Two Queens women were appointed as commissioners to the New York City Civic Engagement Commission by Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday.
Annetta Seecharran, the executive director of Chhaya CDC, and Linda Lee, the executive director of the Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, Inc., were named to the eight member commission out of 300 people who took part in the city’s open application process.
In addition to promoting civic trust and strengthening democracy, the commissioners will be responsible for establishing a citywide participatory budgeting program, providing language interpretation services at poll sites and supporting community boards to help them be more effective and more representative of the communities they represent.
“Our democracy begins with communities large and small, where people come together to tackle important issues in our city,” de Blasio said. “The Civic Engagement Commission will play a crucial role in strengthening this democracy, which is why our appointees have decades of experience elevating the voices of New Yorkers from all walks of life.”
In addition to leading Chhaya CDC, Seecharran was the Director for Policy and Advocacy for United Neighborhood Houses, a Program Director for the International Youth Foundation, and Executive Director of the South Asian Youth Action. She is a current and former member of several local and national boards, and Seecharran was a founding member of the New York Immigration Action Fund. She received her degrees in nonprofit management from bot Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School.
“Every New Yorker should know how, when and where she can influence the decisions that impact her life and her community,” Seecharran said. “I’m deeply committed to ensuring that this Commission builds pathways and removes barriers to increase the civic participation of all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners to ensure this becomes a reality.”
Lee is a member of Queens Community Board 11 as well as a board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City and the Korean Church of Queens. Lee is the National Community Committee Representative at the Center for Disease Control: Prevention Research Center. She was also recognized as a recipient of the Stars Under 40 Awards from Schneps Media. Lee received her Bachelor’s Degree from Barnard College and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University.
“We need public participation in order to create policies and legislation that impact people living in this City, whether it’s related to our schools, social services, transportation services or other areas affecting our daily quality of life,” Lee said. “I look forward to working with our local communities to help them see how they can collectively and individually make their voices heard.”
The Civic Engagement Commission was established after New York City voters overwhelmingly approved three ballot initiative proposed by the 2018 Charter Revision Committee, which included campaign finance reform and community board term limits.