Maya's Plan to Support Our City's Youth

When we talk about young New Yorkers, we are talking about the future of this city.

In addition to being a civil rights attorney, champion for racial and social justice, veteran of City Hall and the New School, and a candidate for mayor of New York City, Maya Wiley is the mom of two teenage daughters. She knows how important young New Yorkers are to the future of this city, and uplifting young voices and ensuring a vibrant, safe and just future for the next generation of our city is one of the fundamental reasons Maya is running for mayor.

From fighting to improve civic participation and engagement to ensuring our city’s future through climate resilience and green infrastructure, Maya stands ready to advocate for younger New Yorkers and address their needs, not in some distant future, but right now. She is ready to partner with young leaders and youth organizations and fight for the progressive, inclusive future that the next generation deserves.

Elevating Young Voices in Decision-Making: Maya Wiley knows that in order for our needs to be addressed, they must first be heard. Far too many young New Yorkers have been left out of the political process and face barriers to engaging in activism, government, and political dialogue.  Despite these institutional challenges, we have seen in recent years a huge groundswell of youth activism on issues ranging from climate change to police violence and racial justice. Maya knows it is about time to hear from young New Yorkers, implement their policy ideas, and empower them with a real seat at the table. Maya’s plan to improve youth engagement is grounded in giving students a clear voice within the education system. Maya will:

  • Advocate to amend the state law to give students voting power on existing and new committees and governance bodies, including CCECs and the PEP, increase the number of students on these bodies, and devise a transparent and fair process for appointing or electing them.
  • Create youth steering boards for every city agency that works with youth to meet with the agency head monthly with questions, needs, and ideas.
  • Value and empower youth agency by giving NYC public school students press passes for the Mayor’s briefings.
  • Incorporate the ‘5Rs of Real Integration’ framework developed by the students of IntegrateNYC: Race and enrollment, Resource allocation, Real relationships, Representative staff and faculty, and Restorative justice.
  • Give parents and students a greater role in school governance by granting more power to School Leadership Teams (SLT). SLTs will have a greater role in not only approving but crafting the school budget.  Members will receive more technical assistance and training to empower this decision making.

Enacting a Community-First Climate Action Plan: Young people across our city and across the world recognize that climate change is an existential threat and have a vested interest in ensuring they have a safe and thriving planet on which to live. Young people in marginalized communities across New York City also have a vested interest in ensuring they have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and neighborhoods free of pollution and streets safe from coastal flooding and other environmental challenges. Maya’s Community-First Climate Action Plan will fight for environmental justice and fight against the acceleration of climate change by:

  • Investing in climate infrastructure development and resiliency planning processes that improve quality of life; and
  • Developing equitable adaptation measures for both social and built infrastructure, with a focus on environmental justice communities, which experience disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards and increased vulnerability to those hazards and are primarily low-income and communities of color; and
  • Pursuing ambitious mitigation targets in our building, transportation, and waste sectors, including by matching or surpassing the State mandate for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040; and
  • Create a new NYC Green Future Force that will place high school seniors and young graduates for up to a year with City agencies and nonprofits doing sustainability and resiliency work, from maintaining our parks to improving our food system.
  • Partner with NYC’s ecosystem of green employers, workforce development programs, CUNY, and organized labor to provide training, networking, and other professional development opportunities to Force members that set them up for high-quality career pathways after their service.
  • Partnering with environmental justice communities, organizations, and other community-based organizations, such as mutual aid groups, throughout our work.

Rebuild our City’s Economy for Future Generations: Young people are stepping into a job market crippled by unemployment and lack of opportunities. We have to rebuild our city’s economy and provide jobs for the thousands of NYC young people graduating from high school or college and ready to start their careers. And we must center that economic recovery on industries that prioritize innovation, climate resiliency and good-paying, dependable jobs. Maya’s New Deal New York plan will jumpstart our city’s economy by:

  • Investing $10 billion in a Works Progress Administration-style infrastructure, stimulus and jobs program, providing a shot in the arm of our City’s economy–putting residents back to work and investing in the future of our communities; and
  • Centering those investments on $3 billion in climate infrastructure as well as $2 billion in digital and physical infrastructure; and
  • Creating up to 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. 30,000 will be new jobs through projects that will employ artists, construction, technology, and engineer workers, along with approximately 70,000 indirect jobs for childcare workers, librarians, home healthcare workers, and manufacturers; and
  • Enhancing and expanding opportunities and protections for gig and freelance workers, so many of whom are younger workers; and
  • Supporting and centering our city’s unions in our economic recovery efforts, targeting job creation for union jobs and providing support and solidarity to labor unions in all negotiations with employers and with the city.

