Ballot Proposals

BALLOT PROPOSALS

Three proposals will be added to the ballot in November 2022. Learn more about what the Commission is proposing.

The Racial Justice Commission is pleased to submit three proposals to the New York City voters.

In the face of centuries-long structural racism, the Commission set out to propose changes to the New York City Charter that would set the City on a new direction, one where our City government’s very foundations support the wellbeing of all communities and neighborhoods, correcting longtime unjust decisions that deprive and marginalize groups without power. On this new path, the City’s focus on justice would remedy those patterns of inequity New Yorkers presented to the Commission as being ever-present in their lives. 

Commissioners intend that the three proposals form a seed whose roots will grow over time, knitting together a new soil for an equitable society. Rather than many new policies or mandates, the reader will instead find a new government structure that will spur the creation of new policies and instigate implementation of new ideas over time.

For the first time, there will be a statement of foundational values, placing New Yorkers at the heart of the government’s purposes and goals.

The proposals are actions and steps toward justice. For the first time, the City will be required to create a comprehensive strategy to improve justice, equity, and fairness. The proposals include the creation of an agency that will be authorized and charged with pushing all agencies toward solutions that interrupt and reverse the ways communities become oppressed, marginalized, and disempowered.

The proposals are accountability. The City will be required to provide data so the public can see whether the City’s promised strategies and spending actually shrink the gap in wellbeing caused by structural racism. The proposals include the creation of a commission to bring in community members’ voices and report to the public on the City’s performance in this reconstruction process.

Together, the proposals bring new power, access, and opportunity to BIPOC New Yorkers. They create lasting capacity and accountability to maintain momentum over the decades.

The proposals lay a route towards racial equity for elected leaders in the administrations to come. They invite New Yorkers to have voice in their government, one which will prioritize the decisions that matter across New York communities, especially for those who have the least access, rather than decisions that accommodate people who already have power and wealth.

On November 8, 2022, New Yorkers like you will be able to decide what your city’s foundation should look like.

Proposal 1

Summary of Proposed Charter Amendment

The Commission’s first proposal is to add a preamble to the NYC Charter.  The New York City Charter does not currently have a preamble. Adding a preamble would allow New Yorkers to adopt a vision and statement of foundational values intended to guide City government in fulfilling its duties. the New York City Charter

Proposed Ballot Text

Ballot Question #1: Add a Statement of Values to Guide Government

This proposal would amend the New York City Charter to: 

Add a preamble, which would be an introductory statement of values and vision aspiring toward “a just and equitable city for all” New Yorkers; and

Include in the preamble a statement that the City must strive to remedy “past and continuing harms and to reconstruct, revise, and reimagine our foundations, structures, institutions, and laws to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.” 

The preamble is intended to guide City government in fulfilling its duties. 

Shall this proposal be adopted?

Read the ballot proposal abstract»

Proposal 2

Summary of Proposed Charter Amendment

The Commission’s second proposal is to create an Office of Racial Equity, require Racial Equity Plans, and form a Commission on Racial Equity.

Proposed Ballot Text

Ballot Question #2: Establish a Racial Equity Office, Plan, and Commission

This proposal would amend the City Charter to:

Require citywide and agency-specific Racial Equity Plans every two years. The plans would include intended strategies and goals to improve racial equity and to reduce or eliminate racial disparities; 

Establish an Office of Racial Equity and appoint a Chief Equity Officer to advance racial equity and coordinate the City’s racial equity planning process. The Office would support City agencies in improving access to City services and programs for those people and communities who have been negatively affected by previous policies or actions, and collect and report data related to equity; and

Establish a Commission on Racial Equity, appointed by City elected officials. In making appointments to this Commission, elected officials would be required to consider appointees who are representative of or have experience advocating for a diverse range of communities. The Commission would identify and propose priorities to inform the racial equity planning process and review agency and citywide Racial Equity Plans.

Shall this proposal be adopted?

Read the ballot proposal abstract»

Proposal 3

Summary of Proposed Charter Amendment

This proposal would amend the City Charter to require the City to create a True Cost of Living measure to track the actual cost in New York City of meeting essential needs.

Proposed Ballot Text

Ballot Question #3: Measure the True Cost of Living

This proposal would amend the City Charter to:

Require the City to create a “true cost of living” measure to track the actual cost in New York City of meeting essential needs, including housing, food, childcare, transportation, and other necessary costs, and without considering public, private, or informal assistance, in order to inform programmatic and policy decisions; and

Require the City government to report annually on the “true cost of living” measure. 

Shall this proposal be adopted?

Read the ballot proposal abstract»

Download the Full Report

NYC for Racial Justice: Final Report of the NYC Racial Justice Commission Cover

Details about the ballot proposals and NYC Charter revisions that would take effect if New Yorkers vote to approve.