Jumaane Williams

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jumaane Williams
Jumaane Williams, OWS 2012 (portrait).jpg
Williams at an Occupy Wall Street rally, 2012
5th New York City Public Advocate
Assumed office
March 19, 2019
Preceded byLetitia James
Member of the New York City Council
from the 45th district
In office
January 1, 2010 – March 19, 2019
Preceded byKendall Stewart
Succeeded byFarah Louis[1]
Personal details
Born (1976-05-11) May 11, 1976 (age 43)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationBrooklyn College (BA, MA)
WebsiteGovernment website

Jumaane D. Williams (/uˈmɑːni/ joo-MAH-nee; born May 11, 1976) is an American politician who has served as the New York City Public Advocate since 2019. He formerly served as a member of the New York City Council from the 45th district, which includes East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park, and Midwood in Brooklyn.

A member of the Democratic Party and a self-described democratic socialist,[2] he served as Deputy Leader of the New York City Council and Chair of the Task Force on City Workforce Equity. A candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 2018, Williams was elected New York City Public Advocate in the 2019 special election to succeed Letitia James, who resigned to become Attorney General of New York.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Williams' parents, Greg and Patricia Williams,[5] are from St. Andrew, Grenada. His father was a footballer and cricketer who represented the students of Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) before moving to the U.S. to study medicine.[6] He has a brother.[7]

He is an alumnus of Brooklyn Technical High School. He then attended Brooklyn College, earning a B.A. in political science in 2001 and an M.A. in urban policy and administration in 2005.[8]

Political career[edit]

New York City Council[edit]

Williams was elected after defeating incumbent Councilmember Kendall Stewart in the Democratic primary in September 2009 by a margin of 12 points.[9] Williams won the general election as well,[10] with an endorsement from the Working Families Party.[11] He was re-elected easily in 2013.

In June 2013, the New York City Council passed Williams' Community Safety Act, which established an Inspector General to oversee the New York Police Department (NYPD) and created an enforceable ban against bias-based profiling.[12][13] The Act was passed over then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto.[14] Williams has been an outspoken opponent of the NYPD's approach to Stop-and-frisk in New York City.[15]

In July 2013, he introduced "house party" legislation where parties with 40 people in attendance or more would have to register with the police. He also wants event organizers who advertise on social media and those charging admission to pay fines.[16]

On Jun 29, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Williams' legislation, the Fair Chance Act, commonly known as Ban the Box. The law prohibits public and private employers from inquiring about an applicant's criminal history until a conditional offer of employment is made.[17]

On August 13, 2015, the New York City Council passed Intro. 700, Williams' legislation which, along with bills sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick, established regulations for "tenant relocation specialists", individuals who are employed by landlords to buy out tenants. The legislation was signed into law by the mayor on September 9, 2015.[18]

In 2018, Williams challenged incumbent Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary, on a platform of anti-corruption, affordable housing, and criminal justice reform;[19] he and Cynthia Nixon, who challenged incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, endorsed each other. He lost the primary by less than seven points.[20] He resigned from office to take the position as Public Advocate on March 19, 2019.[21]

Williams declined to back his former staffer Farah Louis to succeed him in the New York City Council and instead endorsed Monique Chandler-Waterman.[22] Despite this, Louis defeated Chandler-Waterman in the May special election.[23]


On September 5, 2011, during the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, Williams along with Kirsten John Foy, director of community relations for then-New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, were arrested and handcuffed for walking along a closed-off sidewalk, after having received permission to do so from other officers.[24][25][26]

Williams was a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement,[27] and in September, 2012, he was assaulted by a member of the NYPD at an Occupy Wall Street event.[26][28]

Williams was also arrested in 2018 for protesting the detention of immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir after the latter was detained during one of his regular check-ins with ICE.[29]

Public Advocate[edit]

