My mother’s family had lived in Harlem all of their lives. But when I was born, my mother was forced to acknowledge the injustice that was New York City public schools. She knew that she could not take a chance with her son’s education. She used every dollar that she had to move out to a neighborhood with a great public school system. I have since returned to my home, Harlem, and found that some things have not changed. I know we can do better.
I am running for City Council in Harlem because our community should not be forced to make the decision my mother made so long ago: to stay and accept over-priced housing, under-funded schools and minimal job opportunities; or to move elsewhere. I know that we have a chance to create many jobs by working with small businesses to ensure they hire our neighbors and life-long residents, just as I have advocated throughout my career as a teacher and lawyer.
For me, this fight is personal. Every Harlemite deserves the opportunity to receive a great education, a great job and affordable housing right here. To make that happen, Harlem needs elected officials that reflect the values of our community. As an advocate for our neighborhoods, I was honored to represent our residents. That is why I went to court to end a rent scam operated by a State Senate candidate running in our district. And that’s why I’m running today.
I hope to serve on your City Council to help Harlem get the resources it needs and the leadership it deserves. Please show your support by learning more about and donating to the campaign and showing up to vote on November 7, 2017!
We will not accept a 12% effective unemployment rate, which we understand is much higher in reality and has persisted for decades. We have created a plan with the local business community to incentivize hiring, as it must be our community members that benefit from neighborhood economic activity. We are committed to substantially decreasing the unemployment rate in Harlem in the face of all challenges.
We will bring quality to schools in Harlem. The school I would have gone to had my mother stayed in Harlem is ranked 1984th on schooldigger. The classroom that I taught in did not even have an air conditioner. We can and will do better. As an educator, I believe in goal-driven planning, data-driven instruction, instilling confidence in our students that they can do the work, and pairing that with career opportunities in the future. We know what works for our children, but we have to do the hard work to make sure that they succeed.
We have a crisis around Harlem residents not being able to afford their housing. Harlem has seen one of the sharpest increases in rental and housing prices of any district in New York City. Although Harlem has always had an iconic history, it recently has become a hot spot to live, creating less housing supply in the market. Any initiative that creates new “affordable” housing for our residents must ensure that program income thresholds are commensurate with the median income of
$34,365 in Harlem so that our community members have reasonable access to this improved housing supply. We also believe that lowering the unemployment rate will help ensure Harlemites can afford these increases in rent.
We are unabashedly in support of the LGBTQ community. We spoke at length about the ways that we can help all communities during our Equality Coalition debate on January 11th. I have listened to individuals in our community who have been affected by recent hate crimes and all agree that a combination of changing hearts and minds with effective policy (such as placing NYPD in areas where hate crimes are on the rise) is the strongest way to move forward. With these sorts of partnerships, we will create new possibilities for ALL members of Harlem's vibrant community.
Where New York is Headed
We are working with various community health organizations to address areas of concern, including maternity health, breastfeeding initiatives, and substance abuse treatment and prevention. Our Community Health Advisor has reached out to over 30 organizations, and we believe it is this type of broad, open communication that is the first step in achieving true community health.
We are in full support of New York State policies regarding:
-Having one of the toughest gun laws in the country
-Supporting a woman's right to choose
-Supporting Governor Cuomo's NY's first ever Clean Energy Standard
-NYC as a sanctuary city
-Right to know / Consent to search policies and procedures