Whether from across the George Washington or from across borders, the bridges of Inwood and Washington Heights feel symbolic.
Northernmost Manhattan is surrounded by 14 miles of waterfront, and serves as a diaspora 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. NYC is NYC because of its small business owners, and they want a leader who will support them. Residents want to ensure they won’t be pushed out of the neighborhood they built by gentrification and rezoning, and to prioritize public services like schools, mental health clinics and immigration support. What issues does the State Assembly District 71 leader need to address?
Issue #1: 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.
Issue #2: 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 #3: Mental Health Services
Being an immigrant in America is extremely stressful as these populations are Other-ed and villainized as the onus of our country’s social and political ills, and in turn, is causing undue depression and anxiety throughout these victimized populations. As individuals and organizations stand up for the rights of the undocumented who are the backbone of our city and curators of our culture, we must provide quality and affordable mental health and other public healthcare services within a community where mental illness is stigmatized. As much as these populations have contributed to our society, we must give back in return by ensuring a high quality of life.
Will the State Assembly 71 representative address the growing needs of this community? Learn more about Democratic candidates Guillermo Perez, Al Taylor and Luis Tejada and get informed about 2018’s New York State elections at racetorepresent.com.