Mayoral front runners Kathryn Garcia, Eric Adams and Andrew Yang burst out of the rainy Memorial Day fog with calls to support the LGBTQ+ community, Asian Americans, and the city’s at-risk youth.
Garcia honored those activists who made LGBTQ+ rights a core part of the city’s culture. “This Pride month, we celebrate those enumerable contributions and the work of all organizers and people who help push for progress. And as New Yorkers,” Garcia said, “we recommit to working in solidarity to achieve true justice and equality for all, no matter your orientation, expression, or identity.”
Garcia said that under her administration, the city would address LGBTQ+ services, including mental health and homelessness. She vowed to partner with LGBTQ+ service organizations and would require cultural competency training for all City service providers, as well as a greater inclusion of LGBTQ+ civil rights in the education system.
“We will know we have succeeded only when every LGBTQ+ youth is safe, accepted, and given the housing and support they need to succeed as the person they truly are. We will know we have succeeded when every LGBTQ+ older New Yorker is aging in good health and happiness,” Garcia said. “And finally, we will know true success when our educational system shows LGBTQ+ individuals visibly and affirmed in our kids’ curriculum.”
Yang debuted a new campaign office in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn this morning, which has a large Asian American population. He spoke to the fears of the Asian community as racially-motivated violence has risen across the country.
“A woman was punched in the face just for being Asian, in downtown Manhattan. My wife and her friends,” said Yang, “in Hell’s Kitchen are having conversations about whether to buy pepper spray or mace, because there’s such a fear for their own safety. This is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, candidate Eric Adams visited the Spofford juvenile detention center — where he was sent as a teenager after being arrested and beaten by police — to detail his plan to improve outcomes for young people in the juvenile justice system.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” Adams said. “But cities cannot be about luck, they must be about opportunities.”
“The Spofford juvenile detention center was a symbol of what’s wrong with New York, and it will always be a reminder to me of how I started on my path to fixing this city. Because it was here — inside these walls as a juvenile — that I turned my pain into purpose,” Adams said. “I spent the night here as a 15-year-old, just hours after officers repeatedly beat me in the basement of the 103rd Precinct. But today I am running for mayor. And tomorrow I will be in City Hall. And I will be damned if another young man goes through what I went through without the help that a city should provide.”
Adams called for improved job opportunities for young people to help ensure they don’t fall into the justice system. His “Upstream Justice” plan includes youth employment programs year-round, internships, and fully funded programs to support those who age out of the foster care system.