Several New York officials and the NAACP are remembering former New York City Mayor David Dinkins who passed away Monday at the age of 93.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the following about Dinkins who served as New York City’s 106 mayor from 1990 to 1993:
“We lost really a political giant, a political pioneer in Mayor David Dinkins. I was relatively young fellow watching Mayor David Dinkins. I learned a lot from him. I worked with him many times for many years.
“He was extraordinary. He was beautiful, charismatic, principled, had a gentle but strong way about him. And you want to talk about pioneers and groundbreakers, when he ran for mayor, you know, this was really such a step forward.
“David Dinkins, Percy Sutton, Basil Patterson, Charlie Rangel, they were really barrier breakers extraordinaire when they were doing it. They were cutting the brush and forging a path for so many to follow. But they went first, and the first person down the path, you catch all the briars, and all the scrapes, and when Mayor Dinkins was mayor, the city really had issues. But we’re all going to miss him. And he was really a New York champion and a beautiful New Yorker, and a mentor to me and a mentor to so many of us. So God bless David Dinkins.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Dinkins:
“He made things happen for this city that he’s never really gotten the credit for, including putting us on the pathway to becoming a much safer city with the Safe Streets, Safe City program and all the affordable housing.”
“I’m feeling something painful in my heart right now,” the mayor said. “I’m feeling a loss and an emptiness because he’s gone, but I also really feel his guidance still.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams issued the following statement:
“It’s hard to adequately express the impact of the life and work of New York City’s first Black Mayor, David Dinkins. The city benefited from his leadership, and so many Black New Yorkers benefitted from his pioneering example. For me, a young man when he was elected, he was inspiring- I could not be the fourth citywide Black elected leader if he were not the first. It was a privilege to have met and spent time with him, and it is an enduring honor to work in the building he did for so long, one that now bears his name.
“Mayor Dinkins assumed his role in City Hall and in history at a time when the city faced compounding crises of economic turbulence, racial injustice, and systemic failings in housing, policing, healthcare, and more. The Mayor sought to steer the city through the moment and move it forward. He took up that mission not with bombast or ego, but with deliberative determination to continue down the path of liberty, justice, and equity.
“He was a moral center for the city with a clear vision for a better New York. In creating the CCRB, in leading the Safe Streets, Safe City initiative, and in so many other areas, he paved the way for progress we would later see and which others would try to claim credit for. He took strong interest in uplifting and supporting young people like myself, and he focused on creating direct and indirect opportunities for growth that I and others now try to build upon. And for his work, he was mercilessly attacked and vilified by those who would rather stoke resentment than solve problems. Through all of the criticism, he continued to do the work he knew to be right. After he left office, he continued to be a pillar of leadership and a role model for people across the borough and the nation.
“Losing Mayor Dinkins now, just weeks after his beloved wife Joyce, is a solemn moment of sorrow for our city. We owe him not only a debt of gratitude, but a commitment to try and realize his vision for what the gorgeous mosaic of New York City can be – uplifting each piece, and recognizing that it is at its strongest and most beautiful when the pieces are brought together, as was Mayor Dinkins’ mission. His passing leaves a gap in that mosaic as New York feels a historic loss.”
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said:
“Mayor David Dinkins was a remarkable public servant whose grace and dignity set the standard for what compassionate leadership can achieve. He believed New York City could meet any challenge it faced by working collectively.
“As the city’s 106th mayor, he made it his mission to look out for communities who needed the most help, but who were often the most overlooked. He made history as the city’s first – and still only – Black mayor, and inspired a generation of future leaders, many of whom he enjoyed mentoring.
“My deepest condolences to his family, including his son David Jr. and daughter Donna Dinkins Hoggard, his friends, and all New Yorkers feeling this loss so deeply.”
New York’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus released the following statement:
“Mayor David Dinkins led an exemplary life as a public servant, and his historic 1989 election was the seminal moment that inspired the successful candidacies of Black New Yorkers and other persons of color who went on to hold statewide, citywide, and borough offices more than a generation later. The ‘gorgeous mosaic’ that Mayor Dinkins cherished was reflected in the makeup of his administration’s members, and together they championed New York City’s nascent revival as they were besieged by virulent racial tensions, an economic downturn, and a nagging crime rate.
“Though unsung by his contemporaries and critics, some of whom tried to attribute the gains of his many public safety contributions to his successor, David Dinkins’ promotion of upward mobility through initiatives in health, education, housing, and lending support to Black-owned businesses is part of a well-regarded legacy that will live forever. Thank you, Mayor Dinkins. May you and Joyce rest together in Power.”
The NAACP also mourned the passing of Dinkins:
“The NAACP is saddened to learn of the passing of David N. Dinkins,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “Winning his election against all odds, he showed us what was possible at a time when opportunities were limited.
“During his tenure, Dinkins created an all-civilian structure of the Cilivan Complaint Review Board – a quasi-independent city agency that monitors and investigates complaints of police officer misconduct – and significantly strengthened its powers to combat abuses of power by the police. Though his tenure saw New York City’s highest-ever murder rate in 1990, it fell every successive year of his term, and overall major crime dropped throughout Dinkins’ final three years.”