‘If You Are Here, You Are A New Yorker’ & More From Viverito’s State Of City Address

(Photo via NYC Council/twitter)

Today, New York City Council Speaker gave her final, rousing State of the City address at the historic Kings Theater in Flatbush.

Beginning with the council’s record, Viverito applauded programs and legislation that strengthened NYC’s criminal justice system, neighborhood community policing, youth jobs and more.

“This city council has done more to support immigrants in any other city in the nation,” said Viverito, including passing a city law limiting Federal immigration enforcement, banning ICE from Rikers island. The Council has also increased free legal for immigrants and created IDNYC.” (Read more about 2016 city council initiatives here.)

And for the last 10 months together, the speaker introduced goals to strengthen criminal justice reform, protect immigrants, create sex ed programs in schools, and enhance women’s reproductive rights — for all New Yorkers.

“If you live here, work here, or send your child to school here, you are a New Yorker. No wall or executive order can change that,” she said.

In case you missed it, check out some highlights from her speech below:

(Photo via Jackie Primeau/ twitter)

Criminal Justice Reform: The punishment must fit the crime”

  • Pass legislation requiring the dept. of corrections to accept bail requirements immediately and release inmates within a few hours of posting bail. The goal is to “cut red tape, remove inefficiencies, and stop the churn of detainees — especially young men of color — from unnecessary and harmful incarceration,” said the speaker.
  • Create programs to redirect low-level offenders to treatment centers instead of jail and prosecution. “Jail is not the answer to addition,” said the speaker.
  • The City Council renews its demand for State legislature to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old. “16- to 19-year-olds are at a crucial age of development, just one visit toRikerss can lead to a cycle of recidivism for which they can’t escape,” said the speaker.
  • The Council will work with District Attorneys across the city to clear low-level summons warrants that are 10 years or older, cutting down the 1.5 million outstanding summons warrants for minor offenses.

Immigrant services and support: “Together, we will build our own wall of resistance against destructive immigration enforcement policies.”

The speaker announced a sweeping package of legislation to protect immigrants in NYC, including:

  • Blocking ICE from private areas, city property, and offices where New Yorkers receive social services.
  • Restrict ICE access to students and student records, and train parents on protecting their families.

  • No officers can act as ICE agents and enforce immigration law.
  • Pass legislation to create a city alternative to the State Penal Law Disorderly Conduct Provision.
  • Create a watchdog team monitor changing federal laws, and a system to limit person info collected by the city and impose strict guidelines for what the city will disclose to federal officials.
  • Increase support for legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and establish at least one immigrant family resource center in each borough.

Legislative leadership:

  • In April, the NYC City Council will lead a first-of-its-kind gathering of council members across the nation to address issues from immigration to technology to criminal justice reform.
  • The Council will prepare a nationwide convening of ‘sanctuary cities’.

Education reforms: “A commitment to culturally responsive education, better sex ed, and addressing chronic overcrowding”

  • Invest half a million dollars in critically conscious educator’s program, to increase the number of teachers with culturally responsive and train teachers on discussing race in the classroom.
  • Partner with organizations to combat cyberbullying crisis.
  • Introduce comprehensive sex education for all students in all grades. Task force to consult with health experts, parents, and teachers to expand this program in public schools.

Women’s rights: “We will not let the federal government dictate what happens to our uteruses”

  • Introducing an “aggressive new campaign to defend a woman’s constitutional right to make decisions about her own body.”
  • Make sure health plans cover contraception without copays and give women access to free birth control regardless of their health plan.
  • Renewing our call for State legislature to pass the Reproductive Health Act, “protect a woman’s decision making power over her own body and not accept the destruction of this basic human right.”
The Kings Theater (Photo via Donna Cirolia/twitter)

Enhance city services: “Food wasted each year would fill at least 100 subway cars each day”

  • The City Council calls for a $14 million increase in baseline funding for emergency food programs and renews the call for universal free lunch in NYC public schools.
  • Pass legislation for a citywide portal to connect food rescue organizations with food disposers.
  • Legislation that reduces fines for small businesses, and give building owners the opportunity to make energy efficient improvements instead of paying fines.

Tenants rights: “Most tenant harassment goes unchecked because it’s hard to prove in court”

  • Introduce legislation that places the burden of proof on landlords in cases of tenant harassment in housing court, to strengthen residential tenant harassment laws.
  • Give tenants who win in housing court the right to collect fair damages.
  • Look at how landlords use construction work to push tenants out of their home, provide legal representation to prove legal representation to all low-income New Yorkers in housing court.
  • Bring urban farms to more public housing developments. Support expansion of business development programs for NYCHA residents.