Eric L. Adams, the 61-year old former police officer and Democratic State senator, has become the first vegan mayor of New York City. This is the second “first” Adams has achieved. In 2014 he became the first person of color to be elected as the Brooklyn Borough President, a position he was still holding when he won the mayoral elections on 3rd November 2021.
After being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, he became vegan in 2016 mainly for health reasons. In a statement, he said “Throughout the campaign, I’ve spoken repeatedly about my health journey. I was able to reverse my type 2 diabetes, which changed not only the trajectory of my life but also my career as a public servant. I am now committed to spreading that message and empowering New Yorkers in every zip code to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Adams celebrated his electoral victory by eating the Plant-Based Mayor’s Wrap at Marinello’s Gourmet Deli in Brooklyn. Developed by Plantega (a food justice initiative) it’s made with Just EGG and potato-based vegan queso by LOCA Foods.
Playing the vegan intersectional card in his new job will be easier for him. Adams will appear in the upcoming film They’re Trying to Kill Us which looks at the intersections of diet, poverty, and systemic racism. As a former police officer, he founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an organization that stood against racial profiling and fought for criminal justice reform. He also worked to implement Meatless Mondays at 15 schools in Brooklyn, a program to help children gain access to plant-based foods. Adams also led Resolution 238, which called upon the Department of Education to remove processed meat from public school menus.
Son of a butcher who struggled with alcohol abuse, when he officially announced his candidacy for NYC mayor in November 2020, Adams said: “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.”
“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.”As a vegan who entered veganism via the gateways of health and social justice, I hope that, in his new important role, Adams will now explore the other dimensions of this philosophy — namely animal rights and the environment. This year New York City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation that banned the sale of foie gras in the city from 2022. I hope more news like this will be reported during Adam’s mayorship.