Launches Campaign in the Name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To enthusiastic chants of “Charles in Charge,” and “Here comes the Mayor,” Councilman Charles Barron, accompanied by his wife Inez (“the love of my life and the greatest supporter of my life’s work”), and his son, Jawaanza, (“I thank him for lending me to the movement.”) announced his candidacy for Mayor on the steps of City Hall, January 19, 2004. Councilman Barron’s statement is below.
I want to say on the Day of Observance of the birth of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that I intend to be the 109th Mayor of New York City.
Many want Dr. King’s message to be stuck in 1963 with “I have a dream”. But Dr. King, in his last years of 1968, had a radical vision. He was going to Washington D.C. for a Poor People’s campaign and he was going to stay there until Congress delivered a more equitable distribution of the wealth of goods and resources in America.
We launch this movement in the name of Dr. King. We’re calling for a new structure in New York City. We’re calling for a racially balanced, gender-balanced Administration and structure for New York City.
Too few white men have too much power and that must be changed. That has to stop.
We’re developing a People’s Platform that we’re going to take across this city. We’re going from borough to borough to fully develop our platform.
This is how we’re going to deal with crime: economic development and job creation. Police containment is not the answer. We believe in community policing coupled with economic development. People don’t commit crimes because there are not enough police or prisons, they commit crimes because of poverty that leads to hopelessness. If you want crime to stop, then give people jobs, opportunities and economic development. I believe in real affordable housing plans.
Those who are making $25,000, $35,000 a year deserve a home, too. In East New York, Brownsville, the South Bronx, Harlem, Jamaica we deserve real affordable housing.
And we’re going to talk about education for liberation: liberation from poverty, liberation from academic ineptness, liberation from the structure of the Department of Education. ‘Leave no child behind?’ No, they want control over the $12 billion budget so they can leave no millionaire behind.
One hundred and sixty-six million dollars for Snapple to sell our children colored sugar water that’s not good for them? We want to bring in people like Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Frank Mickens, Dr. Sheila Trannum and really show this city how education can be done.
Yes, we need smaller class sizes. We need a culturally-relevant curriculum. One-size-fits-all curriculum makes no sense.
CUNY! We want free tuition for CUNY. We can do that. CUNY used to be free when it had a different complexion. But when the student’s complexion changed, and their class changed, then came tuition. CUNY students work too hard to have the budget balanced on their backs.
This city must understand. When we call for reparations, it is a just call. When we call for the payment for our ancestors’ work to build New York City, to build America. When we get reparations, we’re talking about fixing up the hood. We’re talking about fixing up the education system, better housing, economic development and job creation. We’re talking about owning land. That’s how you can give us reparations, by giving us land. We’re talking about a moratorium on us paying taxes until you pay that debt, called reparations.
Nobody in New York City should be upset with us talking about reparations, cause there’s something about people of African Ancestry- when we do well, everybody does well.
We will continue our fight to free political prisoners. The freedom of political prisoners is critical. We must understand that many of our brothers and sisters, languishing in the jails in this state and all across this country, because in 1960, J. Edgar Hoover, with COINTELPRO, called for the elimination of all Black activists. They stood up for you and he declared war. He said that they should be murdered. Eliminated. And they went about killing activists.
In that period, there were people who fought back. There are people in jail for doing nothing. Some people in jail for fighting back. And some people spent 30 years for whatever they did, after 30 years the time’s up. Free our political prisoners.
We’re talking about environmental justice. There are too many waste- transfer stations, too many bus depots and sewage plants in communities of color. They should spread the wealth. We’re talking about quality and affordable health care. We’re going to focus on our seniors and our youth. We must develop a New York City that will prioritize its youth and take care of its seniors.
Finally, we’re not going to balance the budget on the backs of the poor in this town. Fees, fines and property tax. We need a stock transfer tax, we need an e-sale tax, we need a tax on those who earn $250,000 or more.
We need to have the more affluent pay the bills. They benefited during the better times.
We have to unite the mayoralty with the city council and the unions. It is only through that unity can we go to the state and get our fair share.
We give $3 billion more to the state than they give to us. We give $6 billion more to the federal government than they give to us. It’s time for us to get our fair share from the state and the federal government and a Barron mayoralty is the best proposition to make that happen.
Finally, ‘Who is Charles Barron” “what makes you qualified to run for mayor”.
Before Giuliani became mayor he was a U.S. attorney. Before Bloomberg became mayor he was a billionaire media mogul, disconnected from the city. Before Charles Barron becomes mayor in 2005 he will have spent 30 years as an activist in New York City and four years in the city council. I will have balanced, with my colleagues, four $40 billion plus budgets. Bloomberg and Giuliani? None. I will have passed, along with my colleagues on the city council, more progressive legislation on the living wage, affordable housing, equal access, predatory lending, lead paint with my colleague Bill Perkins. We will have passed more progressive legislation than any administration in the history of New York City.
This is a serious campaign. While pundits are counting the money of the other candidates, I’ll be counting people because money doesn’t vote. People vote. We’re going to have all the money we need to win this election.
Contributions may be sent to: Charles Barron 2005, 545 Neptune Avenue, 19B, Brooklyn, NY 11224.