New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that he appointed his wife as the head of a new racial inequality task force.
On Sunday, de Blasio put first lady Chirlane McCray in charge of a special coronavirus task force dedicated to racial inclusion and equity. De Blasio said the program would assist New York City to become a "better and more just society than the one we left behind."
"Every time New York City has faced a crisis, it's come back stronger. That's who we are. We will work together and build something better and fairer," de Blasio tweeted on Sunday.
"I am also launching the City Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity, focusing on confronting health disparities, specific needs in communities of color and breaking down structural racism," the Democratic NYC mayor wrote. "I want that mission baked into every aspect of our restart and recovery."
McCray will work with Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson in leading the COVID-19 racial inequality task force, which will begin meeting "in a matter of days," according to de Blasio.
De Blasio said the first lady was qualified because of the work she has done with ThriveNYC, an $850 million initiative to address a variety of mental health issues hindering New Yorkers.
"In terms of fighting inequality, Thrive has gone to that point and in many ways even farther," de Blasio said of his wife's work. "I think that's exactly the kind of mindset needed for this task force."
In the past, critics have blasted the efficiency and effectiveness of ThriveNYC, including Politico, which questioned whether the $850 million mental health program had metrics to measure success or failure, clear initiatives, and spending accountability.
"Meanwhile, more than $133.5 million was spent on 'stress reduction' through things like 'yoga, line dancing, drumming and soul Chi (soulful movement)' and 'equine-facilitated psychotherapy,' the New York Post said of ThriveNYC's initiatives.
The New York City Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity comes at a time when de Blasio admits that the city would "go broke" if it doesn't receive federal aid.
Two weeks ago, de Blasio said New York City was facing a $7.4 billion loss in tax revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It means all the things that people depend on in their lives — police, fire, sanitation, education — go down the list of all the things that makes any city, any town function," de Blasio said on an appearance on MSNBC. "If you're missing $7 billion, I assure you, you have to stop — you have to start to cut that stuff back in ways that can be very dangerous."
The lost tax revenue already forced the NYC mayor to slash $6 billion from his budget proposal, dropping it to $89.3 billion.