Issue 163
July 15, 2020
"Abolition is not primarily a negative strategy. It’s not primarily about dismantling, getting rid of, but it’s about reenvisioning."
Angela Davis

Did they defund NYPD? (no) ?

NYC didn't really cut $1 billion from NYPD (shocker). Last month, we discussed what it would look like to defund the police in NYC, and echoed the chorus of New Yorkers calling for a $1B (minimum) cut from the NYPD budget. Since then, the Mayor & City Council passed a budget for fiscal year 2021, claiming to have cut $1B from the NYPD, while also cutting funds from a host of other city agencies. This week, we’re telling ya what you need to know about NYC’s 2021 budget, what the "cuts" to NYPD actually mean, and how you can keep supporting the Defund the Police movement.

P.S. Our Digital Organizing Committee is seeking two new members! The Broad Room's digi group handles all things social, design, and web, and we pitch in on email. We’d loveeee someone with some basic Wordpress and/or email fundraising experience. None of this sound like you? Send it to your networks! Plz note that this is a *volunteer* role that we estimate takes 5-10 hours a month, depending on meetings and trainings. Send resumes / inquiries to Ty!
NYers are wrestling with an ongoing public health crisis—resulting in lost lives, jobs, and dollars. In addition to these unfathomable losses, our city is also facing a serious budget crisis: the economy has taken a serious hit from Covid, which has led to an estimated $9 billion in revenue losses for Fiscal Year 2021. In the past few weeks, activists across the city (and the country) demanded that the NYPD shoulder a chunk of these cuts, shifting funding from the police to social services that can actually make our communities safer and healthier. In response, the Mayor released a budget on June 30th touting a $1B cut to the NYPD. But the math is seriously dubious.
What was cut? One of 4 annual recruit classes (saves $55M & means 1,163 fewer officers), overtime payments (saves $355.2M), and a few other items make up the majority of cuts. Where does the rest of the $ come from? This is where it gets tricky. Allegedly, school safety officers (cops in our public schools) will be moved from the NYPD to the Department of Education, which shifts about $307M to the DOE. But let's be real, this move is a glorified semantic change: law enforcement officers will still be in our schools. Shifting funding from the NYPD to social services means going after the root causes and systemic problems that have led to the unequal treatment of Black and brown NYers by cops and our institutions. The NYPD "budget cuts" are more deceptive than effective and fail to truly invest in social services.
The fight is far from over. The FY21 budget shows that the movement to defund and abolish the police is gaining serious political legitimacy, and it’s our job to hold our government accountable. Here’s how:

—Learn about the #8toAbolition campaign: a set of 8 reforms which hopes to build toward a society without police or prisons, where communities are equipped to provide for their safety and wellbeing

—There's no time like the present to put your money where your mouth is and support local Black-owned businesses and restaurants

—Keep protesting. Check the @justiceforgeorgenyc IG and twitter accounts for moment to moment updates on protests in your community.

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