Since taking office in January, Councilwoman Julie Won has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with residents of the three NYCHA complexes in her district, most recently on Oct. 5 when she joined her colleagues in government at the Woodside Houses to demand a permanent fix to the heating plant.
The following day, Won learned that the Woodside, Queensbridge and Ravenswood Houses would remain part of her District 26 after the New York City Districting Commission voted 13-1 to approve the twice-revised new City Council maps.
“The second draft gets rid of the oddly shaped crossover District 26 and leaves Woodside’s immigrant communities more intact,” Won said. “It keeps Ravenswood, Queensbridge and Woodside Houses together, giving our NYCHA residents the opportunity to push for greater resources for public housing. It keeps Blissville, a small neighborhood with many environmental concerns and shelter residents, with its natural neighbors in Long Island City and Sunnyside.”
While taking part in a weeklong conference in Seoul, South Korea, in August, Won virtually joined a town hall meeting at the Museum of the Moving Image, where her constituents registered their displeasure with the proposed redistricting that would have placed Roosevelt Island and a part of Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the newly drawn District 26.
“Our district had the highest turnout in the city for public comment after the release of the first draft of the maps,” Won said. “Our neighbors delivered powerful testimonies, many of them staying past midnight to make their voices heard. Upon hearing our outcry, many of the concerns have been addressed by the Redistricting Commission’s second draft of maps.”
She didn’t get everything she was hoping for.
“I am disappointed to see our Tibetan Community Center has been politically separated from the many Tibetans living in Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria,” Won said. “The Tibetan American community has been geopolitically persecuted and has been part of District 26 since the ’90s when they first sought asylum here as refugee seekers. Our Tibetan community should not be severed from the largest Tibetan community center and gathering place in the country.”
Pending final approval by the commission, the lines will be submitted to the City Council early next year, after which they will decide whether to approve them or direct the commission to make further adjustments.
“Ultimately, the decision on the maps will be finalized in February by the Redistricting Commission who will have the final vote,” Won said. “We hope that all the concerns of our community will be addressed, but as a district that has to lose up to 11,000 residents, I understand that the process will be difficult.”