Whether from across the George Washington or from across borders, the bridges of Washington Heights feel symbolic. Northernmost Manhattan is surrounded by miles of waterfront, and serves as a connector between New York and beyond. This is the land of small business owners who are focused on family and community, but when stagnant salaries are struggling to pay increasing rents, entrepreneurs and consumers are affected. This working class community on the edge of the island needs to feel front and center. What are the biggest problems facing District 10?
Issue #1: Pushing Out Mom and Pop
Some of NYC’s biggest businesses started small, and small business is the city’s lifeblood. When you think of the American Dream, you envision a mom-and-pop shop that created a livelihood on its own terms. So what does it say about the American Dream when the city is filled with empty storefronts? If big businesses are allowed financial legal loopholes, why can’t the small businesses that make up the city’s tapestry receive protection to ensure their survival?
Issue #2: Police Encounters
Violent encounters leaving citizens dead or injured at the hands of law enforcement have become regular news. Residents in vulnerable neighborhoods worry if simple interactions with police will turn deadly. De-escalating violence between the state and its citizens is necessary, as law enforcement harming with impunity is just one arm of systemic violence faced by people of color. Striking a balance where residents live free from brutality is literally of life and death priority.
Issue #3: Immigration Issues
Many Latin-American immigrants make their way to upper Manhattan to call home, giving the neighborhood its unique meld of cultures and traditions. But in an era that is increasingly inhospitable to perceived outsiders, protecting immigrants--both documented and undocumented—is imperative to preserve the city’s humanity. It’s important to amplify services available to assist immigrants in their transition and to protect them in their vulnerable state.