Francilia Wilkins Rahim, R.F. Wilkins Consultants: Thank you. Thank you, Mayor. Thank you for having me. I also want to thank the First Lady and Deputy Mayor Thompson for all of the amazing leadership on the Task Force of Racial Equity and Inclusion. And, last but not least, I want to thank you, Commissioner Carroll. Thank you. You know, it was only June when myself, the New York Real Estate Chamber and the Black Business Collaborative came to you on behalf of black business owners across New York City. We came to you and many other agency officials. We were concerned. We were concerned, because COVID was impacting 40 percent of Black business businesses across the United States. We were concerned, because when we looked at New York City, we saw that Black businesses were not having equitable access to New York City contracts. When the collaborative came to you, we wanted to see a shift. We wanted New York City contracts to reflect the Black population across the city. We wanted Black developers to have ownership across affordable housing development. We wanted oversight over agency-wide procurement. And, Commissioner, you heard us. So, thank you.
You know, the truth is, challenges for Black businesses did not start with COVID. For far too long, we have been able – not able to have an equitable access across contracts. Every day, I speak to developers and business owners who say, why should I even try to participate and bid when I will be overlooked? Why should I try to access a development team when I may just be leveraged as a M/WBE check? You know, when I look at these things, I understand the concerns. These developers would share that Black businesses hire Black subcontractors, Black developers hire Black subcontractors, who in turn hire Black workforce, who, in turn, come from Black communities – a lot of the communities where affordable housing is being developed.
So, it only makes sense that affordable housing developers look and represent and feel and understand the communities that development is happening in.
You know, to conclude this, I just kind of go back to my story. In 2011, I founded R.F. Wilkins Consultants. At that time, I had no money. I had no relationships. I had very limited access. Today, we hire a diverse community of people. Mayor, you just talked about the New York story, and the New York story has been my story. Not only do we have hire a diverse community of people, but we have implemented some of the most difficult logistic project management and compliance projects across the State of New York. Every day is difficult, but I truly stand on the back of the Black business owners who came before me. Today is not only about contracts, it's about nourishing the Black ecosystem. It's about nourishing Black businesses and activating the next generation of leaders who will hopefully see more Black businesses, more Black business participation. There's still so much more to do, but we have business owners who are ready for a piece of the economic pie. We have a forward-thinking Mayor. We have agency commissioners, like you, Commissioner Carroll, who will ensure that Black businesses are not lost in the implementation of M/WBE programs. Every step towards equitable participation for Black businesses, every step towards acknowledging the disparity – and the disparity Every step towards supporting Black business growth is a step in the right direction. So, Mr. Mayor, thank you, thank you, thank you for your commitment. And we look forward to partnering with you in the future and continuing to support the growth of Black businesses.
Mayor: Thank you. Thank you so much, Francilia. And what a powerful presentation. I can see why you succeeded. And I really appreciate your energy and I appreciate your hopeful message, even in a tough time. But Francilia’s story, another great New York story. It’s a reminder that great story can't just be for some people and then the ladder gets kicked away and others don't get to participate. It has to be for everyone. It has to be for all the generations coming up. And when we actually act with that spirit of fairness and equity, amazing things can happen. And one of the things I felt as I was listening to you was, you were already seeing the future, that we, again, we are going through so much, but we've got to get one foot into the future. And if we do the smart approaches to share the wealth in a better way, a lot more people are going to prosper and it's going to bring this city back a lot stronger. So, thank you for helping us light the way, Francilia.
Okay. Everybody, let's conclude with our indicators and go over these now. First, daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19, threshold 200 patients – today's report, 115 patients with a 34.45 percent confirmed positivity level. Again, we're watching this really carefully. This is the indicator that has been different than the others. Very concerned, to say the least. Haven't seen as much growth there as expected, that’s a good thing, but we are watching very, very carefully. So far, again, our hospitals are doing quite well handling the challenge. Number two though, is a different matter, new reported cases on a seven-day average, threshold 550 cases – this number just keeps growing and this worries me a lot, 1,255 cases. Now, we want to keep testing everyone. And again, I'm going to constantly remind people get out there and get tested. And that will account for some of the growth of those numbers. But, clearly, the trend goes beyond simply the fact that more and more people are getting tested, got keep a close eye there. And now, the percentage of people tested citywide positive for COVID-19, threshold five percent – today's report, 2.36 percent. Today’s seven-day rolling average 3.01 percent.