ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, on April 27 issued the following statement on Mayor de Blasio’s formation of an administration task force on Racial Inclusion and Equity:
“COVID-19 did not blight our black and brown communities on its own. This global pandemic hit our neighborhoods so badly because of the generations of environmental racism that preceded it. Power plants, waste stations, and other dirty infrastructure shoved into black and brown communities, against their protests, have led to higher rates of asthma and other pre-existing conditions, which have made COVID-19 worse in areas like the South Bronx, as well as parts of western and southeast Queens. As a result, we have had two kinds of COVID-19 cases: one in which communities with cleaner air are impacted another way; and another where over-policed, under-invested neighborhoods are torn apart.
“Any task force focused on Racial Inclusion and Equity must put environmental justice, a root cause of this problem, front and center. We need to hear from the public housing residents who have experienced this first-hand for decades, the community leaders who fought these polluting policies in the first place, and the experts who have long warned these conditions will only worsen. I am ready, as a representative of environmental justice communities and the Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, to work with Deputy Mayor Thompson and First Lady McCray to prioritize this issue.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology.
For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa