTER, STAY-AT-HOME EXCEPT PARKS WERE OPEN, CONSTRUCTION SITES WERE OPEN, MAYOR AND FIRST LADY WERE WALKING IN THE PARK, THE LIQUOR STORES WERE OPEN.

THEN WE SAID YOU CAN TELECOMMUTE. IF YOU CAN’T GO TO THE HAMPTON YOU STAY HOME AND GET GROCERIES DELIVERED.

THE REST OF THE CITY, YOU ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS, 75% ARE BLACK AND BROWN, YOU MUST GO TO WORK AND WE’RE NOT GO TO GIVE YOU ANY PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WHEN YOU DO IT.

NOT ONLY MUST YOU GO TO WORK WE’RE NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU ANY PPE’S WE’RE ALSO NOT GOING TO TEST YOUR COMMUNITIES.

THOSE WERE ALL DECISIONS MADE BY MAYOR BILL de BLASIO WHEN HE WOULDN’T CLOSE SCHOOLS OR CANCEL PARADES.

AND ESPECIALLY THIS GOVERNMENT.

SO I TELL PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION IN BETWEEN THE PRESS CONFERENCES.

BECAUSE HE’S LET US DOWN A VERY, VERY DISTURBING ROAD.

FOR WEEKS YOU HAVE BEEN EXPRESSING CONCERN THAT’S THESE DISPARITIES WERE ALSO PLAYING OUT IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL DISTANCING POLICIES BY THE NYPD.

NOW THE DAD — DATA RECENTLY CAME OUT AND SEEMS TO SHOW YOU’RE RIGHT.

WHAT DO THE NUMBERS TELL NEW.

THEY WERE ATROCIOUS.

I GOT TO TELL YOU.

I IN MY WILDEST DREAMS WOULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED THAT.

82% WERE BLACK AND BROWN.

68% WERE BLACK.

92% OF ARRESTS WERE BLACK AND BROWN, SORRY OUT OF 82% ABOUT 50% WERE BLACK.

9 2% ARRESTED BLACK AND BROWN.

IN BROOKLYN OUT OF 40 ARRESTS 35 WERE BLACK AND 4 LATIN MIX.

NO ONE WOULD EXPECT THOSE NUMBERS.

SO MUCH SO WE HAVE DA’S WHO SAID THEY WILL NOT PROSECUTE THIS.

THIS IS HOW EGREGIOUS IT IS.

AGAIN, THAT’S NOT THE PRESIDENT.

ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN WEEKS AGO WE SENT A PLAN TO THE MAYOR AND SAID WE CAN A NOT FOCUS ON ENFORCEMENT OF SUMMONS AND ARRESTS, EVEN WHILE THE GOVERNMENT WAS SAYING ENFORCE, ENFORCE, WE SAID TO THE MAYOR, WE CAN’T DO THAT BASED ON HISTORICAL THINGS WE KNOW THIS IS GOING TO END BAD AND WE SENT A HOLISTIC COMMUNITY APPROACH CENTERED AROUND EDUCATION AND REENFORCEMENT, USE ALL CITY AGENCIES, FIRE DEPARTMENT, EMT, SANITATION, NYPD, LET’S GET THE STATE TOGETHER AND HAVE A COMMUNITY MESSAGE, HAVE AMPLIFIED SOUND ON VEHICLES, GET OUT THE MESSAGE.

GET OUR CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOLKS INVOLVED.

GET OUR CLERGY INVOLVED.

I THINK NOW THEY’RE TRYING TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT, WHICH IS GREAT, BUT WE CAN’T MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME AND THIS ADMINISTRATION NOW KEEPS REPEATING THE THINGS WE HEARD BETWEEN GIULIANI AND BLOOMBERG ADMINISTRATION INSTEAD OF TRULY GRABBING ON AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE PROBLEM IS HERE, IT’S REAL, AND IT UNFORTUNATELY SEEMS TO BE A NORMAL OCCURRENCE IN THESE COMMUNITIES.

