Four Actions: Accountability in NYC and NYS in support of #blacklivesmatter
The last few days have been a resurgence of sadness and frustration. A big part of the frustration is not feeling like there is anything that we can do as individuals, beyond being allies, joining protests, and donating to support organizations.
I would like to suggest that you can take 20 minutes this week to do 4 tangible things. These are easy but you will have to PICK UP THE PHONE and ORGANIZE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES.
When I do this, I am going to say that my name is Ritik Dholakia, I am a 20 year resident of Brooklyn and a business owner employing 10 people in New York City.
You can frame or introduce yourself as you see fit.
Let’s make clear that the people who are angered and outraged by both systematic racism and the response of the NYPD can NOT just be discounted as “fringe” or “marginalized.”
It is US, the citizens and tax payers of NYC and we demand that our institutions be accountable to us, on behalf of our fellow citizens, to become a more just city.
Action 1: Repeal 50A
Call your state assemblyman, senator, and Governor Cuomo’s office and demand the repeal of state law 50-A, which allows for the police to hide police records. See below for information, but you can simply call or email and say:
Hi, I am a resident of Brooklyn, a business owner, and a concerned citizen. The actions of the NYPD this weekend have been unacceptable, and we need to change laws that don’t allow us to hold bad cops accountable.
I am contacting you to urge you to pass the bill to repeal 50-a (A2513/S3695) carried by Senator Bailey and Assemblyman O’Donnell. In light of the recent police violence in New York, we are counting on the legislature to move this critical police transparency measure. Will you commit to repealing 50-a? Thank you for your time.
You can read more here:
You can easily find contact information for your city and state representatives here:
Here are call scripts with phone numbers and emails:
Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins
Call #2: Speaker Heastie
And more here:
Action 2: Mayor and Police Commissioner accountability & commitment to Black Lives Matter
Call Mayor de Blasio’s office and police Commissioner Shea’s office and tell that that the conduct of the NYPD and the public statements of the mayor and commissioner have been unacceptable.
Here is what the Police Commissioner said:
To reach them, call press officers in their staff. Here are some easy numbers.
Hi, I am a resident of Brooklyn, a business owner, and a concerned citizen. The tactics and tone of the NYPD this weekend as we have protested and raised awareness of police abuse has been absolutely unacceptable. As a business owner, I am losing confidence in the NYPD and police and mayoral leadership. You need to hold officers who are beating civilians accountable and we need different policies and budget priorities. We need to fund schools, jobs, health care workers, and stop over-policing and militarizing our city. Please convey that message to the mayor and police leadership. Thank you.
Press Secretary, Mayor’s Press Office
Emma Wolfe, Chief of Staff at New York City Mayor’s Office
Assistant Commissioner of External Affairs, NYPD
Tell them “what I’d like to see is the mayor, the commissioner, and other police leaders” standing in solidarity with protestors against police violence, and that officers who have been initiated physical altercations with the public in protests must be held accountable.
We must all call to show how absolutely unacceptable this has been.
Can our city leadership be different? Here are examples from Baltimore, Camden, NJ, Flint, MI, and Santa Cruz:
Action 3: New York Budget Justice
Call your city council member and City Council speaker Corey Johnson and demand that they prioritize social services, youth employment, education, and housing in the FY21 budget that needs to be approved this month.
Be specific that you think if we need to make funding cuts, we should be cutting funding for police before we cut social services. Ask them to record your comment & how you can follow up to make sure the budget reflects the priority of our community.
Hi, I am a resident of Brooklyn, a business owner, and a concerned citizen. The tactics and tone of the NYPD this weekend as we have protested and raised awareness of police abuse has been absolutely unacceptable. As a business owner, I am losing confidence in the NYPD and police and mayoral leadership. You need to hold officers who are beating civilians accountable and we need different policies and budget priorities. We need to fund schools, jobs, health care workers, and stop over-policing and militarizing our city. Fund social services, fund health care, fund housing. We don’t need disproportionate funding for police. Thank you.
NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson
City Hall Office
New York, NY 10007
Director, Mayor’s Office of Management & Budget
Communications Director, Mayor’s Office of Budget
Learn more here:
Action 4: Corporate Leadership & Accountability
If you work for a larger company, organize with your co-workers to do this simple thing.
All of you email or sign a letter to your CEO and VP of Marketing and tell them that you would like a town hall to understand what your company is doing to hold New York City and State accountable on issues of police reform and social justice.
If you work at Google, write something like this.
Hello, we the undersigned colleagues work at Google in NYC. We have been heartbroken and disgusted about the police response in New York City to people exercising their right to peaceful protest. Google thrives in New York City because it is a diverse city. That is why we are here.
We need to be better corporate citizens, and that means holding the city and state accountable. We need to go beyond making PR statements and donations, and actually re-align the state’s legislative and budgeting priorities in support of justice. We would like a town hall forum to discuss what we can do to work for a more just New York City and state.
Get 20–30–50–1000 of your colleagues to sign. Be bold.
If they ask what they can do, please direct them to actions 1, 2, and 3 above.
THIS MIGHT BE UNCOMFORTABLE. But this is a tiny step if you want to use your privilege and do the work.
Mara Gay’s opinion piece in NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/opinion/george-floyd-new-york-protests.html?smid=tw-share
James Baldwin’s 1968 interview: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a23960/james-baldwin-cool-it/
Interview with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams:
Barack Obama’s post on making real change: