Tribute for David Dinkins

With tremendous sadness, we acknowledge the loss of former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who died yesterday at 93 years old. As the first African American to serve as mayor of New York City after his election in 1989, he launched the Beacon initiative to foster community involvement with the hope of reducing tensions and increasing peace. Dinkins signed a deal with Disney, which led to a Times Square renovation, taking a once undesirable area to the iconic status that it now holds. Thanks to his economic development vision, Times Square now draws millions of visitors from across the globe.

At the beginning of his term, Dinkins diligently worked with community leaders to rescue Freedom National Bank of New York, which was co-founded by Jackie Robinson and rose to prominence as one of America’s largest Black-owned banks. The bank eventually closed its doors yet remains a vibrant piece of Harlem history.

After his mayoral tenure, Dinkins continued to use his platform to host important discussions on the challenges that faced our nation. In addition to hosting a radio show “Dialogue with Dinkins,” he also joined the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where he spearheaded the annual David N. Dinkins Leadership & Public Policy Forum.

We are grateful for the decades of support that Mayor Dinkins has shown the Foundation as a champion of our mission. On behalf of the entire JRF family, we extend our deepest condolences to his family on this incredible loss.