Press Statements

VOCAL-NY Responds to Mayor Adams Plans to Combat Gun Violence In NYC; Calls for Investments in Care and Compassion, Not Incarceration

January 24, 2022


Keli Young,, 929-363-4713

Mariah McGough,, 203-470-9979


NEW YORK — Following a press conference today by Mayor Adams to announce his blueprint to end gun violence in New York City, VOCAL-NY Civil Rights Union leaders released the following statements:

“We cannot have an honest conversation about gun violence without acknowledging the violence perpetrated by the NYPD,” said Keli Young, VOCAL-NY’s Civil Rights Campaign Coordinator. “Mayor Adams’ plan to increase the presence of police in our communities are harsh, carceral, and ignores the fact that police violence is gun violence. We can all agree that community investments are critical to public safety, but rolling back hard-fought reforms and implementing a ‘dangerousness standard’ will drive racial disparities, mass incarceration and worsen the conditions on Rikers. We need our elected allies to push back on this ‘tough on crime’ approach and propose budgets that include robust investments that actually meet the needs of our communities.”

“Throwing more people in prison and using bail reform laws as the excuse won’t end gun violence in New York City,” said Eileen Maher, a Civil Rights Union leader with VOCAL-NY. “His approach is the 1994 crime bill all over again — it didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Rolling back bail and discovery will only stockpile more people into jails and prisons. It won’t speed up cases, it’ll hold a ransom over New Yorkers heads and torture them until they cop to a plea. Investing in community-based violence intervention groups is a good start, but it’s only half the story. Where are the investments in affordable permanent housing, mental health resources, and community care? What’s been proposed today will only funnel more of our communities into prison.”

“Mayor Adams’ ‘solutions’ are carceral and wrongheaded,” said Jon McFarlane, a Civil Rights Union leader with VOCAL-NY. “It’s all about a proliferation of guns. His policy is to round us up and pack us into jails and prisons. Bail and discovery reforms have improved the lives of so many people who have nothing to do with gun violence. They are going to get caught up. Tragedies are going to happen whether you repeal bail reform or not. That doesn’t mean you drag the thousands of people who have been benefited by bail reform. Our focus has to be alternatives to the carceral system and community investments: employment, health, housing.”

“There’s a gun problem but locking up people isn’t the answer,” said Susan Hadley, a Civil Rights Union leader with VOCAL-NY. “We can’t arrest our way out of poverty. The minimum wage is $15/hr. You can’t survive on that. As long as the cost of living outpaces the minimum wage, we are condemning our communities to violence. Our communities need to be stabilized. That should be our first priority.”

“The incidents of this past weekend are terrible but we can’t allow fear mongering to drive policy,” said Roger Clark, a Civil Rights Union leader with VOCAL-NY. “Rolling back these life-saving reforms are a threat to safety and justice. It’s on NY lawmakers to push back and make sure these life-saving reforms that we fought for are not undermined.”

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