Throughout our city’s history, Latino New Yorkers have been instrumental in building our economy, our infrastructure, our communities, and our culture. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every New Yorker, but the health crisis—and ensuing economic crisis—has fallen especially hard on Latino New Yorkers. From Corona, Queens to the South Bronx, Latino communities across New York have been battered by the pandemic, by job loss and by a lack of support and resources from the city government, all while so many Latino workers provided essential services to keep our city running in the midst of this deadly health crisis.
Maya Wiley is committed to making sure Latino voices are heard. She is committed to uplifting and supporting Latino communities, ensuring better public education, better healthcare resources, more job opportunities and better access to improved social services. She is committed to protecting and supporting immigrant New Yorkers, no matter their status, and ensuring that New York City becomes a safer, more inclusive, equitable city for all to live.
Reforming our Policing System and Putting the “Public” Back in Public Safety: Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a rise in gun violence and violent crime, particularly in communities of color. At the same time, we have also seen abuse, mistreatment, and over-policing of people of color, especially Latinos, at the hands of the NYPD. It is time to rein in the NYPD’s budget, redefine what policing is in our city and center our communities in our public safety efforts. Maya’s Plan for Creating Safe Communities and Transforming Policing:
- Invests in our communities by cutting at least $1 billion from the NYPD budget to fund investments in alternatives to policing.
- Protects immigrants’ civil and human rights by permanently removing the NYPD from immigration enforcement, particularly from sharing information on unauthorized immigrants with ICE after arrests.
- Embeds community in the core of public safety by expanding community-based violence interruption models and strengthening community engagement with the police, to build trust and develop a sense of shared responsibility between the NYPD and the communities they serve.
Supporting Immigrant New Yorkers and Reaffirming Our Sanctuary City: New York City is and always will be a city of immigrants. Our economy, our workforce, our culture, and our values as a city have always been defined by the millions who have come here to find a home and build a better life for themselves and their families. To reaffirm those values and ensure New York City remains a vibrant and safe home for all immigrants, Maya’s plan:
- Ends discriminatory policing policies that target Black and brown immigrant New Yorkers and fuel ICE’s deportation machine through the harrassment and detainment of undocumented immigrants.
- Enforce and create local immigration laws that prevent NYPD from sharing information on unauthorized immigrants with ICE after any arrests.
- Increases Action NYC’s budget to provide more funding to community-based nonprofits that offer legal services to immigrants, ending the immigration court logjam and providing immigrant New Yorkers the support and representation they deserve.
- Permanently removes NYPD from immigration enforcement, particularly from sharing information on unauthorized immigrants with ICE after any arrests. Maya will enforce local immigration laws, including the 2014 local detainer law, as well as the state ban of ICE agents in courthouses.
- Uses mayoral powers to create new immigration laws that ensure that New York City is truly a sanctuary city where all immigrants, no matter their legal status, feel safe.
- Appoints a civilian Police Commissioner who respects the contributions of NYC’s undocumented immigrants, prevents the department from collaborating with ICE, and directs City agencies to do everything legally in their power to avoid cooperating with ICE in any way.
Providing Accessible Social Services to Latino New Yorkers: Latino New Yorkers must have readily available access to programs and services they need in order to thrive, and those services must be provided to them in their first language—from education and care services to legal representation and healthcare. Maya’s plan:
- Dramatically increases funding for language services, so that every immigrant community has access to the City’s services, with special emphasis on adult literacy courses that have proven essential during the pandemic.
- Amends and expands Local Law 30 to include online resources and websites, so foreign language speakers have better access to important services, like COVID vaccination appointments, safety reopening guidelines for small business owners, and information on rent relief programs for our most vulnerable residents.
- Reforms our city’s care system through her Universal Community Care program, which invests in Community Care Centers in all five boroughs, provides an annual $5,000 to 100,000 of New York’s neediest families, and improves wages, benefits and protections for caregivers and care workers throughout our city, the vast majority of whom are Latina or women of color.