YOU SAID IT SHOULDN’T BE UP TO THE POLICE TO ENFORCE SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES, BUT ULTIMATELY, ALL OF THOSE FORCES THAT YOU TALK ABOUT THAT COULD DO IT, AND DO IT WELL, DON’T HAD HE NEED THE FORCE, THE POLITIC — NOT THE POLITICAL FORCE BUT THE ACTUAL FORCE THAT THE NYPD HAS ULTIMATELY, I MEAN, SOME PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO DO IT AND IT COULD CAUSE DANGER TO OTHERS DON’T YOU ULTIMATELY NEED THAT FORCE?

SO LET’S BE CLEAR.

WE ALL NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE ACTIONS, SO WE NEED ALL NEW YORKERS TO STAY AT HOME WHEN THEY CAN.

WEAR MASKS WHEN YOU ARE OUTSIDE WHEN YOU HAVE TO BE.

AND SOCIAL DISTANCING.

EVERYONE MUST DO THAT.

THANKFULLY A MAJORITY ARE.

IN A SMALL SUBSET OF PEOPLE IN EVERY COMMUNITY THAT IS NOT DOING IT.

SO OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS, YES THEY MUST BE PARTNERS.

IF YOU FOCUS ON THAT AND IF IN PARTICULAR YOU START WITH SUMMONING PEOPLE WHO ONE CAN’T PAY THE SUMMONS, WHO THEN ALSO IF YOU ARREST THEM ARE GOING TO JAILS THAT WE’RE TRYING TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF, THAT IS A HUGE, HUGE MISTAKE.

AND ON TOP OF THAT YOU ARE NOT EVEN DOING IT EQUITABLY.

WE SAW MASKS HANDED OUT AT CHELSEA PIER BUT WE SAW PUNCHES AND PEOPLE THROWN TO THE GROUND IN BROWNSVILLE.

THAT’S UNACCEPTABLE.

SO LET’S FOCUS ON THE EDUCATION AND HAVE A CONVERSATION THAT’S DIFFERENT THAN FORCE BECAUSE OFTEN WHEN YOU START WITH FORCE THESE ARE COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE BEEN HISTORICALLY TREATED THAT WAY.

AND THEY’VE NOW BEEN STUCK AT HOME FOR TWO MONTHS.

THEY’VE BEEN HISTORICALLY TREATED THAT WAY AND STUCK AT HOME FOR TWO MONTHS AND NOW SOMEONE IS TELLING THEM TO PUT ON A MASK A LOT OF TIMES WHEN THEY’RE NOT EVEN WEARING MASKS THEMSELVES.

WE POINTED OUT AS A SITUATION THAT COULD BE AVOIDED.

AGAIN I KEEP POINTING OUT THE ISSUES I HAVE WITH LOCAL LEADERSHIP.

BECAUSE ON EVERY LEVEL WE HAVE STRAIGHT WHITE MEN MAKING DECISIONS IN NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEIR PRESS CONFERENCE ONLY NOW YOU BEGIN TO SEE ANY PROGRESSION.

MOST OF THE TIME YOU DIDN’T.

AND SO, I DON’T KNOW THAT IT’S SUCH A SHOCK THAT THE COMMUNITIES THAT HAVEN’T BEEN REPRESENTED ARE THE COMMUNITIES THAT ARE SUFFERING.

BECAUSE THIS VIRUS DOES NOT DISCRIMINATION.

SO ONE, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE WE LIFT UP EVERYBODY WHO IS DEALING WITH THIS LOSS AND ISSUES AROUND COVID.

AND —

YOU STARTED THE INTERVIEW SAYING YOU DIDN’T EXPECT MUCH FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THAT YOU WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE HE DIDN’T DELIVER.

NEVERTHELESS, YOU AND BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT AARON ADAMS JOINED OVER 30 OTHER LOCAL AND STATE OFFICIALS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THE DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO INVESTIGATE CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY OUR OWN POLITICAL LEADERS IN NEW YORK.

ARE YOU SAYING YOU TRUST THE TRUMP D.O.J. MORE THAN YOU TRUST THE LOCAL LEADERS TO ACHIEVE RACIAL JUSTICE HERE IN NEW YORK?

