21 in 21 changes name and widens focus with launch of The New Majority NYC

21 in 21, The New Majority
Yvette Buckner announcing the organization 21 in 21 is rebranding as The New Majority on the City Hall steps. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
Photo by Ethan Stark-Miller

After far surpassing their goal of getting 21 women elected to the City Council last year, the organization 21 in 21 revealed Wednesday that it’s rebranding as The New Majority NYC and expanding its mission to get women elected to elected positions beyond the council including city-wide offices and borough president.

They also announced that it’ll be opening up its endorsement process for next year’s city council elections on Nov. 21. It’s up to the organization’s membership to decide which candidates it’ll endorse.

The reimagining of the organization’s mission comes after it not only met its titular goal of achieving gender parity on the council in 2021, but surpassed that benchmark by electing a 31-member women majority to the city’s legislature. The group is now shifting its focus to building upon its past successes, rather than just maintaining them.

While unveiling the rebrand on the City Hall steps Wednesday afternoon, the group’s Executive Board Chair Yvette Buckner said the question she was faced with most following 21 in 21’s success last year was “when are you gonna change your name?”

“After real deliberation and real thought, we wanted a name that represented not just our past but our future,” Buckner said. “We wanted a name that talks not just about the moment, but about the movement. We wanted a name that talks about a way to broaden our base. How to get things done.”

“This will help us usher in a new way of doing things,” she added. “Where 21 in 21 was singularly focussed on the City Council, this opens the doors for us to address the dearth of women elected officials and in leadership positions across the city.” 

Joining Buckner was The New Majority NYC Executive Director Jessica Haller, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and co-chairs of the council’s Women’s Caucus Amanda Farias (D-Bronx) and Farah Louis (D-Brooklyn).

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams with board members of The New Majority NYC, formerly 21 in 21, announcing the organization’s rebranding. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Photo by Ethan Stark-Miller.

Additionally, the group shared research on why so many women were able to get elected during the 2021 cycle conducted by the organization RepresentWomen. Haller said that research showed women candidates were successful because of a “dual-track approach” that combined election reforms like ranked-choice voting and the city’s matching funds program with candidate-level support from organizations like The New Majority NYC.

“There were two key takeaways from this research,” Haller said. “One, authentic gender representation is achievable in our lifetimes. Two, Achieving this representation requires a dual-track approach. We need both the system’s level democratic reforms and the direct   candidate supports. In the city, we have ranked-choice voting, the matching funds program, term limits and groups on the ground.”

The organization was founded in 2017 by former council members Elizabeth Crowley – who recently ran an unsuccessful state Senate campaign, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Margaret Chin with its sights set on electing at least 21 women to the body in 2021. Haller herself ran for a Bronx City Council seat in 2021 in a special election, but came up short, losing to the seat’s current occupant Eric Dinowitz.

Speaker Adams repeated what’s become a common refrain for the body’s first Black woman speaker, that having a woman-majority council has allowed for a focus on issues that were previously under looked, like abortion access and reproductive care.

“We won a historic 31 seats in the New York City Council, allowing women to achieve the representation in city government that we always strive for and that we deserve,” the speaker said. “The 31 women members who make up our majority come from every single photo representing all corners of our great city.”

“We are prioritizing the issues impacting women and families, communities that have gone unaddressed for far too long,” she added. “This is what women’s leadership looks like, ladies and gentlemen. And in this council we will not allow important issues regarding our city and communities to go overlooked any longer.”