New York Leaders Vow to Protect Immigrants

Melissa Mark-Viverito (Photo by Thomas Altfather Good, Creative Commons license)

Melissa Mark-Viverito (Photo by Thomas Altfather Good, Creative Commons license)

New York’s Democratic leaders, from Governor Cuomo to Mayor de Blasio, agree that, after Donald Trump’s victory, it is now essential to join forces to work for a satisfactory transition of power for the benefit of the country. However, they also pledge that they will continue to defend the values that have characterized the nation in defense of equality.

Several New York politicians expressed this sentiment at the Somos el Futuro Conference – “We Are the Future” – held until November 13 in Puerto Rico, in which New York leaders, activists and personalities are discussing ideas to push the state forward.

“We still do not know the implications that this will have for New York City, but we do know that our city will continue to be an unwavering beacon of hope and optimism for the nation and the world,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told El Diario from Puerto Rico.

“We are and will continue to be a city that respects and protects immigrants, people of diverse religions and races, LGBT New Yorkers. A city that values the empowerment of women and of all our communities,” said the Puerto Rican leader, adding that her colleagues at the Council will continue to work to reaffirm that “we are a city that belongs to all.”

Mark-Viverito, who actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton, took the time to congratulate the winning candidate and stressed the value of democracy. “Even in the midst of this profoundly painful moment for many people, peaceful transfer of power continues to be the foundation of democracy in the United States. Donald Trump will become our next president, and we wish him the best because the success of the president of everyone’s success.”

The leader of the State Assembly, Carl Heastie, also said that, notwithstanding the political outcome, he will continue to promote initiatives that immigrants are hoping will see the light.

“Next year, we will continue to advocate for the issues that New York’s Hispanics value the most. We will make sure that our schools have total financing and that higher education is within reach of all New Yorkers by ensuring that the DREAM Act is passed, which remains a priority,” said the legislator.

“As we prepare for the next legislative session, this conference will offer the inspiration and direction that the Assembly majority will use to build on our achievements and to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to ascend in the ladder of economic opportunity and reach the American Dream,” added Heastie, who praised the event being held in Puerto Rico.

The new Consul General of Israel in New York, Dani Dayan, born in Argentina, also attended the Somos el Futuro Conference and emphasized that one of his priorities is to strengthen ties with the Latino community and with immigrants.

“The unique relationship between Israel and New York’s Latino communities is highly important for [Israel] but also very close to my heart,” said the diplomat. “Building bridges between Israel and the Latino world is one of my life goals,” he concluded, as he pointed out that, alongside a commission of experts, he will offer more assistance on public health issues such as the fight against Zika.

Assemblyman Marco Crespo and newly-elected politicians Congressman Adriano Espaillat and State Senator Marisol Alcántara were among the New York leaders who attended the conference in San Juan.

Heastie emphasized the importance of this conference by saying that, since its creation, “Somos el Futuro has played a vital role in the political formation and objectives of the New York State Assembly by offering a platform for public officials, activists and other professionals to meet and discuss the challenges faced by New York’s diverse Hispanic community.”

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