I THINK THE BOROUGH PRESIDENT ERIC ADAMS TO BE PART OF IT, I THANK HIM.

WE GOT TOGETHER WITH PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY BECAUSE WE DID SEE THIS HAPPEN ACROSS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY SO WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

ALSO IN CITIES WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FAILED AS WELL.

NO ONE FAILED WORST THAN WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE IN NEW YORK.

IN FACT THERE’S A REPORT OUT NOW THAT SAYS THE FAILURES IN NEW YORK MAY HAVE BEEN WHAT EXPEDITED THE VIRUS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

WE’RE TALKING ABOUT COLOSSAL FAILURES BY A GOVERNOR WHO IS ON TV EVERY DAY AND NO ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THIS.

THE RAN WE HAVE TO HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE GOING FORWARD BY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO WANTS TO MAKE DECISIONS BY A GOVERNOR WHO WANTS TO STILL CUT MEDICAID, ANOTHER $10 MILLION, WITHOUT REVENUE-R RAISING OPTIO FOR PEOPLE WITH LUXURY YACHTS AND PLANES.

BY MAYOR TRYING TO CUT EVERY JOB.

BY THE GOVERNOR JUST LAST WEEK SAYING NURSING HOMES WASN’T HIS JOB, SAYING WE DON’T VARY TIME TO DEAL WITH THE INCOURSE RATED.

WE HAVE TO — INCARCERATED.

WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THESE FOLKS ACCEPT ACCOUNTABILITY TO HAVE BETTER BEHAVIOR GOING FORWARD.

NO BETTER ENFORCEMENT AGENCY THAN D.O.J. THAT’S SHOWING HOW BAD THE PROBLEM IS, WE RENT TO THE D.O.J. WE KNOW WHO THE D.O.J. IS, BUT WE BELIEVE THERE ARE LIFELONG PEOPLE WHO DO THESE INVESTIGATIONS THAT WE BELIEVE IF THEY LOOK AT THIS AT MINIMUM WE CAN AT LEAST GET A REAL ASSESSMENT WHETHER OR NOT THE D.O.J. WANTS TO MOVE ON IT.

BUT IT HAS TO BE THERE.

THERE HAS TO BE RECOMMENDATIONS WHAT WE CAN DO.

THIS CAN’T BE A OOPS WE DID THIS AGAIN AND WE MOVE FORWARD.

THIS IS A COLOSSAL ERROR AND COLOSSAL MISTAKES AND THE HUMAN COST IS WAY TOO HIGH AND THERE HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR IT.

SO WE ASKED THE D.O.J. TO COME IN, TAKE A LOOK, THAT DOESN’T EXCLUDE ALL OF THE OTHER AGENCIES AND LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT DOING THEIR OWN ASSESSMENTS, BUT WE KNOW THE EXPERIENCE OF THE LIFELONG D.O.J. FOLKS, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INSIDE WHO DO THIS WORK DAY-TO-DAY, IF NOT THE LEADERS WHO THEYANCE TO.

YOU KNOW — WHO THEY ANSWER TO.

YOU KNOW, GOVERNOR CUOMO REVEALED A STUDY SHOWING TWO-THIRDS OF PATIENTS HAVE BEEN RECENTLY HOSPITALIZED WITH CORONAVIRUS COMPLICATIONS BECAME INFECTED LARGELY WHILE SHELTERING AT HOME.

THEYER NOT WORKING OR TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

THEY WERE MOSTLY RETIRED OR SHELTERING AT HOME, WHAT’S IT SAY ABOUT ENDING THE LOCKDOWN?

I WANT TO BE CLEAR, BECAUSE OF OUR LEADERS WE NEVER HAD A CLEAR MESSAGE.

ONLY NOW IT’S ON THE TABLE.

WE’VE BEEN USING WORDS LIKE LOCKDOWN AND QUARANTINE BUT OUR LEADER THE NEVER DID AND HAVEN’T.

YOU HAVEN’T HEARD THE GOVERNOR SAY LOCKDOWN OR USE THE WORD KW QUARANTINE.

