I am running to be your District 11 representative on the city council, and I am running because while our district is currently a “majority minority” district, it has never had a minority representing its needs and reflecting its diversity.
While this may seem trivial to many, what it means to me is that our prior representatives have, for decades, not approached the allocation of resources within the district from an equitable lens.
Our district’s children should not have to travel to an out-of-district school to receive a quality education. All schools within our district should have the same level of legislative support and qualified teachers to provide the same level of program access.
Education is a critical requirement for an improved quality of life, and we must ensure that our children are provided with a level playing field that gives them the best chance for future success.
This means that our representatives must fight to ensure that every community — especially those most underserved — receive the equity they deserve.
While trailing many other communities whose indicators are considered the measures of a successful future such as adequate and affordable housing, low unemployment, healthy food options, and voter engagement and participation, the Bronx is the unfortunate leader in many areas that often reflect an adverse future for its residents.
These include poor health care access and outcomes. Inappropriate, unsafe and unaffordable living situations.
Poor educational outcomes. And a disproportionate share of homeless shelters.
The residents of the Bronx deserve better. Better education. Better housing. Better employment opportunities. And so much more.
My mother was my first role model in public service, which started at home. As a single parent, she was involved in the tenants association, worked in my school’s parent association, and helped our neighbors at Manhattan’s Frederick Douglass Houses. I learned early on — and firsthand — about the detrimental effects that the inequitable distribution of resources has on under-represented communities.
My first exposure to community activism was back in 2009 when I helped pull weeds at the Mosholu Library right there on West 206th Street and Bainbridge Avenue. It was awesome because seeing the direct benefit from having that area cleaned out gave me a genuine sense of pride, and the great feeling of giving back to my community.
In 2011, I began my work in politics on the campaign of the then-insurgent Mark Gjonaj. In 2013, I was appointed to the position of male district leader for the 80th Assembly. Acting as the bridge between community and elected officials gave me a new appreciation for the political process.
Moving from grass tops to grassroots, I knew that the area of public service was where I belonged.
I love my community and all of its residents, and I want only the best for them.
We have been hit hard by an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, and economic and other challenges, the likes of which have never been seen before.
As a result, I know we will need a fighter in the city council. Someone who has lived their experiences, has a firsthand understanding of their struggles, and knows what is needed to improve conditions for all of us.
I am that fighter, and that is why I’m running to be your next councilman for the 11th Council District. I thank you, and would be both grateful and humbled to earn your support.
The author is a city council candidate in the June 22 primary.