To the editor:
Not long ago, two community organizations active in the Northwest Bronx — Bronx Climate Justice North and North Bronx Racial Justice — took the unusual step of officially endorsing Jamaal Bowman for Congress.
I say “unusual” because these organizations have prioritized social movement organizing and activism over electoral politics. Both organizations, whose combined membership is more than 300, feel however that New York’s 16th Congressional District urgently needs the passionate, activist, justice-driven leadership that Jamaal Bowman would provide.
In the past year, our members have come to know Jamaal as a leader who prioritizes on-the-ground health, housing, education, criminal legal, environmental, economic and racial justice issues that long-neglected communities of the 16th District are crying out for.
We’ve been disturbed to learn that 31-year incumbent Eliot Engel has remained at his home in suburban Maryland since March 27, as reported in The Atlantic on May 14, and worse, has lied about being at COVID-19 relief events in the district.
In the weeks since, the 16th District has been one of the hardest hit congressional districts in New York City, and the nation. While other committee chairs and members of Congress have been hard at work in their districts — shuttling between their districts and Washington, providing leadership, mutual aid, support for beleaguered front-line workers, and comfort and reassurance to constituents — Mr. Engel has not set foot in the district during this historic crisis.
Jamaal Bowman has stood with nurses in Yonkers, helped in outdoor food pantries, and provided the visible, courageous leadership that this crisis demands. We’re proud to support Jamaal. We encourage fellow residents of the 16th Congressional District to phone bank for his campaign, donate any amount large or small (unlike Eliot Engel, Jamaal does not take corporate PAC or lobbyist money), and be sure to apply for your absentee ballot before June 16, to vote for the change we need in the June 23 New York primary.
Please visit BowmanForCongress.com to get involved with Jamaal’s vibrant campaign, and learn how to get your absentee ballot.
The author is coordinator for Bronx Climate Justice North and North Bronx Racial Justice.