People's Agenda for a New Beginning

JFREJ History (Jan 2001–April 2001)

Following the election of Michael Bloomberg as New York City's mayor, community groups from across the city came together for a 100 day campaign to lay out a progressive agenda for a new New York. Our campaign statement:

On January 2nd, the first working day of the new Mayor and new City Council, over 150 of us gathered together for a People's Inaugural on the steps of City Hall to ask that very question, and to put forward A PEOPLE'S AGENDA FOR A NEW BEGINNING, urging the new administration to put the needs of our communities at the top of New York's agenda.

We were compelled to be out there because for too long we have been at the bottom of our government's priorities. Eight years of Giuliani wrecked havoc on the lives of New York's people of color, immigrant, youth, poor and working people, people living with AIDS, disabled, women, and LGBTST communities. During this time, intolerance, discrimination, and state violence grew, as did official indifference and inaction.

As we rebuild and regroup in the aftermath of September 11th we face an important crossroads: there has been massive turnover in the City Council and the election of a new mayor. We see the next few months as a unique opportunity to influence the course of the new administration.

At the People's Inaugural, we put Mayor Bloomberg on notice that he could not ignore our communities. Unfortunately, despite some positive signals from the administration early on, the Mayor's budget has taken an axe to programs that serve the most disenfranchised and disadvantaged. This has included over $700 million in direct service cuts. To date, he has failed to endorse demands by community and labor organizations for targeted tax increases to wealthy New Yorkers that could close this gap. Moreover he has embraced many of the deleterious "Quality of Life" policies of his predecessor, criminalizing whole populations in the guise of beautifying New York.

We are calling on the people of New York to come together. We are united around four basic demands: 1) Schools not Jails; 2) Jobs not Corporate Tax Breaks; 3) Social Services that Serve; and 4) Quality of Life for All Communities.

April 12th is the 100th day of the new administration. At this benchmark moment, we will come together with a People's Hearing and Party This People's Hearing will be held on Friday April 12th at 6:45pm in the ballroom of the North Academic Center of the City College of New York (138th St. and Convent Avenue in Manhattan).

We seek to accomplish several things on April 12th. First, we have invited City Council members and officials from the Mayor's office to hear directly from on-the-ground change-making organizations. There will be both prepared speakers and a period for testimonials from groups to speak about the first 100 days and their demands for change. And, we will have performances and opportunities for community building, as we build relationships and create links between our campaigns.


The People's Agenda for a New Beginning