New York City Mayor Eric Adams administration can expect a lot of local pushback if it’s aiming to build 500,000 housing units in the next ten years – more than doubling the rate of production. But maybe churches, mosques and synagogues can play a mediation role in those development battles? Ingrid Lewis-Martin, chief adviser to the mayor, raised the idea Tuesday in her keynote speech at a Building Bridges interfaith event, co-hosted by City & State, Teach NYS and the Orthodox Union. NIMBYism is a problem, when New Yorkers don’t want newcomers in their neighborhoods, Lewis-Martin said, and fears of gentrification and displacement are a real concern too. “In both scenarios, it becomes a divide between the social classes. And sometimes it’s just flat-out racism,” she said. “Faith-based institutions can be instrumental in building bridges in providing counseling and interfaith partnership events like today, in which participants will see that human beings have more in common than what separates them. … When faith based leaders use their voice to decry hate and racism, movements are created.”
The event also featured panels on private religious schools in New York, and on protecting houses of worship from hate crimes. Orthodox Union hosted an event Monday where Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new Hate and Bias Prevention Unit in her office.
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