The Campaign for Fair Latino Representation held a protest in the rain at City Hall Monday morning, blasting Mayor Bill de Blasio's record of diversity in city government and demanding that his administration appoint and hire more Hispanics.
The public calling out was a result of epic frustration, said Angelo Falcon, president of The National Institute for Latino Policy, claiming that the mayor and his aides "refuse to meet with us or address us directly. We've reached out to him repeatedly since the election and he's basically ignored us."
Eighty-seven percent of Latino voters cast ballots for de Blasio but if his hiring record does not improve, the chance of him being a "one term mayor" -- a recurring chant at yesterday's protest -- are high, Falcon said.
The Mayor issued a statement saying that 14% of his agency heads are Latino, compared to 9.3% in the prior administration and that Latino appointees stand at 12.1%, in comparison to 10.1% in the previous administration.
Even though the percentages have inched up, "those numbers are terrible!" in a city that is almost one-third Hispanic, said Falcon. "If we compare Latinos with any other community in this administration, it's obvious there is a real blind spot: It's so out of whack."
The City Hall statement said the mayor and his administration are committed to increasing the representation of many groups and "we are proud of the diverse team that we have built to date. There is always more we can do to increase diversity, and we won't stop until we ensure that progress continues to be made." The statement said that the administration has had an "ongoing series of conversations with leaders of community-based labor and business organizations" to discuss outreach opportunities, recruiting and outreach strategies and "our efforts to develop a diverse talent pipeline in city government."
Equal Latino representation in government is important not only for policy reasons, but because "our community has a lot of newcomers and a high poverty rate, and traditionally groups move into the middle class through public sector employment," Falcon said.