Community leader and Black Lives Matter Brooklyn President, Anthony Beckford, the son of Jamaican immigrants, has officially announced his candidacy for City Council in the 45th District.
The district, which is currently represented by Councilwoman Farah N. Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands and Kensington.
In making his announcement, Beckford was joined by his eight-year-old daughter, Harmonee, fellow community members, community advocates, as well as members from December 12th Movement, Zafem Entertainment, the NYC Democratic Socialists of America and Black Lives Matter Brooklyn.
Featured speakers included Bedford’s Campaign Manager, Sakia Fletcher; Sima Karetnaya, president of Public Health Advisory of the Borough of Brooklyn, Director of the American Jewish Coalition and New York State Multicultural Peace Advisor; as well as community organizer Jamell Henderson.
“I am honored to have received the support that I did at my campaign announcement,” Beckford told Caribbean Life. “It showed me that the people are truly ready for a new council member that will actually lead and provide adequate solutions and representation.
“I am the only true Progressive Democratic Candidate in my race and the only candidate to pledge to not take real estate or fossil fuel money,” he added. “The issues that are highlighted in my platform are the issues that we directly face in my district and throughout New York.
“I am running to become the next City Council Member of the 45th district, but I will also be the People’s Council Member representing all New Yorkers through my legislation.”
In his first 60 days in office, Beckford said he plans to introduce housing justice legislation, “which will stop the privatization of NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) and secure funding from the state and federal governments to fully fund and fix NYCHA.”
He also plans to provide 35 percent rent rollbacks for tenants, provide property tax rollbacks for small homeowners, provide housing vouchers for the homeless and create 100 percent affordable low-income housing.
In addition, Beckford said he is prepared to introduce criminal justice legislation that will replace the Civil Complaint Review Board with an Elected Civilian Review Board; use a percentage of an officer’s pension to payout on civil lawsuits; ban all gang paraphernalia on uniforms, such as the punisher logo; mandate mental health evaluations of all officers; take $2.5 billion from the NYPD budget that was once used to fund schools and programs, and redistribute it back into communities for much needed social programs and services.
On education, Beckford said he will work with his colleagues to bring adequate funding for schools, and provide free afterschool and summer programs, and free childcare and vocational training.
Beckford said he has always been “boots on the ground and on the frontlines advocating for our communities.”
Over the years, he said his advocacy has grown, stating that he has helped various organizations in advocating for comprehensive legislation on criminal justice reform, protections for immigrants, workers’ rights, women’s rights, animal rights, housing, climate justice, healthcare and education, among others.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Beckford said he established food and mask distribution sites and drop-off services throughout the community and the rest of New York City.
After the death of George Floyd, Anthony said he has organized and led various protests, and “helped with the push that led to 11 police reform bills to be passed in New York State by the State Senate, Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
He said he also witnessed the signing of six criminal justice reform bills by Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Beckford said he is endorsed by Caribbean Unity Alliance; Brooklyn Progressive Alliance; Brooklyn Residents Against Gentrification; NYC Against ICE; Sima Karetnaya; Community Advocate Sami Disu of No IDC NY; and League of Humane Voters NY.