Create a Just, Vibrant School System that Serves All New York Children: Education is the key to opportunity. Right now, our public schools are underfunded and are undeserving communities of color, particularly Latino communities. We must reinvest in public education, providing essential language services and increasing the graduation rate among Latino and ELL students. Maya’s plan for a Just, Vibrant School System:
- Elevates parent and student voices with an active role in decision making, rebuilding the trust that was lost during the pandemic and a year of remote learning, especially within Latino communities.
- Invests $250 million to hire 2,500 new teachers, decreasing class size and focusing on providing every student the attention and support they need to thrive.
- Commits to prioritizing the specific needs of multilingual learners (MLLs) across our city who have been denied their legally mandated services and protections because of DOE mismanagement.
- Removes NYPD school safety officers from our public schools and refocuses on providing safe, supportive environments in which all students can grow and learn.
Guaranteeing health insurance and care to every New Yorker, no matter their income or immigration status. Every New Yorker, regardless of status, deserves access to affordable, quality health care. Currently, 600,000 New Yorkers have no health insurance. And—for those that have it— health insurance costs are one of the top three biggest expenses for City residents. Immigrant New Yorkers, especially those who are undocumented, are one of the most uninsured and underinsured groups in our city—at a time when people can least afford to lack health insurance. Half of our uninsured population are undocumented immigrants. Health care is a human right, and no one in NYC should die because they cannot afford health care. Maya’s Health Plan to Cover All New Yorkers will:
- Create the Universal Health Coverage Plan, a City-sponsored, privately managed health plan to offer affordable health insurance, regardless of income or immigration status, for uninsured New Yorkers.
- Repurpose City and State spending currently reserved for the uninsured and reduce costs by achieving administrative efficiencies, leveraging our relationships with private hospitals to reduce costs of care and services, and collecting affordable, sliding scale premiums, which would be no more than 10% of a family’s income, and free for anyone making $25,000 or less per year.
- Partner with CBOs and fund programming for culturally relevant organizations to conduct outreach, educate, and support enrollment for the City’s new health plan, and COVID vaccinations.
Establishing Universal Community Care: The past year has shown how essential our city’s caregivers and care workers truly are. It is time to recognize that care work is REAL work and it deserves the same level of pay, protections, and respect that any other profession demands. Immigrant New Yorkers—especially women—are critical to our care economy and must be centered as we recover from this pandemic. Maya’s Universal Community Care plan will:
- Build Community Care Centers in all five boroughs; community multi-service centers that house conventional community programs from health care, jobs and training programs, activities for seniors, school children and teens, counseling, social services, and cultural activities.
- Provide $5,000 care grants to 100,000 in-need New York families, providing financial support to those caring for their children or elderly parents and grandparents and lifting thousands of New York City children out of poverty.
- Grant more enforcement authority to the Paid Care Division of the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to ensure that care workers across the city are getting the pay, benefits, and protections they deserve.
Ensuring a Strong and Equitable Economic Recovery for ALL New Yorkers: The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, but Latino workers and small business owners have been hit especially hard. Nearly 1 in 6 NYC jobs lost during COVID was held by an undocumented worker, and foreign-born workers accounted for 54% of jobs lost during the pandemic. In order for our city to recover, that recovery must leave no one behind. Maya’s economic plan, New Deal New York:
- Makes a $10 billion investment to provide a shot in the arm of our City’s economy, putting residents back to work and investing in the future of our communities.
- Streamlines workforce development spending to ensure these new jobs go to the New Yorkers who need them most.
- Prioritizes procurement for all projects from local minority-owned businesses to support meeting aggressive goals, including industrial and manufacturing businesses. People of color represent 81% of New York City’s industrial and manufacturing workforce.