Williams ran in the 2019 special election for New York City Public Advocate[3] when Tish James vacated her seat to become New York state attorney general. He was endorsed by The New York Times in both his 2018 campaign for lieutenant governor and his 2019 campaign for public advocate.[19][30] He was endorsed in 2018 by the Democratic Socialists of America[31] but in 2019 DSA decided not to endorse anyone for the Public Advocate special election. The New York Daily News broke the story of his 2009 arrest in a domestic dispute, the records that had been sealed, which were used by rival candidates.[32]

Nevertheless, in a crowded field with 18 other candidates, including former council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and state assemblyman Michael Blake, Williams won, taking 33 percent of the vote to the former's 11 percent and the latter's 8 percent. Republican Eric Ulrich garnered 19 percent in this race.[33] In his post-election remarks Williams said that he would work with Mayor de Blasio. The race cost the city $17 million.[34] He was certified and sworn into office on March 19, 2019.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Williams was diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette syndrome while a child.[35] He uses his public platform to advocate for others afflicted with the diseases, and potentially inspire others that diagnosis does not have to be a barrier to success.[35][36][37][38][39]

Williams is a Baptist.[40] He has frequently pointed to his religious beliefs as influencing his personal views on issues such as LGBTQ marriage and abortion, but has been able to reconcile those personal views with his political role in support of marriage equality and a woman's right to choose.[40][41][42] Williams has an 80% rating from the Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund.[43][44]

Electoral history[edit]

Election history
Location Year Election Results
NYC Council
District 45
2009 Democratic √ Jumaane D. Williams 36.50%
Kendall Stewart 25.48%
Sam Taitt 16.56%
Dexter A. McKenzie 11.56%
Ernest Emmanuel 5.73%
Erlene King 4.18%
NYC Council
District 45
2009 General √ Jumaane D. Williams (D) 76.65%
Kendall Stewart (I) 17.25%
Salvatore Grupico (R) 6.11%
NYC Council
District 45
2013 Democratic √ Jumaane D. Williams 76.51%
Godwin B. Williams 12.40%
Jean H. Similien 11.09%
NYC Council
District 45
2013 General √ Jumaane D. Williams (D) 96.28%
Erlene King (Rent Is Too Damn High) 3.17%
Lieutenant Governor of New York 2018 Democratic √ Kathy Hochul (D) 53.4%
Jumaane D. Williams (D) 46.6%
New York City Public Advocate 2019 Special √ Jumaane D. Williams 33%
Eric Ulrich 19%[33]
Melissa Mark-Viverito 11%[33]
Michael Blake 8%[33]
15 others together 29%