I HAVE BEEN PUSHING TO LOCKDOWN THE CITY, AND THEY REFUSED, THE GOVERNOR IN FACT SAID THEY DIDN’T WANT TO SCARE PEOPLE.

HAVING A TRUE LOCKDOWN OF THE CITY THAT INCLUDES THE MCAS THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT THERE WERE P THEM IN HOSPITALS AND PHARMACIES, AT LEAST FOR A WEEK MAYBE TWO AND AS WE DO THAT WE FIGURE HOW TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE EAT AND GET TO GROCERY STORES IT.

WE SHOULD HAVE LOCKED IT DOWN QUICK AND OPEN IT SLOWLY.

WE LOST THAT TIME AND WE’RE FEELING THE EFFECTS.

I DO WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHO THOSE PEOPLE LIVE WITH, IT COULD BE PEOPLE FORCED TO GO TO WORK WITH NO PPE’S AND WEREN’T BEING TESTED THAT WERE BRINGING IT BACK HOME TO THE BILLIONS, TO THE PEOPLE THAT THEY LIVE WITH, AND AGAIN, A LOT OF THAT HAS TO DO WITH THE DECISIONS THAT WERE MADE.

WE CAN’T MOVE BACKWARDS BUT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED SO THAT AS WE MOVE FORWARD WE MAKE BETTER DECISIONS BECAUSE WE’RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET.

AND I’M AFRAID IF WE SKIP OVER THE MISTAKES WE MAKE THESE SAME FOLKS WILL MAKE TERRIBLE DECISIONS MOVING FORWARD, SUCH AS, CUTTING MEDICAID, WHICH IS THE LIFE FORCE FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED TO GET ASSISTANCE FOR THE MEDICAL CARE THEY NOW NEED.

OR USING POLICE AS THE MAIN THING FOR SUMMONS AND ARRESTS.

THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THE SAME ERRORS OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

WE JUST WANT THAT TO STOP.

WE WANT PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST AFFECTED TO BE ON THOSE TASK FORCES, TO BE IN THE ROOMS, TO BE IN THE PRESS CONFERENCES, SO YOU’RE NOT MAKING THESE DECISIONS OF SILOS AND EFFECTING COMMUNITIES THAT YOU’RE NOT HEARING FROM.

THEY JUST DISCOVERED NYCHA ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO.

IT’S BEEN SO DISCOVERING TO WATCH THIS HAPPEN.

SLOW MOTION EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I’M SO HONORED BY THE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY WHO PUT ME AS PUBLIC ADVOCATE.

SO WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO WHATEVER WE CAN FROM OUR OFFICE TO RAISE THESE RED FLAGS AND IT’S GOOD TO SEE PEOPLE STARTING TO ADDRESS IT.

I’M GLAD TO SEE THAT.

IT’S JUST TIME IS A LUX YOUR YI WE DON’T HAVE.

I ASK EVERYONE TO GO TO OUR WEBSITE ADVOCACY.NYC.GOV.

WE PUT FORWARD A PLAN HOW TO RESPOND AND RECOVER ON APRIL 1st SO WE’VE BEEN PUSHING THESE PLANS FOR QUITE SOME TIME.

SO WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, WHAT STEPS DO YOU THINK WE NEED TO TAKE TO BEGIN TO OPEN THE ECONOMY?

WELL, RIGHT NOW SOME OF WHAT I SEE THE GOVERNOR IS DOING DOES MAKE SENSE.

AGAIN, WE’RE BEHIND EVERYBODY ELSE.

HE’S FOLLOWING THE MODEL CALIFORNIA HAS PUT FORTH AND THEY’VE DONE MUCH BETTER, SO WE DO NEED TO OPEN SLOWLY BUT WE HAVE TO PAY A TTTEATTENTION.

WE CAN’T OPEN TOO FAST.

MAKES SENSE TO START OPENING PLACES AROUND NEW YORK CITY BUT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS BUDGET.

I’M CALLING ON SPEAKER CARL DON’T LET THE GOVERNOR GET AWAY WITH CUTTING ANOTHER $10 BILLION DOLLARS WITHOUT LOOKING AT REVENUE BASE.

