I have not seen one statement or comment by any of the elected pols who presumably represent me — City Council Member Annabel Palma, State Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, or Congress Member Joseph Crowley — speaking out against the Administration’s Muslim ban. Neither have I seen or heard anything from the three candidates who have announced their intentions to run for Palma’s open seat in Council District 18: Amanda Farias, Elvin Garcia or Michael Beltzer. I find this particularly unconscionable from pols whose districts are home to, not only a vibrant and growing Muslim community, but immigrants from Mexico; the Caribbean; and Asian, South Asian, African, and Central and South American countries. This section of the Bronx has never been as diverse as it is now. I find it encouraging, positive…and essential to keeping our community strong and stable.
It appears that our elected officials would prefer not to acknowledge these things. Instead, they seem to prefer playing thread-bare and tired political brinkmanship games, or recede into the woodwork where they can hide from constituents and hope they’re not asked to do anything. It could be that new immigrants can be ignored by politicians because they haven’t gained political strength and influence yet. Many of them don’t or can’t vote.
I fear that the message being sent with this deafening silence is one of indifference at best, intolerance at worst. It may not be the rabid, out-of-control, out-of -their-minds, over-the-top intolerance emanating from and permeating the new administration, but, as history has taught us too many times, SILENCE IS COMPLICITY.
We also need to understand this within the context of a government that has done little to nothing to address a racism that continues to victimize our older communities of color, even as it continues it’s centuries old war against indigenous peoples.
This will be an important issue in my campaign for City Council District 18 this year. I’ll be working with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, the BDS Movement, and any other groups fighting for human rights and inclusion.
I stand with all these communities — my neighbors, my friends, my allies, my comrades — in voicing my condemnation, infuriation, and disgust with the direction in which we’re being pushed as a nation. Together we will push back — with or without help from our complacent, complicit “representatives.”