New York City voters approved three ballot questions on Tuesday concerning race proposed by the city’s Racial Justice Commission.
Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio established the commission in 2021 as a “temporary appointed government body that is tasked with reviewing the entire City Charter and proposing amendments,” according to the commission’s 2021 final report.
One of the ballot measures approved in the Nov. 8 election creates a permanent Office of Racial Equity within the city government, along with a Racial Equity Commission to establish priorities and “review agency and citywide Racial Equity Plans.”
Another ballot measure added a preamble to the city’s charter stating that New York City “must strive to remedy ‘past and continuing harms and to reconstruct, revise, and reimagine our foundations, structures, institutions, and laws to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.’”
The third successful ballot measure proposed by the Racial Justice Commission mandates that the city draw up a yearly “True Cost of Living” measurement to look into the true cost of city living, including housing, childcare, food and other factors.
The commission promised to investigate “structural racism within NYC… to identify structural barriers facing Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and all People of Color (BIPOC*) in NYC and, based on community input, has put forward Ballot Questions aimed at eliminating barriers and promoting racial equity.”
In its “recommendations” section, it advocates for “public naming and acknowledgment of past harms and traumas” in the form of “public apologies, and reparative actions.” In creating the commission, de Blasio likened the commission’s role in NYC to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in Apartheid South Africa.
“That got to the whole impact that apartheid had on that society, and then talked about everything and acted on everything that needed to be different. Well, that’s what we are going to do here in New York City. We are going to systematically look at the history of racism in this city, the way it lives today, the structural and institutional reality of racism,” de Blasio said in 2021.
Fox News’ Thomas Phippen contributed to this report.