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Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

As a resident of your state from 2003-2006 I saw first hand the racial and socioeconomic divide that has been created by the institution of New York State. I lived in Buffalo, on Brantford Street, and fell in love with the city and its culture to be honest. But, with a degree in Sociology, I could not help but take notice of the inequalities as they arose. I was optimistic, I was hopeful, I worked in Higher Education (at the private level) speaking with parents of High School students often. During that time I also traveled all around the state including trips to your city at least every 3 months: your city is divided much like your state with invisible lines of race and class. I listened to stories of racial inequalities and saw your dysfunctional public school systems making it almost impossible for your High School Graduates to attain a private college degree when compared to the rest of the country.

In the world we live in today, where Hate Crimes are consistently on the rise in your city, and where the victims are being arrested for fighting back, where nothing is being done to the attackers: you must raise the youth prosecution age. What you are looking at is an example of systemic racism, and you are condoning imprisoning 16 year old children for standing up to their attackers. You are allowing the disabled children who are being abused to be found to be somehow in violation of the law and arrested. What must it feel like to be a child in your city.

Worse still you continue to utilize Rikers Island to imprison these minors, holding them in an adult prison, for petty crimes, and sentencing them to a life they cannot escape should they be allowed to leave. Once in the system, no matter what the circumstance, it is almost impossible for these youth to recover. Instead of support, you provide them with adult criminals, instead of justice, you enslave, instead of compassion, you steal a life that is already stacked against them turning it into something unjustifiable. And for what?

In your school systems White children have been studied to test at least 3 grades ahead of their latino and black classmates in less affluent districts. The poorer a district, the lower the grades, and the less white students. Did you know that students who test at 6 grades lower than their counter parts are more likely to drop out of school? Did you know that these children have real life struggles with hunger, gangs, safety, and may not have father figures because they got taken into your jail system for minor offenses as well? When will you break the cycle?

I’m asking that you not only discontinue use of Rikers Island, Raise the Age of Adult Prosecution from 16 years of age, but also that you prosecute NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. In allowing another NYPD officer to go back to duty, who used a banned chokehold to murder Eric Garner, you send a clear message to your residents: the only color that matters in your city is White. Your Broken Windows Policing continues to be the policy of the city and falls on the backs of the poor and people of color. When you continue to employ methods of oppression in your policies that are too similar to Stop and Frisk, then you enable your Police Staff to do harm by targeting minorities in anointed rich neighborhoods and designate their mere presence as an offense jail worthy for anyone 16 and up. This is not acceptable. If you represent the people as you say you do, and if you are seeking to provide more equitable governance, then you must make the changes outlined above. Otherwise, New York will continue to be no different than your only counterpart in the nation with the same legal age to prosecute: North Carolina.

Hecho en Los Angeles 
Los Angeles, CA
90001

 

Grave disparity in national testing across the nation by race and class: New York Times 2016Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.10.08 PM.png

 

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