Like so many New Yorkers, Mayor Eric Adams grew up with adversity—and overcame it.
As one of six children, born in Brownsville and raised in South Jamaica by a single mom who cleaned houses, Eric and his family did not always know if they would come home to an eviction notice on the front door or food on the table. And when he was beaten by police in the basement of a precinct house at 15, Eric faced a life-changing act of injustice.
But instead of giving into anger, Eric turned his pain into purpose and decided to change the police department from within. He joined the NYPD and became one of its most outspoken officers, calling out racism and bias in the department and pushing for major reforms.
As a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, Eric would often police the streets in a bulletproof vest one day during the high-crime 1980’s and 1990’s and protest bad behavior by cops the next, marching side-by-side with his fellow civil rights advocates. He rose to the rank of captain, helping to build the first computerized system for tracking crime in the city, which led to historic gains in public safety.
Eric’s efforts to change policing began his lifelong work to improve and protect New York. From the NYPD, he moved on to the State Senate, where he represented sections of central and Brownstone Brooklyn. In Albany, Eric built winning coalitions to advance New York City’s values and goals, helping to push through measures to protect tenants and workers, combat gun violence, end the NYPD’s abuses of stop and frisk, and advance human rights — including marriage equality. He also became the first person of color to chair the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee.
Eric was then elected Brooklyn Borough President in 2013 by putting together a diverse coalition of Brooklynites to become the borough’s first Black leader. As the representative of one of the nation’s largest counties, Eric fought tirelessly to grow the local economy, invest in schools, reduce inequality, improve public safety, and advocate for smart policies and better government that delivers for all New Yorkers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the city, Eric moved a mattress into his office and worked around the clock to deliver donated meals and PPE to essential workers and vulnerable New Yorkers, demanding government produce more equitable relief.
In addition to continuing to fight for struggling New Yorkers and a better quality of life for all, Eric became a national leader on public health policy after learning he had developed Type 2 diabetes. Following his diagnosis, Eric completely changed his diet and his body, reversing the disease and launching a personal mission to educate New Yorkers about preventative care and wellness. His work has already led to successful proactive public health efforts across the city and increased education in schools and with high-risk populations in lower-income areas, partnering with civic organizations and health experts.
Eric is a lifelong New Yorker. He received his master’s degree in public administration from Marist College, and is a graduate of New York City Technical College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is also a proud product of New York City public schools, including Bayside High School in Queens. Today he lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he has resided for over 20 years. Eric is the proud father of Jordan, an aspiring filmmaker and graduate of American University.