In response to New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s State of the City address, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement, attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“Speaker Mark-Viverito has outlined an ambitious agenda that recognizes the contribution that all New Yorkers make to our city, and takes important steps to protect and promote the basic civil rights and liberties of people too often forgotten.

“The criminal justice reform package she outlined should result in fewer New Yorkers arrested for minor offenses, saving communities of color from a needless but potentially ruinous push into the criminal justice system. Her commitment to reforming school discipline so that the kids who need help the most are sent to a guidance counselor or social worker instead of the police precinct should ensure more of our children stay in the classroom where they belong. Her expansion of the Human Rights Commission should revitalize an agency neglected for decades, providing an important source of redress for New Yorkers who have been subject to discrimination, including in our schools. Her commitment to ‘Ban the Box’ sends an important message that New York City is a place where anyone can get a second chance and that there is no room for employment discrimination against those who have been incarcerated. And her expansion of basic workplace protections to caregivers should protect several generations of New Yorkers at once.

“We look forward to working with the speaker, the mayor and the City Council to improve justice and equality for all New Yorkers.”