Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday announced the creation of a “Racial Justice Commission” that he said would suggest changes to the City Charter — and even “change the world.”
The move came after de Blasio touted it in advance more than a dozen times over the past year.
But he gave the 11-member commission a deadline to submit its recommendations in December, when he’ll be a lame duck following the Nov. 2 mayoral election.
Changing the City Charter requires approval by the voters and last happened in 2019, when the powers of the Civilian Complaint Review Board were expanded.
De Blasio claimed his new panel’s work would be modeled in part on that of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, saying, “We want to take from those international models and adapt them to the reality here.”
“Racism’s been with us for 400 years, but it can be eradicated,” the mayor said.
“This group will change the world.”
De Blasio didn’t detail how that would happen but said he was open to the idea of paying reparations after a reporter said the commission’s chairwoman — Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies — has called that something to be considered.
Betsy Gotbaum of the good-government group Citizens Union called the timing of de Blasio’s announcement — so near the end of his two-term tenure — “very bizarre.”