This has been an incredibly painful week filled with constant reminders for why we are engaged in the struggle for liberation. We mourn the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and all of those that have lost their lives to police violence. Protests against the violent murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis were met with violent responses by the NYPD this weekend in New York City. The police response to our anger and pain is unjustifiable, and yet Mayor de Blasio defended and sided with police officers who rammed their car into a group of protesters this weekend.
Budgets are moral documents. New York City Schools are looking at cuts of over $700 million in the 2020-2021 budget and that means that during a pandemic, Mayor de Blasio is looking to cut essential staff, like school counselors, social workers and teachers and risk larger class sizes and reduced programming for students. It means Mayor de Blasio is choosing to balance the budget on the backs of Black and brown students.
In contrast Mayor de Blasio wants to expand the POLICE Department even as the Department of Education is facing a significantly disproportionate cut. The $6 billion NYPD budget is larger than Homeless services, Youth and Community Development, Housing Preservation and Development and Health budgets combined.
The Department of Education spends over $300 million on police in schools. The over reliance on the NYPD in schools has led to criminalization of Black and brown youth. It is not enough to simply cut the budget of the NYPD — the cost savings must be invested in our children by providing them with the high quality education they deserve.