Brooklyn Borough President Eric. L Adams is slated to become New York City’s first vegan mayor. Yesterday, the plant-based politician won the New York City primary mayoral election, running against Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and civil rights attorney Maya Wiley. The 60-year-old candidate launched his campaign late last year on the basis of public health, claiming that he hoped to bring health and prosperity to New York City.
“While three are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: a historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City,” Adam released in a statement Tuesday night. “Now we must focus on winning in November so that we can deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are undeserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers.”
Adam, who went vegan in 2016, changed his diet following a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. From that point forward, the mayor-elect has dedicated his political and public life to enhancing the health of New York City, especially within communities of color. Recently, Adams published Healthy at Last which follows his plant-based transition alongside more than 50 recipes and discussions about how communities of color face a disproportionate amount of diet-related chronic illnesses. His political platform has been tethered to the way racism, diet, and poverty intertwine, aiming to help disentangle these systemic issues.
Beyond his book, several documentaries analyzing the relationship between poverty, racism, and diet throughout the United States have featured Adams. Most recently, the upcoming film They’re Trying to Kill Us will dive into the systemic problems that plague both the people of New York City and the entire country.
“Like many New Yorkers, my life has been full of struggles,” Adams said in November. “It wasn’t easy. My mom works her fingers to the bone cleaning houses to raise six children, all on her own. But we persevere – 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.”
While serving as Brooklyn Borough President, Adams introduced New York City mayor Bill de Blasio to Meatless Mondays, which he initially implemented at 15 schools in Brooklyn. By working with de Blasio, Adams increased the Meatless Mondays to include all 1,700 public schools in 2019. The mayor-elect continues to work with programs and initiatives across the city to enhance the health and wellness of all constituents. Beyond Meatless Mondays, Adams distributed plant-based meals to those facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as led a plant-based medicine program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellvue.
“COVID may have made thousands of New Yorkers sick, but for far too many it was inequality and an unjust, indifferent, dysfunctional government that killed them,” Adams said. “We need action and we need it now. The promise of New York has always been – and must always be – that any New Yorker can be who they were meant to be. When we unleashed the potential of New Yorkers by allowing them to thrive, there is no pandemic, no recession, no division that we cannot overcome.”
At the beginning of this year, Adams requested that the Biden-Harris administration promote policies that would encourage plant-based diets as well as support the plant-based market. Alongside the JIVINTI coalition, Adams hopes that President Biden will realize the concerns raised regarding food insecurity, racism, and poverty.
“We must turn food deserts into food oases, particularly in communities of color where nutritional foods are scarce,” Adams said in January. “Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet taught me about the transformative power of what’s on our dinner plate. With the new Biden-Harris Administration in office, it’s time we take this conversation nationally.”
With his new position, Adams’ influence will be broadcast farther across New York City as well as the entire country. The general mayoral election will happen November 2, 2021, but CNN projects that Adams will win, citing that approximately 70 percent of New York City voters are registered Democrats.