Original Photo credit: Florian M under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license
On Feb. 2, Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang said he took a COVID rapid test and received a positive result. Yang vowed to attend as many virtual events as possible and continue campaigning while in recovery.
“I am experiencing mild symptoms, but am otherwise feeling well and in good spirits,” said Yang. “I will quarantine in accordance with public health guidelines and follow the advice of my doctor.”
This week also saw the beginning of Black History Month. In recognition of the holiday, several Mayoral candidates paused their campaigns
“We recognize that no single person brings about lasting change; rather, every person’s power adds to that of the community to build toward change,” said Dianne Morales. “We see that in the movement for Black lives, which continues to push for Black lives to matter not only in tragedy, but every moment of every day. And we should be clear that Black Lives Matter isn’t a fad — it’s a call to action.”
Meanwhile, Eric Adams referenced numerous African and Black institutions and leaders that have found roots in the city since the late 1780s, such as the abolitionists who founded the African Free School in Lower Manhattan; Harlem’s era of Black art, literature, and music; Jackie Robinson who broke the color barrier at Ebbets Field, and many more.
“Black history is New York City’s History, and the story of our City has always been the story of our people,” said Adams. “So this Black History Month, I hope you’ll join me in honoring our shared commitment to not only learning from our history, but acting upon it as we work towards a more just and prosperous future for all New Yorkers.”
Grand Street Democrats Mayoral Forum: Sunday, Feb. 7, 2 p.m. (Registration link here)
Town Hall on the Future of Food in New York City: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m., NY1 News
Four Freedoms Democratic Club Mayoral Endorsement Meeting: Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:45-8:45 p.m. (Registration link here)
Chelsea Reform Democratic Club Endorsement Meeting: Thursday, Feb. 18, 7-9 p.m. (RSVP link here)
On Jan. 31, the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID) announced their endorsement of Brad Lander for Comptroller.
“We have seen Brad lead with his progressive values in the City Council, and know that he will bring that same bold vision for an accountable and responsive city government to the Comptroller’s office,” the CBID said in a tweet.
West Side Democrats Endorsement Meeting: Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. (Registration link here)
Manhattan District Attorney Race
On Jan. 29, Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Queens) announced his endorsement of Dan Quart for Manhattan District Attorney.
“I’m honored and humbled to have been endorsed by @rontkim for #ManhattanDA,” Quart said in a tweet. “Ron is a progressive champion who has been on the frontlines of the struggle for economic justice. We’re excited to have you with us!”
On Feb. 1, Quart received a second endorsement – this one from nine clergy leaders based in Harlem. The group praised his success for advancing criminal justice reform, citing his work in repealing 50-a and the gravity knife ban.
“Though many people will come into our community vying for our vote, there are few who have put in the work in the way Dan Quart has,” said Reverend Doctor Charles Curtis, “As those who have known Dan for years, we can tell you he is a man of great character and integrity.
“Dan Quart shows up for our community, and he fights for our community. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he was constantly in Harlem, listening to our concerns and doing the work on the issues that really matter. While the pandemic has made it harder to meet with the community, Dan hasn’t stopped fighting for us, be it to hold the police accountable or deliver the relief our families need right now.”
On the same day, criminal justice advocate Gwen Carr announced her endorsement of Alvin Bragg. Carr, the mother of the late Eric Garner, commended Bragg for his efforts to seek justice for victims of police violence.
“I know Alvin. I trust him,” said Carr. “In my view, he is the most qualified person for the job.”
Manhattan Borough President Race
On Jan. 29, the Village Independent Democrats (VID) announced on Twitter that they are endorsing Brad Hoylman for Manhattan Borough President.
On Feb. 1, Ben Kallos officially endorsed a plethora of City Council candidates.
“As a candidate, I seek endorsements,” said Kallos. “But for me, it’s equally important to support other candidates running, especially those running for city council, who I believe in, and who will build a better council.”