Support Latino-owned and immigrant-owned small businesses: Small businesses are the economic engine of our city, accounting for nearly half of our workforce and contributing billions annually to the city’s economy. Small businesses are of particular importance in Latino communities as job creators, contributors to economic development and social and cultural hubs for neighborhoods across our city. Maya’s Save our Small Business plan will:
- Put in place a comprehensive regulatory holiday to provide $100 million in City-level regulatory relief to individual small businesses.
- Launch a new $30 million Small Business Emergency Grant Program, targeting resources to achieve equity goals.
- Strategically allocate Emergency Grant Funds by prioritizing the zip codes hardest hit by the pandemic, most-distressed industries, and those who have not received adequate State, City, or federal pandemic-related aid.
- Secure a $7 million investment in locally-rooted and employee-centered small business ownership.
- Embrace street vendors as New York City’s smallest businesses, so they can grow and thrive by supporting and collaborating with the Street Vendor Project’s recently launched Small Business Consultation Program, which will provide Street Vendors with tools, resources, and skills to grow their businesses.
Ending Evictions and Ensuring Housing Justice: The pandemic exposed what New Yorkers have known to be true for a long time: we are in an affordability crisis in our city. Far too many New Yorkers—especially Latino New Yorkers—are struggling to pay their rent and nearly 400,000 families are on the verge of eviction right now. Latino New Yorkers have borne the brunt of both the health and housing crises brought on by the pandemic. 32% of our city’s homeless population are Latino New Yorkers and homelessness is growing among working class immigrant communities. Maya’s Plan to End Evictions and Ensure a Just and Livable NYC:
- Invest federal stimulus money in a direct rent relief program that will support tenants and small landlords, many of whom are immigrants and people of color.
- Usher in a new era of housing affordability by ensuring that the City only invests public money or land where there is a clear public benefit.
- Guarantee affordable rent for all individuals and families making 50% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), ensuring they do not pay more than 30% of their income on rent.
- Aggressively expand the City’s Rental Assistance program so it becomes an effective tool to ensure affordability long-term.
- Dramatically expand and preserve the supply of affordable housing in the city by building 100% permanently affordable housing on public land and use public funding as a tool to promote equity, not private benefit.
- Invest $2 billion to repair and reinvest in NYCHA as our city’s most reliable source of affordable housing for all.
Reopening and Reinvesting in Our City’s Arts and Cultural Institutions: The pandemic has battered our vibrant and essential tourism, arts and cultural sectors harder than any other industry, leaving thousands of artists, creators and arts workers without work for over a year. Latino artists and artists of color—who have historically been marginalized and neglected by our city’s mostly white institutions—have been impacted the most. To reopen and recover our city, we must support artists of color and rebuild a stronger, more equitable New York City arts sector for all. Maya’s plan to Revive Tourism, Arts and Culture:
- Invests $100 million dollars in a Creative Economy Recovery Program to put arts and culture workers back to work and help cultural institutions to recover.
- Launches the Council on Arts Revival with Equity (CARE), a council of of arts and culture workers, advocates, and community leaders, who will provide ongoing advice, council, and recommendations on how to ensure that the CIty’s recovery is inclusive of the needs of those working in the creative economy and that relief is being granted in a way designed to promote and foster equity in creative industries.
- Makes New York City a better place for artists and others in the cultural and tourism industries to live and work by protecting performing artists, working to diversity our arts institutions and expanding our Open Culture and Open Streets programs to provide more opportunities for artists living and working in underserved communities to perform and get paid for that work.
Maya understands that the key to our economic recovery and our moral progress as a city depends on uplifting and championing the needs of Latino New Yorkers. That is why she has been endorsed by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, former City Council Member James Vacca, the New York Working Families Party, Democracy for America, Make the Road, and many others.
Maya knows and celebrates the fact that, for generations, Latino communities have served as the very backbone of New York City. She believes it is time that work be recognized and respected. It is time for all Latino New Yorkers to have a mayor in City Hall who will champion their needs and center their voices.