Public Advocate's Statement On The Passing Of Former Mayor David N. Dinkins

November 24th, 2020

Press Release

"It's hard to adequately express the impact of the life and work of New York City's first Black Mayor, David Dinkins. The city benefited from his leadership, and so many Black New Yorkers benefitted from his pioneering example. For me, a young man when he was elected, he was inspiring- I could not be the fourth citywide Black elected leader if he were not the first. It was a privilege to have met and spent time with him, and it is an enduring honor to work in the building he did for so long, one that now bears his name.

"Mayor Dinkins assumed his role in City Hall and in history at a time when the city faced compounding crises of economic turbulence, racial injustice, and systemic failings in housing, policing, healthcare, and more. The Mayor sought to steer the city through the moment and move it forward. He took up that mission not with bombast or ego, but with deliberative determination to continue down the path of liberty, justice, and equity.

"He was a moral center for the city with a clear vision for a better New York. In creating the CCRB, in leading the Safe Streets, Safe City initiative, and in so many other areas, he paved the way for progress we would later see and which others would try to claim credit for. He took strong interest in uplifting and supporting young people like myself, and he focused on creating direct and indirect opportunities for growth that I and others now try to build upon. And for his work, he was mercilessly attacked and vilified by those who would rather stoke resentment than solve problems. Through all of the criticism, he continued to do the work he knew to be right. After he left office, he continued to be a pillar of leadership and a role model for people across the borough and the nation. 

"Losing Mayor Dinkins now, just weeks after his beloved wife Joyce, is a solemn moment of sorrow for our city. We owe him not only a debt of gratitude, but a commitment to try and realize his vision for what the gorgeous mosaic of New York City can be - uplifting each piece, and recognizing that it is at its strongest and most beautiful when the pieces are brought together, as was Mayor Dinkins' mission. His passing leaves a gap in that mosaic as New York feels a historic loss."

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