Issues: Civil Rights and Racial Justice

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New York State is the most segregated state in the nation in housing and schools and by race and by class. The Greens call for two major civil rights initiatives in New York State to end discrimination and desegregate housing and schools.

Civil Rights Department: Establish a cabinet level Civil Rights Department within the executive branch constituted as a law enforcement agency with sufficient resources to carry out its mission of enforcing anti-discrimination laws and desegregation initiatives. It should be given an authoritative legal mandate, an independent funding source, the power to streamline procedures and cut across government agency jurisdictions, and the responsibility to recommend programs reduce race and class segregation and disparities in employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and other areas. In education, it should immediately address racial and class bias in school attendance zones within school districts and support programs for race and class desegregation across existing school district boundaries.

New Public Housing for Desegregation: A major new public housing program to help desegregate residential patterns and complement strong enforcement of fair housing laws. Unlike the old large-scale projects that concentrated poverty and minorities in poor communities of color, the new public housing should be built in the cities and the suburbs as humanly-scaled, scatter-site, high-quality projects that are mixed income and ethnicity. They should also be green, producing more clean energy than they use through solar and wind power and ground-source heating and cooling and carbon negative through carbon-sequestering building materials and living roofs and walls. This new public housing program will be a jobs program, an affordable housing program, and a clean energy program as well as a desegregation program. Its projects will improve the quality of life in every community in which they are built.

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