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Our Platform

Council District 7 is in crisis and our politicians are not standing up for us. We need true representation in government. We need a council member that will fight for the people.

Housing as a Right

We need to put New Yorkers above developers and profit because everyone deserves the opportunity to live in a dignified place. Housing is a right and nobody should be unable to afford a place they call home.

Council District 7 is facing a housing crisis, which disproportionately affects working class communities of color. Living in Harlem my whole life, I have seen increasing rent, rezoning that has led to gentrification, and politicians who have failed communities like mine. We need to act now against greedy developers and those in power who are selling out our communities!

Public housing complexes are deteriorating, tenants are being ignored, and housing is no longer affordable for average working class tenants. Despite the current conditions of public housing, we must recognize its benefits and potential. Public housing is the last source of reliable affordable housing for New Yorkers. It is unacceptable that 56 percent of New Yorkers pay more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent and 22 percent of them pay more than half of their incomes on rent. Rather than privatizing public housing, we should be funding and expanding it.

We need to fight to put our communities above profits. We must fully fund and expand public housing and give democratic control to public housing tenants. We must also have more transparent and democratic rezoning processes. We need to hear from the working class, which is disproportionately affected, before we allow developers to come into our communities. We need to secure permanently affordable housing for all working class New Yorkers.

Education For All

In Council District 7 public education is extremely vital for our children and high-quality public education is, more than ever, necessary in our underfunded working class communities of color.

Public education should be fully funded and desegregated, and all students should have accessibility to enrichment programs. Growing up in the NYC public school system I have firsthand seen how segregated the system can be. In one of the most segregated school systems in the country, working class students of color do not receive the same quality education and opportunities that they deserve. We need to take funding out of our racist police system, the NYPD, and provide it to schools in working class communities so that a child’s zip code does not define their academic future. We need to diversify the amount of students that attend specialized high schools, in order to allow students in the surrounding communities to have the opportunity to attend as well. However, most importantly, we need to provide resources and funding to non-specialized high schools so that all high school students have an equal opportunity at receiving quality education and preparation for college. Every public school should provide students with updated materials and free SAT/ACT testing preparation, so every student has the opportunity to attend the college of their choice.

Additionally, at school, to ensure a child’s health and well-being should be our priority. This is why it is critical that we demand that the Department of Education (DOE) provides enough funding so every school can have a nurse, a social worker, and can provide healthy lunches. I will also demand that the DOE provide enough funding to public schools so that no school can go without a library, students can receive quality physical education, a quality arts education, and a quality civics education. The children of New York are our future and more than 50 million children go through our public school system to receive an education. We need to fully fund our public schools and truly provide a quality education for the future of our city.

Environmental Justice

We are facing a climate crisis and we must act now to protect the most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and impacted by climate change. Environmental justice must be at the forefront of our legislation to ensure that we have a sustainable future for all New Yorkers. It's time for a Green New Deal for NYC, for a more just, sustainable, and equitable city.

As a City Councilmember, I will fight to:
• Pass a Green New Deal for NYC that will reduce the city's emissions, address issues within NYCHA (through a comprehensive GND for NYCHA proposal), create quality green jobs with union access, and create green spaces.

• Pass a Green New Deal for public schools where we fully fund and provide all students with high quality, hands-on science instruction and exposure to climate science.

• Advocate for and work towards Public Power, where we will have publicly owned, democratically run utilities that are reliable, affordable, and renewable energy.

• Transition towards completely energy efficient public transportation and completely replace all buses with electric-powered buses.

• Advocate and support the Renewable Rikers plan for renewable energy and a wastewater treatment facility. This plan would be an example of a just transition where, through restorative justice, we are addressing the climate crisis in a just and equitable way.

• Support and enforce the Climate Mobilization Act, that would help us move towards a zero-carbon city.

• Support and advocate for Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ proposal for municipalizing NYC’s electric grid that will allow us to begin a transition towards renewable energy.

• Advocate and work to create rooftop solar panels and more community gardens.

• A just economic transition with job trainings and access to quality, green, and union jobs where we prioritize working class communities of color.

• Ensure that every New Yorker has access to healthy, climate-friendly food, as this is a crucial step towards making progress on environmental, health, racial, and food justice.

• Eliminate food deserts by providing working people with access to fresh locally sourced food.

• Awareness campaigns in partnership with the community to ensure that residents understand the importance of climate justice and join the movement towards an environmentally just NYC.

