End of Year TRIE Reception

December 2, the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE) convened at Gracie Mansion in fellowship to review and acknowledge the important work accomplished over the last year and a half. During the event, Taskforce members heard rousing remarks from TRIE Executive Director Sideya Sherman, First Lady Chirlane McCray and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Evening Remarks - TRIE Executive Director Sideya Sherman

Good evening, everyone!

Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for that kind introduction. And for you for your unwavering support of the Taskforce.

I want to thank First Lady McCray, our Taskforce Co-Chair, along with Co-Chairs Deputy Mayor Hartzog and Deputy Mayor Thompson.

Thank you all for having the vision to bring us together to respond to a crisis by centering the communities that are often left behind.

I also must acknowledge and thank our original Taskforce Executive Director, Grace Bonilla, who laid the foundation for us to get where we are today.

And THANK YOU, to all of our Taskforce members, partners, allies, and co-conspirators, who have been doing the "good work" – that really meaningful, life-impacting work – on behalf of New Yorkers.

When the pandemic hit, it was earth shattering. It not only impacted us personally but fundamentally changed the ways we serve New Yorkers.

You know firsthand what these past 21 months have been like, so I can spare you the details. But the impact of COVID on hard-hit communities has been devastating, and we know we can't heal and recover by just putting things back to the way they were before.

The work of the Taskforce – your work – has been remarkable and builds on a commitment throughout this administration to equity and fairness.

It's said that you know who you are and what you really value when all the chips fall, and you're faced with a crisis. And, during this crisis, we doubled down on equity, and as a Taskforce, we were empowered to show up for our communities in unprecedented ways.

So, what does it look like when you bring together nearly 100 city leaders, from across 67 agencies, during a global pandemic to advance new ideas?

  • Over $380M invested in hard-hit neighborhoods. Not including all of the vaccine investment and the investment by City Agencies that have independently prioritized these neighborhoods as part of our recovery.

  • Over 30 new initiatives launched, ranging from big-ticket items like accelerating broadband and Covid Centers of Excellence, to mental health resiliency workshops, expansion of youth programs, and new programs and policies supporting M/WBEs.

  • Changes within government, such as our meaningful and impactful pay equity recommendations, and the Mayor's EO, establishing a new Pay Equity Cabinet to ensure implementation for the foreseeable future.

  • Changing how we engage communities through the new "TRIE neighborhood Initiative," which has established new grassroots coalitions across the 33 neighborhoods. As we speak, these groups are supporting vaccine outreach and education while kicking off a participatory budgeting process that will bring neighbors together to express priorities and make decisions about where they live.

  • Addressing the racial wealth gap through universal Baby Bonds and new investments in CUNY, supporting students of color.

  • And last but certainly not least, building a culture and community within government that is not afraid to have difficult conversations, collaborates, prioritizes equity, and acts with the urgency our communities deserve.

You should all be really proud because YOU did that!

And we know there's more to do. The story of the pandemic is incomplete without discussing systemic racism. Alongside the fight against COVID-19, there has been a fight for racial justice, which is ongoing.

And, if you watch the news and see what's happening across our country – at all levels of government – we know we can't take our foot off that gas.

If you believe in a multi-racial, multi-national, multi-ethnic democracy with equity, fairness, and justice for all, you know that's hard work.

And it can be frustrating and demoralizing at times, and the challenges can feel insurmountable.

There is a quote that I love from the author and activist adrienne Marie Brown which states "Things are not getting worse; they are getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil."

And that couldn't be more appropriate for where we are today.

We need to continue to commit ourselves to "doing the work" and prioritizing the New Yorkers who have been experienced generations of inequity.

We must deepen our connections with one another and "hold each other tight as we continue to pull back the veil."

I couldn't be prouder to lead the Taskforce, and I thank everyone in this room for their support and for "holding me tight." I extend my deepest gratitude to you all.

I also want to take a moment to thank all the leaders who served as subcommittee co-chairs.

And I want to thank all the folks who have worked behind the scenes on TRIE. There are many in the room today from the early days, as well as the coordination team that has been working on TRIE today: (Ashley Ross-Teel, Chief Content Officer, Dina Simon, Linda Tigani, Tayyab Walker). And, our co-chair teams (Ellen Eng, Michael Sedillo, Michaela Daniel, Roxanne John, Dabash Negash, and Chanel Caraway). You all have been such amazing partners in this work.

Now have the distinct please of introducing our First Lady, who has been such a champion of the work of the Taskforce. I want to thank you for all the bold ideas, energy, and commitment you have bought not only to the Taskforce but throughout this administration in service to all New Yorkers.

Thank You