Press Statements

VOCAL-NY Condemns Gov. Hochul’s Move to Criminalize Subway Riders Using Taxpayer Dollars

March 6, 2024

CONTACT:Mariah McGough,


Banning People From the NYC Transit System has Always Been Problematic and Fails to Keep People Safe 

Announcement Comes Nearly a Year After Jordan Neely was Murdered on the NYC Subway, Underscoring How Criminalization Efforts and Dangerous Stigmatization Hit Black, Brown, and Low-Income New Yorkers Hardest

NEW YORK — Today, in response to news that Governor Hochul will deploy the National Guard to the NYC subway system and ban New Yorkers from transit, VOCAL-NY released the following statements:

“Let’s be clear about who the National Guard’s ‘random checks’ will be focused on under Governor Hochul’s orders: low-income, marginalized New Yorkers who have been racially profiled for decades,” said Milton Perez, a leader with VOCAL-NY’s Homelessness Union. “If more law enforcement actually made people safer on the subways, we wouldn’t be in this position to begin with. The safest communities are the ones with the most investments, especially in housing and services — not an increased, armed presence.”

“Governor Hochul is taking pages out of Mayor Adams’ failed playbook to win political points, with no regard for the solutions that will actually keep New York safe. The obvious disproportionate impact this will have on people who are homeless, Black, young, and low-income that the Governor can only be called exactly what she is demonstrating: a racist, violent, inconsiderate, fascist-policy writing failure of New York State politics.” said Jawanza Williams, Director of Organizing for VOCAL-NY.


This is not the first time elected officials have tried to implement failed, punitive tactics in an attempt to address violence on the NYC transit system. In 2022, Mayor Adams increased law enforcement presence on the subways to specifically target people experiencing homelessness — but failed to create permanent housing and invest in communities in a way that would keep all New Yorkers safe. 

New York State lawmakers have a responsibility and the opportunity to address public safety with care and compassion, not the same failed tactics that only harm people who are homeless, dealing with mental health complexities, use drugs, or otherwise marginalized. 


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