WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York
You should know that on July 20, 2013, when then New York City Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio was campaigning, he took his friend, Reverend Al Sharpton to spend the night and sleep in a New York City Housing Authority Building.
After spending the night and drawing publicity about the problems facing New Yorkers who live in the projects, when daylight came, Bill de Blasio stated: “It’s as if tenant’s lives don’t matter.”
Candidate Bill de Blasio pledged that if elected Mayor, he would address the problems facing New York City Housing Authority residents. He stated: "Staying overnight here, is a powerful reminder that behind the thousands of backlogged repairs that NYCHA never seems to get to, are families living in unacceptable conditions that bring shame to this city."
But as I always say: Surprise, surprise!
After being Mayor for the past 2 years, it’s as if New York City Housing Authority tenant’s lives still don’t matter. The problems facing the families and residents of the New York City Housing Authority and the problems facing homeless New York City residents are worse than ever.
I wish we could hear Reverend Al Sharpton using his bully pulpit at the National Action Network, or his Morning program on MSNBC to push or even ask Bill de Blasio to go back to sleep another night in one of the New York City Housing Authority’s buildings … maybe in one of the following:
(1) Castle Hill Houses in the Bronx where this year, crime and murder continue to make the news; or
(2) East River Houses, where Tyrone Howard, the man suspected of shooting New York City Police Officer, Randolph Holder, lived and sold drugs; or
(3) Coney Island public housing complex where NYCHA worker Toni Jackson was killed earlier this year when she fell to her death on a jerry-rigged trash hoist; or
(4) Lincoln Houses where the lack of security resulted in the murder of Olivia Brown. The lawsuit filed by her mother was shamefully dismissed by New York City's lawyers who stated:“All the risks, hazards and dangers were open, obvious and apparent to [Brown] and said risks, hazards and dangers were openly and voluntarily assumed by [Brown]."
It is well known that the Black and Hispanic community, especially the African American community, voted massively for Bill de Blasio for Mayor based upon Reverend Al Sharpton’s support. Based on this support, Reverend Al Sharpton has been referred to by some of New York’s media as New York City’s Co-Mayor.
Because Reverend Al Sharpton has a voice and a special influence in the African American community, and because he was instrumental in getting Candidate Bill de Blasio to participate in a political stunt of spending the night in the projects, it’s about time, now, for Reverend Al Sharpton to once again, invite his friend to coordinate another political sleepover in one of the New York City Housing Authority’s buildings.
This way, Mayor de Blasio could remember his own words and realize that life for the New York City Housing Authority residents does matter.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.