WE ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

TO DEAL WITH CITY AND TO DEAL WITH STATE.

IF WE DON’T SEE REVENUE RAISES THAN WHAT WE THINK IS THAT THE PAIN THAT’S ABOUT TO COME, FINANCIALLY AND FISTICALLY IS NOT GOING TO BE EQUITABLE.

ALL WE WANT TO DO IS SEE EQUITABLE PAY AND US NOT FORGETTING ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH.

WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE NETWORK IS THERE FOR MENTAL HEALTH OR THERE’S GOING TO BE A PROBLEM.

ALL OF THE ISSUES THAT WE’RE RAISING, TWO IN PARTICULAR THAT MY OFFICE MASS HAS BEEN PUSHING AROUND HOMELESSNESS, HOUSING AND POLICING.

WE DEALT WITH THAT LONG AGO WE’D BE IN A BETTER PLACE.

THE CITY ADMINISTRATION WHEN IT COMES TO HOUSING THE HOMELESS, POLICING, THEY’VE NOT BEEN DOING WELL FOR QUITE SOME TIME SO WE REALLY HAVE TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE PROTECTIONS FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST VULNERABLE.

AMONG US.

WE HAVE TO TEST, AND WE HAVE TO DO CONTACT TRACING.

. WHEN WE DO THE CONTACT TRACING WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE DATA IS GOING TO BE SECURE AND NEVER USED FOR ANYTHING ELSE BESIDE CONTACT TRACING, AND MAKE IT SAFE.

WE DON’T PEOPLE MAY BE AFRAID TO FILL IT OUT WITH THEIR INFORMATION.

WE HAVE TO TEST, TEST AND CONTACT TRACE TO GET OUT OF THIS AND MAKE SURE THERE’S MONEY GOING TO THE COMMUNITIES THAT ARE HIT THE HARDEST.

WE HAVEN’T SEEN THAT.

WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CONTACT TRACING WHICH OF COURSE THE PRACTICE BY WHEN YOU’RE OPENING UP YOU TRY TO CONTACT THE PEOPLE, SOMEBODY TESTS POSITIVE AND YOU TRY TO TRACE THE PEOPLE YOU HAD CONTACT WITH, TEST THEM AND QUARANTINE THEM IF THEY’RE POSITIVE SO YOU CAN STOP THE SPREAD.

BUT YOU HAVE VOICE SOME CONCERN ABOUT THE CONTACT TRACING POLICY THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO IMPLEMENT.

WHY ARE YOU CONCERNED?

WELL, WE ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE DATA, RIGHT.

IF THE DATA — IF WE CAN’T TELL THE COMMUNITY IT IS SAFE TO PROVIDE YOUR DATA, THE FOLK WHO’S ARE MOST VULNERABLE WON’T FILL IT OUT AND WE HAVE REASONS TO BE AFRAID OF WHAT AGENCIES HAVE DONE IN THE PAST WITH THIS DATA.

I.C.E. FOR INSTANCE USED DATA TO GO AND KIDNAP PEOPLE FROM THEIR HOMES, SOMETIMES THEY USED METADATA, TO FIND OUT WHERE THESE PEOPLE WILL LIKELY BE.

SO WE WANT TO SAY GOOD FAITH, YOU FILL THIS OUT, BECAUSE PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE.

WE WANT A LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR AND MAYOR.

THE GOVERNOR’S RESPONSE REALLY FLIPPING.

SIMPLY SAY THIS IS GREAT, WE HAVE TO DO THIS, TO MAKE SURE THAT THE $10 BILLION FROM BLOOMBERG FOUNDATION AND THE GOVERNMENT ARE DOING THIS RIGHT.

SO THAT NO THIRD PARTY SHOULD HAVE EVER ACCESS TO THIS.

IT SHOULD BE HOUSED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND UNDER PLACE THAT’S HAVE TO FOLLOW HIPAA GUIDELINES.

AND AS TEMPTING AS IT COULD BE TO USE THIS DATA FOR OTHER THINGS, WE SIMPLY CAN’T.