• Promote community composting and recycling, while ensuring that every community has access to trash, composting, and recycling bins.

• Decommission existing fossil fuel infrastructure and oppose all fossil fuel infrastructure, while advocating for renewable energy sources to ultimately transition towards a carbon neutral city by 2030.

• Ensure we have infrastructure in place to protect our shorelines, while keeping them publicly accessible and away from real estate interests.

• Protect bus lanes and create more bike as well as pedestrian lanes.

• Ensure that everyone, especially the most vulnerable, have access to cooling centers, ACs, and public spaces like pools and parks.

• Promote open streets and create more green spaces.

• Ensure we are centering the voices and experiences of frontline communities as we co-create environmental justice legislation, because for too long our government has ignored us. There is no justice without environmental justice!

A City Hall for the People

We need to ensure that the voices of the working class are finally heard at City Hall. We need to ensure that our representatives are ready to stand up to corporate greed, fight the establishment, and build a working class movement that is ready to fight for the interests of the many. This is why we need a City Hall for the people.

The 99% is being ignored at City Hall. Our politicians are failing us. Workers continue to struggle to make a living in one the wealthiest cities in the world. As a city council member I will fight for a City Hall for the people. We will use legislation and constituent services to ensure that New Yorkers have the tools and resources necessary to organize within their communities and workplaces. While organizing for environmental justice, women’s rights, and tenants’ rights it was clear that when average people organize we begin to democratize and transform our communities. With a City Hall for the people we will work closely with mass working class organizations. We will be fighting under a platform that is ready to fight for truly affordable housing, pass single-payer health care, and for a working class revolution.

A Humane Criminal Justice System

It is time that we transform our criminal justice system. Currently our criminal justice system protects private property instead of people of color and working class people. We must end the criminalization of our communities, end over-policing, end mass incarceration, demand police accountability, and invest in our communities.

Our criminal justice system is rooted in racism and the marginalization of people of color. While in the streets protesting police brutality and demanding justice, it was clear that we must end the over policing of our communities. There is no reason why being black, brown, or poor should be a crime. Nobody should be targeted or harassed by police for the color of their skin or social status. Reform will not fix this, we need to completely transform our criminal justice system to a more humane system and begin to invest in our communities.

We will fight for and demand that:

  • We defund the NYPD and instate a hiring freeze and a reduction in officer overtime spending.

  • We protect people from the excessive use of police force and restrict the standards for use of force and ban chokeholds.

  • We disarm the NYPD and immediately stop providing military equipment such as pepper spray, tear gas, and long range acoustic devices to the police.

  • We decarcerate by permanently closing Rikers Island and opposing the construction of new jails. The solution should focus on ending “broken-windows” policing and the school to prison pipeline, which disproportionately targets working class people of color.

  • We support the state legislature’s repeal of 50-A, which currently allows for police misconduct to go unchecked. Now more than ever, when communities of color are being threatened by police brutality, we need to keep police accountable.

  • We remove the NYPD from schools and parks.

  • We expand community oversight of law enforcement. We will establish an Elected Civilian Review Board (ECRB) with board members elected by members of the community, with the power to use an independent prosecutor to prosecute cases of criminal police misconduct.

  • We invest in youth programs and ensure that every school has a librarian, social worker, and a nurse. We need to end the system that views children of color as criminals.

  • We provide public housing and healthcare for our communities by diverting funds from the NYPD and  taxing the rich to mitigate the conditions in our communities that cause crime.

Immigration Justice

Immigrants are an integral part of our community. Many of our families came to this city in pursuit of a better life. We need to ensure that all immigrant New Yorkers are able to live safely without the fear of deportation or discrimination. Our neighbors deserve to have access to all vital services and resources, particularly as we face this pandemic. This means working together to ensure that immigrant voices are heard and advocated for in our City Council. In Council, I will systematically work directly with immigrant communities, grassroots organizations, and organizations that advocate for the rights of immigrants so that the policies we adopt in NYC reflect the priorities of immigrant New Yorkers. On the federal level, I believe in the abolition of ICE, a moratorium on deportations, and ending the practice of immigration detention. I will work with state and federal colleagues to ensure the rights of all of our neighbors and secure funding for programs that will support immigrant New Yorkers.

