Thursday, June 17, 2021

School -Parent Activist Running for City Council in NYC.

 “The Billionaires Are Nervous. And They Should Be Nervous.”

Portside Date: June 16, 2021

Author: An Interview by Oren Schweitzer

Date of source: June 14, 2021


Alexa Avilés is a longtime community organizer in South Brooklyn. After a decade as president of the parent-teacher association at her daughters’ school, PS 172, she’s running for New York City Council. Endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders, she is running on the New York City Democratic Socialists of America’s (NYC-DSA) DSA for the City city council slate, made up of six DSA members and working-class organizers running on a platform of taking power from the wealthy and giving it to New York’s working class.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a PAC funded by billionaire real estate developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross issued mailers throughout her district, fearmongering around Avilés’s calls to defund the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Avilés is running in City Council District 38 to represent the South Brooklyn neighborhoods South Slope, Sunset Park, Red Hook, and parts of Borough Park, Dyker Heights, and Windsor Terrace. District 38 is a diverse working-class community, with a large population of immigrants and Puerto Rican and Mexican families, as well as being home to Brooklyn’s Chinatown. According to a study of District 38, it has the highest rate of adults without a high-school degree in New York City and half of its single mothers with young children live in poverty.

Jacobin’s Oren Schweitzer sat down with Avilés to discuss the state of politics in New York City, what it’s like to run on a socialist slate for office, and how she hopes to build working-class power.


Why are you running for city council?


I’ve been asked for many years now by community residents if I would consider running. A few years ago, I noticed that despite how high the stakes are for our community, it felt like our leadership was not putting the community first. It was a “put up or shut up” moment for me. I decided to jump in.

I made the decision to run even before the pandemic hit. Our communities were suffering greatly. Our neighbors were being displaced. Every year, we see increasing displacement where poor people and working-class folks could no longer live in the neighborhood.

We’ve seen unemployment and insecurity, stagnating wages, food insecurity. Coming out of the Trump era, families were being detained and deported by ICE. We’re coming out of a time of fear and insecurity. It felt like we needed steadfast leadership that put people over everything else.

DSA member running for city council in New York.



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