Former Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams was elected as New York City’s first vegan mayor today, defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa. Adams, 61, defeated former NYC sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former City Hall legal advisor Maya Wiley, and former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang in the primary election in July.
Adams and Silwa argued issues like immunization requirements for city workers, strategies for helping NYC’s homeless population, and climate change mitigation initiatives throughout the campaign. Despite their differences, the two mayoral candidates complimented one other on their shared passion for animals. Sliwa, who lives with 16 rescued cats, has been an outspoken advocate for expanding no-kill animal shelters, stopping backyard breeding operations, and prohibiting horse-drawn carriages.
Adams has been vegan since 2016 and contributes his plant-based perspective to the office of mayor, in addition to supporting animal welfare causes.
The First Vegan Mayor of NYC
Adams began his public-service career with the New York City Police Department, where he spent 22 years. As a cop, Adams wanted to make a difference from the inside out, so he created 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group that opposed racial profiling and pushed for criminal justice reform. Adams left the NYPD to pursue a career in politics, and in 2014, he was elected as Brooklyn Borough President for the first time as a person of color.
Adams became a vegan in order to alleviate the horrible symptoms he was experiencing after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. As Brooklyn Borough President, Adams has spearheaded a plant-based medicine program within NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, the city’s largest hospital system, to enable his constituents and fellow New Yorkers take charge of their health.
In May, Adams approved a $10,000 discretionary grant to the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine to encourage plant-based nutrition instruction. The funds were used to help launch the Food as Medicine Initiative, a supplement to the existing nutrition curriculum that teaches future medical professionals about the therapeutic properties of plant-based meals.
Adams also collaborated with former NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to create Meatless Mondays at 15 schools in Brooklyn, a program that the then-mayor expanded to all 1,700 NYC public schools in 2019. That same year, Adams spearheaded Resolution 238, which demanded that processed meats like bologna, pepperoni, and hot dogs be removed from all public school menus in the city.
Using Plant-Based Programs to Improve Health of NYC
Adams will utilize his experience conquering serious illness with a plant-based diet to drive policy in his role as mayor. “I don’t believe the government should tell you what you can have on your grill in your backyard on Saturday. What the government should do is not feed the crises,” Adams told GrubStreet in a recent interview. “So we can’t have a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma and a Department of Education preparing 960,000 meals a day that cause childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma. So what you do with your dollar is up to you. But on taxpayers’ dollars, we should not be feeding a health-care crisis.”
Adams is a published author who recently released Healthy at Last, a book in which he describes his plant-based transformation, discusses the topic of diet-related chronic diseases in communities of color, and includes more than 50 vegan recipes. Adams has also appeared in various documentaries that advocate plant-based living, including the upcoming film They’re Trying to Kill Us, which investigates the intersections between diet, poverty, and systemic racism.
“Like many New Yorkers, my life has been full of struggles. It wasn’t always easy. My mom worked her fingers to the bone cleaning houses to raise six children, all on her own,” Adams stated when he announced his run for mayor last year. “But we persevered—because that’s what New Yorkers do. Now the city is in pain. And I know I can help because I have lived the life of the people who are hurting the most. I have seen what works and what doesn’t in this city. To be truly progressive, we have to fix [the] government and eliminate the inefficiencies that are holding us back.”
Source: “Eric Adams Makes History As New York City’s First Vegan Mayor” by VegNews