Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa Makes History

Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, the first Dominican-American woman elected to the New York State Assembly, held her swearing-in ceremony at P.S. 48. (Photo via Manhattan Times).

Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa is the first Dominican-American woman elected to the New York State Assembly and also the first woman to represent the 72nd Assembly District, which covers parts of Washington Heights and Inwood. Her emotional swearing-in ceremony was held at Upper Manhattan’s P.S. 48, P.O. Michael J. Buczek School, on Jan. 6, reports Robin Elisabeth Kilmer in the Manhattan Times.

“History will show you that Northern Manhattan has had people working together for the past 40 years,” noted Assemblymember [Herman] Farrell. “We have accomplished things other people haven’t because we work together.”

“The bad thing is that she’s leaving me,” he added, referring to Rosa’s tenure of over a decade in his office. “Gabriela makes integrity the most important thing she’s done.”

More than 300 people filled to capacity the seats at the school’s auditorium and other “hundreds of well-wishers stood in the back, and filled the aisles.”

Rosa took the oath of office with her son, Victor, who held the microphone (Photo via Manhattan Times).

Yhanka Vargas and other volunteers from the Northern Manhattan Democrats for Change club had gone door to door to get out the vote during the primaries.

“We’re so proud of her. She never gave up,” said Vargas.

“The power of one voice can change the whole world,” said State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who had also thrown his support behind candidate Rosa early in the 2012 primary. “Your voice is powerful and independent.”

“Northern Manhattan has been sending a message loud and clear,” added Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez. “It is a day of hope.”

According to the article, Rosa arrived in New York in 1994 at age 27 and spent time as an undocumented resident before becoming a citizen in 2005. She was a constituent liaison in Farrell’s office and a member of Community Board 12.

Rosa had an unsuccessful bid for State Assembly in 2010, but did not let that stop her. She ran again in 2012, when she enjoyed the support of many, including the Northern Manhattan Democrats for Change and The Barack Obama Democratic Club (BODC) of Northern Manhattan.

Obie Bing, BODC Vice President, stood in the auditorium.

“We’re happy to see Gabriela get elected,” said Bing. “She’s got dedication and integrity. She is hardworking and tireless. This is something she’s ready for.”

Other elected officials who attended include Rep. Charles B. Rangel; Senator Charles Schumer; State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; Borough Presidents Scott Stringer and Ruben Diaz Jr., former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill De Blasio.

“Today is a great day,” said Sen. Schumer. “You have broken a glass ceiling.”

He referred to the founding fathers of American democracy. “If Ben Franklin, George Washington or Thomas Jefferson were looking down on this, they would be smiling.”

Congressman Charles Rangel also spoke to a sense of national identity. “She is a symbol of what this country should stand for,” said Congressman Rangel. “This election means so much to children who have so little.”

State Comptroller DiNapoli made note of the other significance assigned to the day.  “It is the feast of the Three Kings Day, but you are our Queen,” he said.

Rosa was inducted by Manhattan’s newest Surrogate Court Judge Rita Mella, who is the first Latina and Dominican woman to serve in that court.

“My story is similar to many here,” [Rosa] said, addressing the largely immigrant audience. “Beginnings are never easy, but I knew if I worked hard, things would change for the better. I am a product of this country.”

As she concluded her address, she asked her son, Victor, to stand.

“I dedicate this victory to my son,” she said, “and to every child, I would like to say that in this country, anything is possible.”

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