(re: “Cabrera: It’s hard to be rich,” Political Arena, July 20)
In recent weeks, my councilman has spearheaded a public campaign against my character and my service to the community. During an interview on Spanish language television, he said I was “not from this community” and that I “have not done anything in this community.”
He reiterated this sentiment through comments to The Riverdale Press.
In light of this, I believe it is best to highlight some of my experiences in the community and how these experiences shape the work I will do in the city council.
As a young boy growing up on Fordham Road, I would translate for my mother, neighbors and family friends when they applied for public benefits. I knew at an early age that it could be difficult to obtain the temporary help one needs when they cannot speak English.
This is why I believe our community boards need to take a more hands-on approach, enlist the services of bilingual residents, and initiate an action plan to help our vulnerable residents access the services they need to survive.
I was blessed to earn a scholarship to college in upstate New York. Though I was physically away from the Bronx, my heart remained at home. As a member of the student government, I secured funds to help start a digital library in the Concourse House, a shelter for women and single mothers.
The computer software I delivered allowed children and their mothers to grow intellectually while having fun using a computer. I believe we need to double down on this, which is why I will spearhead the city’s first coding as a second language initiative in District 14.
Our kids deserve every opportunity to land the high-paying jobs of the future.
Recently, upon completing my service as an advisor in the administration of President Barack Obama, I returned home to find several issues needing immediate repair. I took it upon myself, as an attorney, to hold forums on immigration laws and visit undocumented residents at home to explain what a valid warrant looks like.
I also put a halt to my campaign several times to advocate for Bronx tenants in housing court facing illegal evictions. This is why I will call for more lawyers in our community to work pro bono on all matters that impact us the most.
Growing up in this community was not easy. But this is my home, and I can’t stand to see us fall to displacement and gentrification. The hardworking families that helped stabilize the Bronx deserve a fighting shot at social mobility.
The councilman’s words against me were not just hurtful, but they were not based on fact and have hurt my standing in the community. Rather than hurling accusations against my character, I suggest the councilman work to fix these community issues before the voters of District 14 hire someone new to do the job.
The author is an attorney, and a candidate for New York City Council District 14.