Martin Luther King III endorses Andrew Yang, and basic income plan, for NYC mayor

1.18.21 Yang – MLK3
Martin Luther King III and Andrew Yang. (Photo courtesy of Yang’s campaign)

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the son of the Civil Rights leader endorsed Andrew Yang for New York City mayor in the upcoming 2021 election.

In an endorsement video posted to YouTube on Monday, Martin Luther King III said Yang’s proposal to parse out $1 billion to low income residents of the five boroughs was a concept his father would have backed, adding that Yang’s involvement in the runoff elections in Georgia also sealed this endorsement.

“One of my main policy goals – one of [Martin Luther King Jr.’s] dreams – was to establish a basic income for all Americans. Andrew’s commitment to a basic income is why I’m endorsing him and why we’ve worked tirelessly to endorse Democrats across the country,” King said. “His plan to spend $1 billion to give the poorest New Yorkers thousands of extra dollars is historic. It will be the biggest programs of its kind in the country.”

Yang’s proposal would reserve $2,000 for 500,000 New Yorkers on an annual basis on top of $5,000 available to some through IDNYC programs.

With universal basic income being a key policy proposal during his brief run for president, Yang said during his campaign launch on Jan. 14 that the same proposal at the city level would not be feasible. But since then, three other candidates in the running, Carlos Menchaca, Eric Adams and Dianne Morales, have told the New York Times they would be open to exploring similar proposals.

“Today, we honor Martin’s father, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the historic work he did to create a more equal America. We also recognize that his mission is far from over. The racial wealth gap in this country is staggering, and COVID-19 has only shed more light on the systemic inequalities in our City. I am deeply proud to carry on Dr. King’s vision for a basic income, and with his son standing beside me in this fight, I know we’ll make it a reality.”

As part of his 2020 run for president, Yang introduced the Freedom Dividend, which he believed would help Americans facing joblessness as a third of all roles in the United States are expected to be taken over by new technologies and automation.

The Freedom Dividend would have paid each American over the age of 18 $12,000 per year. This would have been made feasible by consolidating welfare programs as well as a “Value Added Tax” of 10%.

As well as Adams, Menchaca and Morales, Yang will be running against Maya Wiley, Scott Stringer and Shaun Donovan in the June 22 Democratic primary.