BECAUSE THAT SLIPPERY SLOPE IS TOO DANGEROUS SOX WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE CAN TELL PEOPLE YOUR DATA OR CONTACT TRACING WILL NEVER BE USED FOR ANYTHING ELSE, JUST CONTACT TRACING.

THIS IS HOW LONG THE DATA WILL BE STORED FOR AND THEN IT WILL BE DESTROYED.

IF WE CAN’T ANSWER THOSE CONCERNS THEN PEOPLE WON’T BE ABLE TO TELL OTHER FOLKS TO FILL THIS OUT.

SO WE’RE HOPING TO HEAR BACK FROM THE GOVERNMENT HOW THESE ISSUES ARE GOING TO BE TIGHTENED UP.

REAL QUICKLY, YOU’VE BEEN CRITICAL OF THE MAYOR IN THIS INTER AND OF COURSE BEFORE THAT ABOUT THE POLICIES HE TOOK EARLY ON TO DEAL WITH CORONAVIRUS AND HIS POLICIES IN GENERAL DEALING WITH THE DIVIDE BETWEEN AFRICAN-AMERICAN, LATINOS, AND WHITE NEW YORKERS.

BUT HE DID SAY THAT WHEN THE CITY RECOVERS ECONOMICALLY, A RECOVERY IS NOT ENOUGH.

A TRANSFORMATION OF THE ECONOMY NEEDS TO TAKE PLACE IN ORDER TO HEAL AND END THOSE DIVIDES BETWEEN AFRICAN-AMERICANS, LATINOS AND WHITE NEW YORKERS.

DO YOU THINK HE’S ON THE RIGHT TRACK?

DO YOU GIVE HIM CREDIT FOR THAT?

I ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT FOR THE RIGHT WORDS.

I JUST WANT TO GIVE MORE CREDIT FOR ACTION.

AND IF THE ACTIONS ARE GOING TO BE ONLY WHAT WE’VE SEEN BEFORE COVID THAN I AM CONCERNED BECAUSE WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO REALLY CHANGE WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH HOMELESSNESS AND REALLY CHANGE WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH HOUSING.

WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY CHANGE WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH POLICING AND ADMITTEDLY WE HAVE MOVED IN CERTAIN AREAS EXCEPT FOR THE TWO BIGGEST ONES, TRANS IRNS — TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

IT’S JUST WORDS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, IF THERE’S ACTION BEHIND THE WORDS, OKAY.

THE BUDGET IS COMING IN JUNE THAT WILL BE A GREAT TEST TO SEE WHAT WE’RE HOPING FOR.

THERE’S A TASK FORCE ON DISPARITY THAT I’M WAITING TO HEAR BACK FROM.

THE FIRST LADY IS ONE OF THE CO-CHAIRS, THAT PROBABLY WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN MY FIRST CHOICE.

DEPUTY MAYOR THOMPSON IS A COCHAIR, I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HIM AND SEE WHO IS ON IT, WHAT THE TIMELINE IS, AND WILL IT EFFECT THE BUDGET IN JUNE.

SO, YES, I WILL SAY THIS, BERNIE DELEGATE.

ONE OF THE REASONS, JOE BIDEN SAID HE WANTS TO GO BACK TO A TIME BEFORE TRUMP.

WE ALL KNOW TIME BEFORE TRUMP DIDN’T WORK FOR VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK IN NEW YORK CITY.

SO THAT’S A PROBLEM.

WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE HOW WE APPROACH BUDGETING.

HOW WE APPROACH GOVERNMENT.

BECAUSE WE’VE NEVER BEEN EQUITABLE AND WE NOW HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY IN THIS HORRIFIC CRISIS TO MAKE SURE WE USE THIS CRISIS TO CHANGE HOW WE RUN NEW YORK CITY, HOW WE RUN NEW YORK STATE AND HOW WE RUN THIS COUNTRY AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE OLD LEADERSHIP FOR THAT AND AS OF YET HAVEN’T SEEN THAT, DEFINITELY HAVE NOT SEEN THAT FROM THE GOVERNOR.

