We came out in January for Adams, and Our Time Press fully endorses Adams for mayor. He is also endorsed by both The Jewish Press and The New York Post. To some, this would seem to be a case of politics making strange bedfellows.
Adams’ previous endorsements are largely based on how he would be the one to best handle crime and support the police. And he will do that, but the important thing is how he does it.
As an Our Time Press columnist from 2002 -2004, few things occupied him more than crime.
In his January 2002 introductory column he wrote, “I will take you into the ‘crevices’ of the infamous ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ and arm you with insight, on how law enforcement interactions with our community unfold.”
And for the next two years, that is what he did, and he did it before the video camera brought the “Blue wall” down. The following excerpts from his column tell a story of someone who can be “tough on crime” from a different perspective. Someone who understands the Black experience with law enforcement, and the law enforcement experience as well.
Not too long ago it was said, “Only Nixon could go to China.” Adams is the only candidate who can deeply reform how crime is handled in our city.
Eric Adams April 25, 2002
We do not have to travel to the south to get a full understanding of the lynch mob mindset. Right here in our city there are daily examples of those who want to physical harm another person because of their sexual, religious, or ethnic affiliations. The number of the incidents may not be as extreme as the southern racist, but the emotional lynching that accompanies the violence should not be dismissed as insignificant.
The psychological lynching and physical violence takes on a subtler message of hate and intimidation. Staten Islanders living on the north side of the borough openly admits that they are not allowed to travel to the south shore of Staten Island. That acknowledgment is not lost on Richmond County. Similar sentiments are felt in the counties of Kings and Queens. Today there are still geographical locations in the city that represent a Mason Dixie line.
Blacks and other groups silently carry out their duties in these areas by day and consciously retreat from them before night falls. This reality must be met head on, and we must ensure that our psychological trees never bear the 1955 deep south “strange fruits.”
Our goal is not only to ensure safe passage and living conditions for those of the African Diaspora, but for all those who live and reside in this city. It is no secret that after 9/11 many men and women of the Islamic community found themselves harassed and, in some cases, beaten. To remain silent while this abuse takes place is no different than walking past the southern lynching. Evil often prospers because people of good will remain quiet and tolerate its existence.
Eric Adams March 25, 2004
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand who sleeps in the overwhelming number of the nation’s prison beds. One report shows that statistically today, more than eight out of every ten AfricanAmerican males will be arrested at some point in their lifetime. Law enforcement agencies do not concern themselves if the person of color is a police officer or an elected official. After twenty years on the front line of the system, I can state unequivocally that there are two systems of justice. Organizations like Latino Association and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, try to address the issue that occurred on the front end of the system. The same level of public exposure and attention must be played on the other layers of the criminal justice apparatus as well.
We cannot stand by and watch the lives of people of color be continually impacted in a negative manner due to unfair criminal justice practices.
Eric Adams February 21, 2002
The nation’s law enforcement community equated this concept [“broken windows”] to how they should address small nuisance behavior before it turns into major crimes. From afar this tactic looks simple and brilliant. As I stated from afar, when you look closely at this national crime fighting strategy you began to realize how it has been abused.
The abuse comes into play when law enforcement organizations use the
skills of criminologist and sociologist to identify behavior that is associated with a particular group in society. It has long been known there are certain anti-social actions of young people that border between illegal behavior and youthful mischief.
Historically, law enforcement officers corrected these acts either verbally, with a summons or some form of juvenile report. The benefit of these corrective measures is that they did not leave a permanent blemish on a person’s record.
Unfortunately, intertwined in the large number of innocent youthful mischief are a small percent of young people who commit serious criminal acts. This fact challenged the nation’s law enforcement community. The question became “How does one find the serious offenders among the young people who are merely living out the normal mischief that is associated with youthful behavior?” The answer to the question came via the “Quality of life” crime fighting strategy.
Through this initiative the mischief behavior of young people, particularly those of color, was identified and was no longer treated as nuisance behavior but as criminal behavior. Acts such as urinating in public, drinking beer in public, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, playing loud music, etc. became grounds for an arrest. This allowed the police to gather up large numbers of young people and find amid the group a small number of criminals. On the surface, it appeared as though they were addressing the small matters before they became large ones.
