April 26, 2020

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the creation of a task force focused on the racial disparities in COVID-19 impact as part of the response and recovery to this pandemic. The Public Advocate first called for the creation of the task force after the city released data showing the extent of the disparity in communities of more color. 

"I thank the Mayor for answering the call to confront the racial disparities exacerbated by COVID-19 with a task force of experts to rapidly implement an action plan in real time for both the immediate recovery and long-term response to this crisis in communities of more color. Who comprises this task force, how quickly they are empowered to act, and the force of that action are paramount. Throughout this crisis, our government has moved too slowly on all levels, and now we need to be quick and decisive. 

"The primary function of this task force cannot be to engage in a long, protracted process of deliberation and study, dwelling on how we got here. We know this disparity was created by a long history of systemic inequities and injustices. Additional delays waste time that the people being devastated by this crisis-- those who are deemed essential but treated as expendable-- just don't have. Ultimately, we need results, not a report, and the work of this task force must have a voice in and be supported by the city's budget. 

"I am glad, too, that the Mayor is asking for a preliminary roadmap to recovery - I ask him to review my own Preliminary Response and Recovery Plan, and look forward to working with the administration to create the changes this city needs in the midst and the wake of this crisis."


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