Hawkins Calls for Action on Desegregation in Westchester, Statewide

Hawkins Calls for Action on Desegregation in Westchester, Statewide

Hawkins Calls for Action on Desegregation in Westchester, Statewide

While Governor Cuomo and his Republican challenger exchanged barbs over a housing discrimination case in Westchester County, Green Party gubernatorial candidate announced two measures he would take as Governor to desegregate New York's housing and schools, which are the most segregated in the nation by both race and income.

“I will establish a cabinet-level Civil Rights Department to strengthen enforcement fair housing and anti-discrimination laws and initiate a new public housing program to build in both the cities and the suburbs humanly-scaled, scatter-site, mixed-income, clean energy public housing developments that will improve the quality of life in any community in which they are built,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said that Astorino is wrong to resist HUD's 2009 fair housing settlement in Westchester County, but that Cuomo has been wrong as well for doing nothing to desegregate New York.

“The enforcement of civil rights in the education, housing, and labor departments of state government has taken a back seat to other missions assigned to these departments,” Hawkins said. “The result has been a steadily growing increase in segregation of housing and schools by both race and class since the 1960s in New York. We are now shamefully the most segregated state in the nation. We need a cabinet-level Civil Rights Department to focus on this problem. It should constituted as a law enforcement agency with an independent funding source and the power to streamline procedures and cut across government agency jurisdictions to get the job done.”

“Enforcement of anti-discrimination laws is not enough to desegregate New York. It has taken decades of discrimination to build the segregated housing and schools we now have in New York. We need to pro-actively open up housing and schools to diverse populations. The new public housing program I propose is needed to begin desegregating our residential patterns. It will also serve as a jobs program, an affordable housing program, and a clean energy program,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins has a plank on Civil Rights and Racial Justice in his platform that addresses these issues in more detail at www.howiehawkins.org/platform.

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