New York City Mayor Dianne Morales visited the nationwide housing development in the Bronx district in memory of George Floyd's death on Tuesday, starting the final race of the controversial race.
The first candidate said Floyd's killing at the hands of the police had made him "inconsistent" with his position on matters of policing and public safety.
"We have not changed the plans that led to George Floyd's assassination," Morales told NBC News. "It is very important, for this time, that we are committed to making the political changes and the moral changes that we have to make."
Morales is the first Afro Latina candidate to run for mayor of New York City. If she wins the Primary on June 22, Morales could become the first woman and the first Spanish mayor to be elected.
"When people start talking to me, they see something in me," she said after joining a dance class in the Bronx park and bustling with other salsa moves to Sonora Carruseles's hit "Micaela."
Photo: NYC mayor-elect Dianne Morales dances with local resident in the Bronx, NY
NYC mayor-elect Dianne Morales dances salsa in an outdoor dance class in the Bronx, NY Nicole Acevedo / NBC News
A former non-profit official left his post in 2019 to run for mayor. Since launching his campaign, he has established himself as a candidate who brings a new and progressive vision that seeks to transform government priorities in a way that brings justice to the most vulnerable urban dwellers.
Morales was recently CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods, a non-profit based Bronx-based provider of affordable housing and social services to low-income families. In that role, he sat on Mayor Bill de Blasio's Community School Advisory Board and on the board of the Human Services Council. He was also a member of the board that founded Jumpstart, a national early education organization.
He says if he is elected mayor, he hopes to use his experience in the non-profit sector to bring solutions to the community following the Covid-19 epidemic and racial census nationwide.
“I have seen the city ignore the solutions we have been promoting. And it's time to have someone in the leadership who really won't ignore us, ”he said.
"There is so much trauma from Covid that people are worried about just moving on." But it is not just the Covid-19 epidemic, Morales said. “It is a scourge of poverty, a scourge of black and white bodies, a scourge of racism and xenophobia and gender. People have taken that to heart. ”
The recurring issue of the masses of Morales residents approaching housing in the Bronx was an increase in violent crime in the midst of the epidemic. While overall crime has decreased last year from 2019, the city had a reported 462 homicide crisis, making it the deadliest year in nearly a decade.
Most of his Democratic Alliance opponents have distanced themselves from calls to pay police, but not Morales. He doubled his status, while reminding potential voters that New York City has one of the largest police departments in the country.
"The NYPD is one of the most efficient police departments in the country and that did not save us during the epidemic," he told a 63-year-old Puerto Rican man who was concerned about the increase in crime. Morales also added that people will feel insecure until conditions improve, such as food insecurity and unreliable housing.
Morales has proposed a $ 3 billion redistribution of the NYPD's total budget of about $ 6 billion to build a separate government agency that can respond to specific problems with traumatic resources, among other efforts to address the root causes of violence.
Two elderly black women who spoke to Morales during the campaign campaign expressed concern about how the rise in police presence in the city could exacerbate issues of racism.
Morales has opened up about his 22-year-old son's racial upbringing since he was a boy. "She would come home and talk about these things, which scared me a lot," said a single mother of two grown children.
NYC mayor-elect Dianne Morales talks to a local resident in the Bronx, NY.
NYC mayor-elect Dianne Morales talks to local Bronx resident, NY Nicole Acevedo / NBC News
Morales recalls how on May 29, 2020, he watched a police pepper spray on his children as they protested police brutality following Floyd's assassination. Morales said, “I was terrified. I could not defend them. A short time later, my son was attacked by a police officer, and we marched together peacefully. ”
"It made me sad to see how this program undermines our dignity," he said, adding that as mayor, he would end police efforts to co-operate with immigration authorities so as to "regain the trust of the immigrant community."
Standing outside the crowded camp
Morales believes that a combination of his experience and expertise can make him stand out as a contender for a thriving race. These include former Brooklyn Borough Presidential runners Eric Adams and Andrew Yang, who successfully ran for president last year, as well as balanced progress, such as human rights lawyer Maya Wiley and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose campaign was marred by allegations of sexual harassment.