People’s Budget NYC: Defund the NYPD & Invest in Our Communities

Image is an illustration of a city with two skyscrapers, a hospital, a brownstone, and a smaller house nestled on top of mounds of dirt. The mounds of dirt have grass and roses growing out of it, as well as fallen coins. The bottom right corner has a broken police badge that says NYPD. The bottom left corner has a broken robot police dog in the dirt. Above the city there are two upside down broken piggy banks wearing police hats with coins, bills of money, and other objects like apples, carrot,

Why we need a People’s Budget

New York City is still grappling with a pandemic that has devastated Black, working class, and impoverished communities — the ones that were already vulnerable due to systemic racism, and decades of divestments from the public services and programs they rely on. Millions of New Yorkers are struggling with limited access to healthcare and education, housing and food insecurity, job loss, and despair while hedge fund billionaires and luxury real estate magnates grow wealthier. New Yorkers need these investments into social services and programs more than ever.

What’s in People’s Budget NYC

We are calling for an immediate, dramatic reversal of New York City’s priorities in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and beyond. This document focuses on using existing City funds and changing policy under the purview of the City government, but acknowledges that action is required from every level of government — City, State, and Federal:

  • Building Strong, Healthy and Just Communities: Robust community investments that will prevent crime from happening in the first place: public health and community services, funding good jobs, dignified housing, healthcare, child and elder care, mental healthcare, education, transit access, food security, and free time for culture and community for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, and not just those who are able-bodied

This is an achievable vision for New York City

This is a bold, yet viable, vision. Study after study shows that a living wage, access to holistic health services and treatment, educational opportunity, and stable housing are more successful in reducing crime than more police or prisons. Divesting from police, prisons, and other systems of surveillance and punishment and investing into communities will be what truly keeps New Yorkers safe and healthy.

A map of New York City’s city council districts, with each district numbered. Text overlayed on the map says “Distribution of candidates with platform or statements supporting “Defund-style” policies i.e., budget justice, “reallocation”, divest/invest, etc. Districts are colored white or various shades of blue depending on number of candidates that in that district have Defund-style policies. Most of Manhattan, North/Central Brooklyn, and Western/Central Queens are shaded blue.
A map of New York City’s city council districts, with each district numbered. Text overlayed on the map says “Distribution of signatures for the NYC public safety pledge as of 5/31/2021”. Districts are colored white or various shades of red depending on number of candidates that in that district who signed pledge. All five boroughs have colored in districts, with Upper Manhattan ,North/Central Brooklyn and Western Queens having more coverage.

What’s next

We can build this New York City now. Cities across the country are moving toward this abolitionist horizon: organizers in Los Angeles got a measure passed that requires the county invest 10% of its general funds into social services and programs, not policing or prisons, every year in perpetuity; groups in Austin successfully pressured their city council to vote to cut money from police budgets and invest those funds into permanent supportive housing for unhoused folks; community organizations in Oakland got cops out of their schools and redirected those funds towards counselors, social workers, and other student support services and programs.

Racial Justice Working Group is part of the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Follow us as we #DefundNYPD and refund the people.

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