  1. ^ Fox, Joey. "Quick Rematch in Second Special Election for Brooklyn City Council Seat". Gotham Gazette.
  2. ^ Day, Meagan. ""I Have No Problem Saying I'm a Democratic Socialist"". jacobinmag.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Mays, Jeffery C. (October 23, 2018). "'Even While Losing,' Councilman Sees a Way to Win: As Public Advocate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  4. ^ Jorgensen, Jillian (February 26, 2019). "Jumaane Williams elected public advocate in special election". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Minsky, Tequila. "Jumaane Williams celebrates birthday". Caribbean Life. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Jumaane Williams is the first Grenadian-American elected to political office in New York". Everybody's. September 16, 2009. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011.
  7. ^ Anderson, Lincoln, "Oh, Maane! Williams Crushes Advocate Race," Now Chelsea, Feb. 28, 2019, p.3
  8. ^ "Jumaane D. Williams". New York City Council website.
  9. ^ Brydson, Nicole (January 7, 2010). "Community Activists are Brooklyn's Newest Council Members".
  10. ^ Chan, Sewell (November 5, 2009). "Election Remakes City Council, and May Give It More Bite, Too". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Goldenberg, Sally; Seifman, David (January 1, 2010). "WFP's 'hire' power". New York Post.
  12. ^ "Int 1079-2013 Investigating, reviewing, studying, and auditing of and making of recommendations relating to the operations, policies, programs and practices of the NYPD by the commissioner of the department of investigation". New York City Council.
  13. ^ "Int 1080-2013 Prohibiting bias-based profiling". New York City Council.
  14. ^ Goodman, J. David (27 June 2013). "City Council Votes to Increase Oversight of New York Police". Retrieved 29 April 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  15. ^ Gonnerman, Jennifer (2013-05-12). "114 Minutes With Jumaane Williams". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  16. ^ "NYC Councilman Williams Proposes 'House Party' Legislation". CBS Local New York.
  17. ^ "Mayor de Blasio Signs "Fair Chance Act"". Office of the Mayor, City of New York.
  18. ^ "The New York City Council". New York City Council.
  19. ^ a b The Editorial Board (September 6, 2018). "Opinion: The New York Times endorses Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor in Thursday's primary". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  20. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (September 13, 2018). "Kathy Hochul beats back challenge from Jumaane Williams in lieutenant governor race". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  21. ^ a b @JumaaneWilliams (March 19, 2019). "Finally getting rid of that nagging "Elect." Election's been certified and letter of resignation is in!!! As Stevie Wonder said — ☑️ Signed ☑️ Sealed ☑️ Delivered I'm yoooour voice, NYC. Let's get to work" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ "Jumaane Williams backs Chandler-Waterman to replace him". CSNY. April 16, 2019.
  23. ^ "Farah Louis wins special election for City Council seat". Brooklyn Eagle. May 15, 2019.
  24. ^ "Councilman Jumaane Williams arrested after altercation with NYPD at West Indian Day Parade: cops". Daily News. New York. September 5, 2012.
  25. ^ Williams, Jumaane D. (September 9, 2011). "What happened to me at the parade: City Councilman Jumaane Williams explains how he ended up in cuffs". The Black Institute.
  26. ^ a b "PHOTO: Councilman Roughed Up By Cops During Occupy Protest". HuffPost. September 18, 2012.
  27. ^ "An Open Letter to Occupy Wall Street". Jumaane D. Williams.
  28. ^ Paybarah, Azi. "Video shows Councilman Jumaane Williams getting pushed off a bench". Politico PRO.
  29. ^ Anderson, Lincoln, "Oh, maane! Williams crushes advocate race," The Villager, Feb 28, 2019
  30. ^ The Editorial Board (February 21, 2019). "Opinion: Jumaane Williams for public advocate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  31. ^ Marans, Daniel. "Democratic Socialists Endorse Cynthia Nixon For Governor Of New York". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  32. ^ Jorgensen, Rocco Parascandola, Jillian. "Jumaane Williams, councilman running for public advocate, was arrested in 2009 argument with girlfriend". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  33. ^ a b c d "Ju the maane! Williams romps in advocate race". The Villager. 27 February 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  34. ^ Matthews, Karen. "Jumaane Williams Wins Race for NYC Public Advocate". NBC New York. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  35. ^ a b "About". Jumaane Williams for NYC Public Advocate. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  36. ^ Williams, Jumaane (August 30, 2018). "Speaking about my #Tourettes, identity politics and what that means for the LG officehttps://twitter.com/NYNOW_PBS/status/1035235636729536517 …". Retrieved August 22, 2019. External link in |title= (help)
  37. ^ "Jumaane Williams talks about Tourette syndrome". Jumaane D. Williams. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  38. ^ "Councilman with Tourette's is a Spokesman for Reform". August 30, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  39. ^ "13 fast facts about Jumaane Williams, the new public advocate". am New York. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  40. ^ a b Goodman, J. David (January 22, 2018). "Brooklyn Councilman Took on the Police. Next Up: The Governor". Retrieved August 22, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  41. ^ Schindler, Paul. "The Evolution of a Brooklyn Progressive". Gay City News. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  42. ^ Pazmino, Gloria. "In crowded speaker's race, one councilman's conservative views may be a deal breaker". Politico PRO. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  43. ^ "Is Jumaane Williams made of Teflon?". CSNY. February 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  44. ^ "Ratings". plannedparenthoodaction.org. Retrieved August 22, 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kendall Stewart
Member of the New York City Council
from the 45th district

Succeeded by
Farah Louis
Preceded by
Corey Johnson
New York City Public Advocate