  • I will work to make NYC a genuine sanctuary city for undocumented people by preventing ICE from deporting our neighbors and loved ones and halting collaboration with federal deportation programs. We will do this by:
    • Disentangling the relationship between immigration enforcement and the criminal legal system including by ending all forms of collaboration between the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the NYPD, the NYC Probation Department, the Department of Corrections, and other city agencies, expanding on existing detainer laws that limit the scope of this collaboration;
    • Expanding oversight to ensure that the NYPD is complying with existing protocols in this regard to not refer our neighbors to ICE;
    • Closing loopholes that enable ICE to undertake enforcement activities in courts, jails, shelters and other locations in our city;
    • Stopping ICE from using ruses such as impersonating police officers to undertake immigration enforcement;
    • Collaborate with community leaders and local organizations to ensure that “know your rights” information is widely accessible to all New Yorkers in their languages, particularly in light of home raids and ICE activity in our communities;
    • Supporting Int 1092-2018 introduced by Councilmember Menchaca to prohibit NYC from contracting with entities engaged in immigration enforcement;
  • I will work to expand access to and adoption of IDNYC, and expand oversight to ensure that IDNYC is accepted throughout the city as a valid form of identification;
  • I will support efforts to expand access to voting rights for municipal elections to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status and citizenship, so that all members of our communities are able to participate in our democracy.
    • Additionally, I will support Int 1994-2020 (Ampray-Samuel) to expand voter education efforts regarding ranked choice voting, including language outreach efforts for individuals with limited English proficiency.
  • The current COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever how vital it is to have accessible public information available to all members of our communities. We will promote language justice by championing efforts to expand accessibility of translation and interpretation services so all New Yorkers can access the services and information they need. I will:
    • Expand translation and interpretation services so that all New Yorkers can access all public services, public information (including public health information; voting information, and court proceedings in their language(s) of proficiency;
    • Ensure that all city documents are uniformly and predictably available in the languages of widest diffusion in NYC;
    • Fund community-level interpretation and translation services that are culturally accessible;
    • Increase resources for captioning and sign language interpretation;
    • Collaborate with community leaders and community-based translators and interpreters to ensure that resources and services are accessible also to New Yorkers who speak languages of limited diffusion in NYC.
  • Provide additional funding to expand existing programs that provide free legal services, including immigration counsel, to immigrant New Yorkers, and provide funding for deportation defense;
  • Systematically work with community-based organizations and immigrant rights advocacy organizations to ensure that our policies on a city level are upholding the rights of undocumented and other immigrant communities, by incorporating their perspectives and demands into the policymaking process;
  • Support the rights of undocumented workers by working against wage theft and harassment in the workplace by collaborating with with community organizations like Make the Road that advocate and train workers on their rights;
  • Increase adult literacy (including digital) within the immigrant population, including by supporting Int 2221-2021 (Menchaca) which establishes an office of continuing education and adult literacy, including a focus on adult educational programming for the immigrant community. This would help address barriers to accessing vital services;
  • Advance economic justice for immigrant communities by:
    • Supporting Res 1399-2020 introduced by Councilmembers Menchaca and Chin calling on NYS to enable state agencies, municipalities, and authorities to provide state and local public benefits regardless of immigration status;
    • Supporting street vendors, including through efforts to further expand the availability of food vendor permits, creating an office of street vendor enforcement, and establishing a street vendor advisory board, such as through Int 1116-2018 (Chin)
    • Working closely with state and federal elected officials to raise and allocate funding to specifically provide support for undocumented New Yorkers for rent assistance and meeting other basic needs. This funding should be raised through measures including taxes on the wealthy and large businesses;
    • Specifically with regards to COVID-19 response, work with state and federal officials to provide dedicated emergency funding for undocumented communities and ensure that all immigrant New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, have access to social services and stimulus benefits;
      • Support resolutions in Council such as the recently adopted Res 1419-2020 (Moya) which calls on the United States Congress to pass, and the President to sign, legislation that would provide immigration relief for family members who derive lawful immigration status from a frontline worker who passed away due to COVID-19.

Disability Justice

New York must be accessible to all. Our fellow New Yorkers with disabilities, both visible and invisible, must be prioritized as we imagine our transportation, jobs, education, and voting systems, so that all New Yorkers can access all that our city has to offer. People with disabilities are an incredibly diverse group and disability justice is an intersectional issue, coming at the crossroads of racial justice, language justice, gender justice, and class justice. In the same vein, the barriers they encounter are complex and go beyond transportation accessibility. As a fellow activist said, “For decades we have asked for accessibility, now we’re demanding.” It’s time.