WE HAVE LESS THAN THREE MINUTES LEFT, I’M GOING TO HAVE TO SKIP A LOT OF QUESTIONS BECAUSE I WANT TO GET TO THIS, HOW HAS THIS CRISIS AFFECTED YOU PERSONALLY?

UM — YOU KNOW, I ADMITTED A FEW DAYS AGO THAT IT’S BEEN TRAUMATIC, YOU KNOW, TRY TO GET THROUGH DAY-TO-DAY.

BUT THE TOLL OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LOSING THEIR LIVES STARTS GETTING AT YOU.

I TRY TO MAKE SURE WE TALK ABOUT THE 25,000 PEOPLE INDIVIDUALLY, NOT AS A LUMP SUM, 25,000 INDIVIDUAL NEW YORKERS, I THINK ABOUT MY SISTER — SHE’S A NURSE.

RIGHT NOW SHE’S IMMUNOCOMPRISED AND SO SHE’S DEALING WITH THAT AND YOU SEE COMMUNITIES RAVAGED BEING OVER RAN AND PEOPLE IN OTHER PLACES BEING SHOT AND KILLED JUST FOR JOGGING.

THAT’S GOING TO TAKE ITS TOLL.

SO, YOU KNOW, I REMAIN GRATEFUL THAT MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY IS OKAY.

WE HOLD ON TO THAT.

I’M VERY BIG MAN OF FAITH.

SO I HOLD ON TO THAT.

BUT YOU KNOW, I WANT TO JUST MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE OPEN AND HONEST ABOUT THE TRAUMA THAT MANY OF US ARE DEALING WITH RIGHT NOW.

I’M BLESSED BECAUSE I’VE SEEN THERAPIST FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS AND HELPS TO PROVIDE TOOLS TO DEAL WITH IT.

I’M CONCERNED ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE THAT ACCESS AND ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING WITHOUT THE TOOLS.

IMAGINE YOU DIVIDE THAT BY COMMUNITY AND THAT ALL OF US COULD BE CONCERNED.

WE HAVE JUST OVER A MINUTE LEFT.

YOU KNOW, AFTER 9/11, A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID NEW YORK IS GOING TO TAKE A LONG TIME TO COME BACK FROM THIS, IT MAY NEVER COME BACK IN MANY RESPECTS, WE’RE HEARING A LOT OF THE SAME THING ABOUT AFTER THE CORONAVIRUS.

BUT YOU KNOW, THOSE PEOPLE WERE WRONG.

WE DID COME BACK, PRETTY STRONGLY IN MANY RESPECTS, STILL HAVE OUR PROBLEMS, WHAT’S YOUR BEST GUESS, AFTER THE CORONAVIRUS, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS, IS NEW YORK CITY GOING TO COME BACK AS STRONG OR STRONGER OR ARE WE GOING TO HAVE PROBLEMS THAT ARE GOING TO LINGER.

IF YOU GO TO MY TWITTER WE HAD A VIDEO MONTHS AGO SAYING WHAT WE THOUGHT THE NUMBERS WERE GETTING IN, AND WE KNEW PEOPLE WERE AFRAID TO TELL NEW YORKERS WHAT’S THE WORSE THAT COULD HAPPEN.

WE SAID THEN I THINK WE HAVE TO TELL THEM BECAUSE THE NEW YORKERS I KNOW ALWAYS RISE TO THE OCCASION.

GIVE THEM INFORMATION AND THEY’LL ACT.

I EXPECT IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

I SEE THE BEST OF NEW YORKERS RIGHT NOW.

SO MANY THINGS WE’RE FOCUSED ON ARE THE SMALL GROUPS OF NEW YORKERS WHO JUST FOR SOME REASON HAVEN’T GOT THE MESSAGE YET.

THEY CAN MAKE IT HARD FOR THE REST.

BUT WE CAN’T IGNORE THE MANAGER OF NEW YORKER WHO’S ARE CHECKING IN WITH ONE ANOTHER.

SO I BELIEVE WE’LL GET THROUGH IT AS ONE NEW YORK TOGETHER.

THANK YOU SO MUCH PUBLIC ADVOCATE, AS ALWAYS IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY VISIT US ON METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT AND STAY SAFE.