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NYC mayor names panel to examine structural racism in city

March 23, 2021 Associated Press
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that he has appointed a commission to examine structural racism across the city and come up with a plan for dismantling it.

The 11-member racial justice commission, modeled on international examples like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, may propose changes to the city charter that would go before New Yorkers for a vote, de Blasio said at a virtual news briefing.

“We’ve never had a model for actually addressing structural racism, institutional racism, identifying it, acknowledging it, formally apologizing for it, weeding it out, eradicating it, making the policy changes, changing the laws, doing the things that actually will have a lasting impact,” the mayor said.

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The panel will be chaired by Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, and will include city officials as well as academics and community organization leaders.

De Blasio said the commission’s members will produce a report by the end of the year “determining what steps they’re recommending initially.”

The mayor, whose second and final term will end on Dec. 31, said he expects the panel’s work to continue under his successor, whoever that may be.

“There’s a lot to do here that could play out over multiple years,” he said.

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