As a City Councilmember, I will fight to:

Ensure fully accessible jobs for all, by fighting hiring discrimination against people with disabilities and by incentivizing small businesses to create accessible workplaces. We will do this by:

  • Implementing an oversight committee to hold employers accountable for discrimination against people with disabilities in hiring and in the workplace.

  • Creating a certification process with resources and incentives for workplace accessibility. Support the Empowering Accessibility Program to make establishments accessible for all employees, in order to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This includes: 

    • Limiting high top seating and high ordering counters

    • Implementing ramps and wider walkways

    • Educating staff and managers about the needs of their employees with disabilities to ensure respect

 

Expand access to public transportation, by implementing strong physical and informational accessibility measures. Fewer than 25% of subway stations are fully accessible, and the disparity is even more stark in neighborhoods of color and in poor areas. I will change this by:

  • Ensuring that the 2026 transportation master plan ordered by Intro 1557 has a bold emphasis on accessibility, including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Pushing to expedite the Fast Forward program, ensuring that all subway stations are accessible by 2030 and eliminating accessible transit deserts.

    • Expanding the ledge between the subway car and the platform to allow for full wheelchair accessibility in all cars.

    • Ensuring audio arrival estimates at all subway and bus stops to allow riders who are visually impaired to prepare to board the train or bus.

 

We all deserve to have our voices heard. I will implement comprehensive accessibility measures for voting rights, by:

  • Making all polling locations fully accessible with ramps, wide walkways, and limited wait time.

  • Ensuring that every polling station has auditory voting assistance machines to allow voters who are visually impaired to vote independently and confidentially.

 

I will fight for equal access to education for all students by:

  • Upholding discrimination protections for student admissions and student treatment by their schools.

  • Providing adequate funding to our schools in order to ensure physical accessibility, as well as building access to professional development for teachers to give them the needed tools to meet each student’s needs.

  • Ensuring that our city’s budget prioritizes high quality mental health resources for students with mental and psychological disabilities in order to make school a safe, enriching place for all students. We need trained social workers and health professionals in our schools, not police.

 

I will make our parks more accessible to all by:

  • Renovating water and bathroom stations where needed to ensure accessibility, considering steepness to approach these facilities.

  • Pushing to create Upper Manhattan's universally accessible playground. Currently, accessible playgrounds are in New York’s wealthier areas. Looking to Aidan's Place as a model, centering architects with disabilities and kids with disabilities in its design, we must ensure that all children in our community have access to play.

 

I will ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the arts and culture that our city offers, by:

  • Introducing legislation that will allow free or pay-as-you-wish admission or membership to city cultural institutions for visitors with disabilities and their caregivers.
  • Requiring transparent accessibility information at theaters, museums, and concert halls, and providing incentives to local venues that implement adequate accessibility measures.
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Animal Rights

As the parent of two dogs I believe that all living creatures deserve rights, protection, and justice. For too long, animals, like humans, have been held down by a system of oppression that abuses and exploits them. We must advocate and institute legislation that will ensure legal rights, protections, and safety for all animals.

As a City Councilmember, I will fight to:

  • Increase funding for non-profit animal rescue organizations and increase legal & safety protections for our city's wildlife.

  • Ensure pet-friendly housing for everyone, especially the disabled and our seniors.

  • Support and vote for Intro 1483, that will require that the Department of Homeless Services, in collaboration with the Department of Social Services, develop a plan to accommodate pets of homeless individuals in order to ensure we have pet-friendly shelters.

  • Support and vote for Intro 1465, that would require that the Department of Education to report on humane animal treatment instruction in public elementary schools.

  • Prohibit all NYC public schools from using eggs, live baby chickens ad ducks, or any animal for classroom projects.

  • End factory farming.

  • Support and vote on legislation that would enforce all firework displays to be silent.

  • Support and vote for Res. 1151, that calls on all corporate and government entities to divest from agricultural industries that benefit from deforestation and the acceleration of global warming.

  • Ban the shipment of live animals to NYC through mail.

  • Ban the sale of products that contain animal fur.

  • Make plant-based eating accessible to everyone.

  • Cosponsor and vote for legislation to ban horse carriages in NYC.

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