Latinos need someone who represents New York City, who can direct the money that the federal government is providing and allocate it in a responsible and appropriate way that takes Latino communities into account.
Photo: Aurelia Ventura / Impremedia / La Opinion
For generations, Latinos have been told to stay invisible. Whether out of fear of deportation or a reflex to survive, Latinos have been led to believe that we do not deserve the same rights and protections that other communities have been afforded.
Never more. When I first ran for Congress, I knew that one of my top priorities would be to give Latino communities a seat at the table and a voice on the podium. That is why I have fought hard against deportations, using my position as a congressman to keep families together and pass the DREAM Act. That is why I have fought for fair and living wages, immediate and effective investments in affordable housing, meaningful criminal justice reforms, infrastructure improvements, expanded youth programs, and better educational opportunities. That is why I work every day to ensure that our communities have the same access to the COVID vaccine and representation when the aid package was approved.
But despite all of our work at the federal level, New York City has not been a partner or advocate for Latino communities. Latino communities cannot afford to remain silent and out of sight any longer. Latinos in New York City need a mayor who listens to them. We need a mayor who is ready from day one to address all the disparities that this pandemic has created; someone who understands the needs of Latino communities. We need Scott Stringer.
Last month, Scott Stringer published We are with Stringer, a platform and an energetic Latino engagement effort that focuses on putting Latino communities first in the effort to win back New York City from COVID-19. We are with Stringer is a detailed plan that establishes what the Latino communities commit to accomplish in the first 100 days. These include his plan to make tuition free at the City University of New York (CUNY), invest in Latino health, support Latino small businesses, and provide resources for undocumented New Yorkers left behind. of social safety nets. Scott Stringer has a plan for Latino communities.
Not only is Scott Stringer from the community, his family has lived in Washington Heights for decades, but being part of a united Puerto Rican family has made his ties to Latino communities even stronger. Scott Stringer will be a mayor who is ready to build a better future, who understands all five boroughs and who will fight for his family.
Last month officially marked the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Latinos have not only been the essential frontline workers, they have become the essential invisible workers. Where is the help for the assembly line workers who continue to make our products? Where are the rights of construction workers who continue to work in confined spaces? Where is the stimulus check for undocumented immigrants?
Latino communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and in my district, which is nearly 55% Latino, the number of families that have been affected by the virus is staggering. This measure is even more alarming at the city level, where an estimated 30% of COVID deaths in the past year were Latino. And as the alarming percentage of contagion continued to grow, and with children now at home and a family to support without help, many Latinos had to continue working because they did not have the luxury of staying home. For many of them who live paycheck to paycheck, our city offered no support.
In Congress, I worked with my colleagues to ensure my district had access to COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure that Latinos and residents with limited English proficiency were included in our city’s vaccination efforts. When vaccine distribution disparities were first reported at the Armory Track and Field Center in Washington Heights, an area with a population of more than 72% Latino and a surge in COVID-19 cases, I worked tirelessly to resolve the disparity. To date, I am proud to say that we have vaccinated over 75,000 people at this location, 70% of whom are local residents and 100% of whom are New York City residents.
In Congress I also fought to pass one of the most comprehensive recovery bills of all time, but while this is a step in the right direction, we need someone who represents New York City who can direct the money. that our federal government is providing and allocating it in a responsible, appropriate and responsive manner to Latino communities. In New York City that person is Scott Stringer.
Scott Stringer is a lifelong New Yorker who lost his mother to COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. “The loss I feel today is incalculable”, were his exact words during this tragic loss. Scott Stringer is a public school parent who had to adjust to the new realities of having to teach his children remotely. He has a level of understanding of the trauma and devastation that Latino communities have felt that the other candidates do not have.
Latino communities in New York City need a mayor like Scott Stringer, so today I am proud to say We are with Stringer!
-Adriano Espaillat is a member of the US Congress.