Kallos endorsed District 22 candidate Tiffany Caban; District 34 candidate Jennifer Gutiérrez; District 13 candidate Marjorie Velázquez; District 18 candidate Amanda Farias; and District 37 candidate Sandy Nurse.
City Council Races
On Feb. 3, Voters for Animal Rights (VfAR) endorsed Christopher Marte for District 1. VfAR is a Brooklyn-based organization whose mission is to elect candidates with strong stances against animal cruelty.
On Feb. 2, Local 802 AFM, the NYC musicians’ union, endorsed Erik Bottcher for City Council.
The union cited Bottcher’s long history of activism and strong commitment to revitalizing the arts industry in New York.
“He has an impressive track record of community engagement and organizing, advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of marginalized populations, as well as a depth of knowledge and experience afforded to him as the current Speaker Corey Johnson’s Chief of Staff,” Local 802 said in a statement. “His work under Governor Andrew Cuomo to organize across New York State was instrumental in passing the Marriage Equality Act of 2011, preceded by years of activism on behalf of LGBTQ+ and transgender New Yorkers. He has fought for affordable housing and tenants’ rights in District 3, where many of our members also live. He has committed himself to labor rights as well, recently standing in solidarity with Chipotle workers as they walked off the job protesting unsafe working conditions. Above all, he believes in the vitality of arts and arts education.
“We feel he is an outstanding leader to navigate the difficult months and years ahead as we rebuild midtown and downtown as the global hub for music and entertainment.”
On Feb. 2, community activist Andrew Fine announced his endorsement for Julie Menin on Twitter.
“I believe that Julie has the maturity, experience, and track record of success that is critical to the District and the City at this critical juncture,” said Fine. “I have found a candidate that not only shares my core policy convictions, but also sets herself apart from the field on crime, safety, sanitation + quality of life. Julie has already delivered for small business and I am confident she will continue to do so.”
On Feb. 4, Tricia Shimamura unveiled endorsements from more than 50 community leaders, including activists, parents, small business owners and labor leaders.
“Over the last year and a half, my campaign has worked tirelessly to engage voters from all across our district,” Shimamura said. “This incredible group, including young activists, parents, and seniors, represent the strength and diversity of our community. I am honored to have their support and I cannot wait to continue to partner with each of them to be a true neighborhood voice on the City Council.”
On Feb. 1, District 6 candidate Sara Lind announced her plan to economically revitalize Broadway between 59th and 110th Street.
Lind’s plan would turn the area from a stretch of empty storefronts into a thriving cultural center. The plan entails changing zoning laws to make the area more hospitable to businesses and arts centers, creating public pedestrian and green spaces to increase foot traffic, and working with landlords to develop a special art district along the street.
“We have a Broadway that people spend as little time on as possible,” said Lind. “In addition to vacancies taken over by homeless encampments, the streets and sidewalks are in terrible condition because there are no tenants to take care of them, and it’s the districts’ top corridor for injuries and fatalities. Outdated zoning laws are standing in the way of turning a street we avoid at all costs to a street that is the heart of the Upper West Side.”
On Jan. 31, the Disability Visibility Project (DVP) published an interview that they conducted with District 5 candidate Rebecca Lamorte.
Lamorte, who is physically handicapped due to a subway accident seven years ago, talked about the struggle of living in New York as a disabled person, and how that struggle motivated her to become politically active. The interview is available here.
On Feb. 3, District 3 candidate Aleta LaFargue wrote an op-ed for the Gotham Gazette about the need to revitalize New York’s arts and cuisine industries, both of which have taken serious damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Restaurants and the arts aren’t just staples of our neighborhoods, including the communities encompassed in the 3rd City Council District; they’re the cultural and economic lifeblood of our city,” she wrote. “We need a comprehensive plan to revitalize these industries—one that allows them to thrive despite our current reality. Because let’s face it: these industries go hand-in-hand in our West Side neighborhoods, as people usually go out to eat and drink before or after seeing a show. If either one of them fails, they both fail.”