Road to Justice NYC, a newly formed labor-community coalition led by 1199SEIU, Make the Road Action and Community Voices Heard Power (CVH), announced its latest round of endorsements in three Queens City Council races in Long Island City, Jackson Heights and Flushing on Feb. 23.
In District 26, a seat currently held by term-limited Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the coalition ranks Amit Bagga as their first choice and Jesse Laymon as their second choice. In District 25, currently held by term-limited Councilman Daniel Dromm, the coalition ranks Shekar Krishnan as their first choice and Carolyn Tran as their second choice. In District 20, currently held by term-limited Councilman Peter Koo, the coalition ranks John Choe as their first choice and Sandra Ung as their second choice.
Road to Justice NYC, which formed last year, is backing candidates who stand with its members on their key issues, including delivering urgently needed economic recovery for communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, divesting from police, investing in communities and fighting for immigrant rights.
With all 51 City Council seats up for election, and crowded races for most of the legislative seats, the coalition wants to ensure that Black, Brown and immigrant communities are the priority in this year’s election cycle. They believe that by electing transformative leaders who are committed to shifting politics and power, the city will become more just and equitable.
“Our communities and families have been hit so hard by this pandemic, and we need new leadership that will bring a bold progressive vision to the City Council next year to deliver a true recovery for all,” said Flaviana Linares, a Queens resident and member of Make the Road Action. “Shekar Krishnan, Amit Bagga, Sandy Nurse, Lincoln Restler, Marjorie Velazquez, John Choe, Elisa Crespo and Ischia Bravo are exactly the type of leaders who will govern alongside us — putting our rights, needs and ideas first — and I’m excited to spread the word to voters in our communities to help elect them.”
Bagga, former deputy director of the census outreach who resides in Sunnyside, is running a progressive, solutions-focused campaign. He previously received the endorsement of Senator Jessica Ramos, whose Senate district overlaps with City Council District 26.
“From fighting for just and humane immigration reform, to paid sick leave, to a complete census count of all immigrant and queer New Yorkers, it has been an education of building community power that I’ve received over 14 years from Make the Road Action, and I couldn’t be more honored to have their support, as well as that of the staunch fighters for racial and economic justice at Community Voices Heard Power and 1199SEIU, in our collective onward fight to fund excluded workers, to replace our police state with a peace state, and to truly build a road to justice for all New Yorkers,” Bagga said.
Krishnan, a civil rights lawyer and community activist who calls Elmhurst home, wants to radically restructure the city by utilizing his years fighting alongside vulnerable communities to create policy. He was previously endorsed by Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz.
“The fight for racial and immigrant justice in NYC must center low-income communities of color. The organizations of the Road to Justice Coalition NYC are on the front lines of this fight,” Krishnan said. “Their members, led especially by Black and Brown women, have always been the essential workers and voices of this city. I am humbled and fired up to fight beside them and follow their lead in this collective work. Pa’lante!”
Choe, a community organizer and business leader in Flushing, is running a campaign to tackle multiple issues, including economic development and workers’ rights, transportation alternatives and affordable housing. Choe established the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and was an aide to former Councilman (and current state Senator) John Liu.
“Over the past two decades as a community organizer, I have supported the rights of essential workers, advocated for equal access to government services, and fought against luxury developments in Flushing that only benefit the wealthy and end up displacing low-income people and small businesses,” Choe said. “I have pledged not to take money from real estate developers because I want to be accountable to the everyday people who need affordable housing, quality education and healthcare. As the next Council Member to represent District 20, I look forward to working with the Road to Justice NYC coalition to build power to secure racial, social and economic justice for all New Yorkers.”
Road to Justice NYC previously endorsed Tiffany Cabán for District 22 and Juan Ardila for District 30, as well as several other candidates in City Council races in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
“CVH Power is proud to be at the forefront of supporting candidates who are clear in their commitment to co-govern with and be held accountable by our communities,” said Joseph Mpa, CVH Power Board Chair. “We are excited to be in a relationship with this next generation of political leaders in the making.”