The murals and bright colors of uptown Manhattan tell the stories of its culture, and the community is a melting pot of ethnicities within the diaspora where artistic endeavors beam like the Apollo Theater’s neon lights.
But citizens face undeniable job and housing problems and a lack of quality, safe schools to provide havens for kids. Residents want to ensure the next generation carries on the traditions of your neighborhood and to “build people, not houses.” While providing shelter is imperative, investing in people and meeting their basic needs is necessary for reducing inequality. What are the needs of State Assembly District 70?
Issue #1: Equal Education
Harlem needs a better way to educate the next generation. The curriculum needs to be revised and the school-to-prison pipeline disrupted. Schools must focus on jobs of the future, training young people, and ensuring that students are ready to find jobs and lead productive lives after graduation, and provide defense and diversion from street violence.
Issue #2: The Wealth Gap
There exists in Harlem today a deeply unsettling disparity of wealth and income among its residents. Forty percent of children live below the poverty line; while townhomes listed at $4 million are the new normal, low-income people struggle to find safe, clean, and affordable places to live. Although development is great for the health of the neighborhood overall, the economic growth must trickle down to families and individuals who are disenfranchised and find themselves increasingly displaced by gentrification. In addition, work must be done to raise awareness for low-income families and the undocumented about health services that are available to them, because being healthy shouldn’t depend on how much money you have.
Issue #3: Livable Housing
As more luxury brownstones appear on the market, there are ever fewer options for seniors and working class families. Rising prices are forcing these groups to relocate and adopt a lengthy commute, which places pressure on the entire system. These residents need access to affordable housing so they can remain in the neighborhood their energy and perspective helped shape. As new high rises are built, this community wants to have a say in how these buildings are used, becoming more engaged in the city planning process without stifling development.
Will the State Assembly 70 representative address the growing needs of this community? Learn more about Democratic candidate Inez Dickens and get informed about 2018’s New York State elections at racetorepresent.com.