There were two major problems with this act. The first was that it was not carried out throughout every community in the country and the other was that an enormous number of young people now have criminal records that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Eric Adams July 26, 2002
A level of comfort has often come over me when I visit the many organizations that were born out of the Million Man March. Many black men who attended the display of black manhood in Washington D.C., returned to their community and instituted programs to regain control of their neighborhoods. The fruits of their labor are manifested through the positive action and progress made by the young men who are the benefactors of their dedication. Men like the Million Man March Troop in Jamaica, Queens and Mo Better Football team in Brooklyn, are excellent examples of dedicated Black men who are living their lives on the front pages.
Their responsible behavior shows that they believe that it is a shame that throughout the country a significant number of priests have been abusing children.
A fact that is further complicated by recent discovery of an international child pornography ring. What is more important is that concerned Black men are not only knowledgeable of these incidents, they are working with many progressive black women to retrieve our children.
The retrieving process safeguards our young from harm they may have received from “sick” adult acts as well as from misguided behavior from their young peers.
In contrast to these examples of manhood, there are far too many black men who have abandon their responsibility of being part of the village. They spend their Sundays in front of a television instead of in front of a group of children. … Their lives are spent on the sidelines of life and they have become detached spectators while the full contact sport call “life” is played out around them.
Eric Adams August 24,2004
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand who sleeps in the overwhelming number of the nation’s prison beds. One report shows that statistically today, more than eight out of every ten AfricanAmerican males will be arrested at some point in their lifetime. Law enforcement agencies do not concern themselves if the person of color is a police officer or an elected official. After twenty years on the front line of the system, I can state unequivocally that there are two systems of justice. Organizations like the Latino Association and 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, try to address the issues that occur on the front end of the system. The same level of public exposure and attention must be played on the other layers of the criminal justice apparatus.
We cannot stand by and watch the lives of people of color be continually impacted in a negative manner due to unfair criminal justice practices. In the following months I will take a look at how the criminal justice system has impacted our youth.
Eric Adams April25, 2002
There is not a city agency or profession that does not have a Black organization affiliated with it. These groups must start using their knowledge and skills to shed light on their agencies. The early warning signs from these groups will mobilize the community and elected officials, to carve out an appropriate agenda that will start the process of addressing the problems of the inner city.
Not until this is done will agency heads stop responding to our request for services with an answer of what Black church they visited on Sunday.
This is a person who looks at crime wholistically. He quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu saying, “We spend a lifetime pulling people out of the river. No one goes upstream to prevent them from falling in in the first place.” And this why Adams will do a lot of the “upstream” work in crime prevention, starting with health and education.
As Brooklyn Borough President, he has already created and funded science and health programs that could be made citywide. Shop classes for basic life skills. Emphasizing nutritionally based education and teaching children hydroponics, vertical farming and the importance of diet in the food served in school cafeterias. Fight crime by feeding children well and creating programs that keep them engaged and enhance their life skills and critical thinking. Those are the “coins of the realm” in the digital age.
“We spend $500,000 through the lifetime of a child’s education. What are we getting for it? That lack of education leads to incarceration. 80% of the men and women at Rikers Island don’t have a high school diploma or equivalency upon entry. A third of the 18 to 21-year-olds read below a fifth-grade reading level.”
He also would stop the two months off for summer ritual that is no longer useful in a society grounded in technology, not farming.
Finally, Adams was an OTP columnist almost 20 years ago and he has been consistent in his push for racial justice and equity then and now. It is that consistency at the grassroots level that confirms for us that he ranks first in the race for mayor.
There are some who pushback at the endorsement, telling me to my face that I’ll regret it. “Look at the corruption,” they say. “What about the Aqueduct Casino Bid?” To that I say, nice try. There is nothing there that prevents Adams from using his competence, honed in running what would be the fourth largest city in the country, his life experiences and contemplation of the root causes of what’s called crime. Add to that, his deep thinking about African American youth, his inclusion of healthy practices and policies across his administration, he is poised to bring to New York City the kind of leadership that is grounded, tried and tested.
Mayor Eric Adams will be great for New York.