We need elected officials who are beholden to and committed to the working people of this borough and this city. Those that have too often been left out and ignored, must be centered. That is what this campaign is all about.
Growing up in Lafayette Gardens, a NYCHA development in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, I have experienced many of the same hardships as those I want to empower as Queens Borough President. When my family first moved into Lafayette Gardens, it was well-kept, and seemed like a great stepping stone to a better life; however, over the years, as the federal, state, and city government decreased funding for public housing, things changed seemingly overnight. What was once a decent place to live became a nightmare, with broken elevators, filthy staircases, and lack of repairs; yet the community surrounding my housing development flourished. As we watched Atlantic Yards, Metro Tech and later on, the Barclays’ Center being built, Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hills, and Fort Greeen became gentrified, displacing thousands, while the promises of jobs to the residents in my community were consistently broken.
As a community organizer, first with Students First, and now with the Justice For All Coalition, and a co-host of the weekly TV show, 1NYCHA, I have dedicated my life to ensuring that this same scenario does not keep playing out in our communities. I have witnessed the devastating effects of decades of disinvestment in NYCHA developments like Queensbridge, Ravenswood, and Astoria Houses, yet at the same time, private developers, with the shameful support of elected officials, have continued to prosper, with no regard for the needs or desires of the everyday folks in the communities. In this day and time, as so many of us are suffering financially and emotionally due to Covid-19 and institutional racism, Queens needs to move in a different direction, and that is what my campaign is all about.
As the Queens Borough President, I will be able to amplify the issues that matter most to everyday folks throughout the borough and the city, and work to address them. Being a politician was never a goal of mine, and yet running for QBP in 2021 is a natural progression of my personal history and the community organizing work I have done. Too many times, I have brought concrete evidence about what policies are failing or how development will have negative results for community members and what changes must be enacted to secure better futures for all – and too many times, those concerns have fallen on deaf ears. It is time for a change. We need elected officials who will not be bought and owned by the real estate industry and/or financial sectors, and the political machines that cater to them. We need elected officials who are beholden to and committed to the working people of this borough and this city. Those that have too often been left out and ignored, must be centered. That is what this campaign is all about.