Creating a Just, Vibrant School System: Every mother deserves to know that their children are going to schools that are well-funded, well-equipped and ready and willing to provide the support, resources and culturally responsive education every child deserves. This past year has been difficult for parents, students and teachers and we cannot afford to lose a generation of NYC children. Maya’s plan to create a Just, Vibrant School System will:

  • Elevate parent and student voices, giving them an active voice in decision-making while working to establish trust between parents and the Department of Education, especially within communities of color; and
  • Create a Commission on School Governance that includes parent, student and community representatives so that everyone has a seat at the table on issues of performance, accountability, and reform; and
  • Allocate $250 million to hire 2,500 new teachers in an effort to rebuild our city’s schools in the wake of the pandemic, reduce class sizes, and ensure that every NYC student gets the care, attention and support they need; and
  • Reform our school safety policies, moving away from punitive measures and focusing instead on creating safe, supportive environments for students to learn,by removing the NYPD and metal detectors from our schools and ending discriminatory disciplinary practices that target students of color and fuel the school-to-prison pipeline; and
  • Commit to providing free unlimited MetroCards for all NYC public school students; and
  • Commit to funding Ethnic Studies courses, trauma-informed care and culturally responsive pedagogy in all NYC middle and high schools that include intersectional topics such as Black LGBTQ history, and ensure schools have the resources needed for these courses; and
  • Fully fund arts education and arts programs city-wide; and
  • Commit to a fully-funded CUNY system, so that every New York City student has access to quality, affordable college education no matter their economic status.

Creating Safe Communities and Transforming Policing: Last summer, young New Yorkers led the way in protesting police violence in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, and they continue that fight a year later. After generations of police violence targeting Black and brown children in our city, it’s time to transform the system and commit to REAL solutions for public safety. Everyone deserves to walk our streets in peace and every child in our city—no matter their age or race—deserves to feel safe because of—and safe from—the NYPD. Maya’s plan to Transform Policing and Public Safety will:

  • Address the root causes of crime, focusing our efforts and investments on improving opportunities for all New Yorkers by addressing poverty, unemployment, homelessness, lack of access to education, to mental health care and affordable housing; and
  • Divest $1 billion from the NYPD budget and use those funds to invest in communities impacted by violence and crime, seeking alternative methods of policing through community engagement, job opportunities and training and increased mental health resources for communities impacted by gun violence.
  • Embed community in the core of the NYPD, empowering community organizations to address crime, building trust between the NYPD and the communities they are meant to serve and developing a sense of shared responsibility in public safety.
  • Appoint a civilian police commissioner and truly empower civilian oversight to bring real transparency and accountability to policing in this city.

Establishing a Women’s Agenda: This past year, women left the workforce in droves and were often forced to choose between going to the office and caring for their families. In December, employers cut 140,000 jobs with women accounting for all losses. Because of their overrepresentation in caregiving fields, Black and Latino women were disproportionately impacted. We cannot allow young women in our city to achieve or expect less than the generation that came before them. Now is the time for young women to reach even higher heights. Maya’s Women’s Agenda will fight for the needs of young women by:

  • Creating a Universal Community Care model for New York City that prioritizes young mothers in need of support and resources, as well as the tens of thousands of women across New York who make their living by caring for others; and
  • Establishing maternal health as a mayoral priority, directing funding to all city-run hospitals to build birthing centers and expand maternal health services.
  • Investing $7 million in locally-rooted, MWBE-owned small businesses, focusing on increased ownership opportunities for women to take on both the racial and gender wealth gap in our city.
  • Ensuring that capital investments go directly to driving new employment opportunities for underserved groups, especially women, through targeted hiring and job creation.

Ending the Surge in Gun Violence: As a mother herself, Maya Wiley understands the fear that far too many New York City mothers feel when their children leave the house. Will they be safe on the streets? Will they be safe in their classroom? The epidemic of gun violence in our city rivals that of COVID as an urgent and tragic health crisis. Maya’s Plan to End Gun Violence will:

  • Empower and support communities who have been directly impacted to point to innovative and targeted solutions to gun violence that reflect their local conditions and experiences; and
  • Recognize that gun violence is linked to a lack of educational and employment opportunities and increase access to these opportunities; and
  • Launch and expand evidence-based therapeutic supportive programs to reduce gun violence; and
  • Double the number of slots allocated in the Summer Youth Employment Program, resulting in 10,000 slots designated for young people at highest risk of being involved in gun violence; and
  • Launch Citywide Safe Corridors, focusing on preventing and interrupting crime and violence that occurs in the hours before and after school; and
  • Create and expand priority placements for youth and young adults at risk in communities experiencing high rates of gun violence in existing workforce development and education programs.

Maya Wiley understands that younger New Yorkers are the key to our city’s future. This generation has borne witness to the 9/11 attacks, an economic crisis, the emergence of a climate crisis, and a global pandemic, and they have emerged as an engaged, active, bright and hopeful force. As mayor, Maya Wiley will work to create a New York City that future generations can be proud of, because she will prioritize the needs of young people and empower them to have a real say in this city’s future.