Anna Dioguardi from Queens Community House and Martha Chávez from NICE. Photo Javier Castaño

Over sixty immigrant community members living in the 39th Assembly district gathered at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights to develop a pro-immigrant, pro-worker platform for New York State.  The event was organized by eight local eight local community based organizations including: Adhikaar, Alianza Ecuatoriana , Chhaya CDC, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) , New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), New York Civic Participation Project (NYCPP), The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC),  Queens Community House, Queens Pride House, and South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!)

Gerardo Llanque, NICE Member, sharing his experience with fraudulent employment agencies in our community. Photo courtesy.

During the forum, community members discussed an array of issues that affect low-income families in the district and identified a number of issues that, if elected, the candidates running for the 39th NY State Assembly District should consider in their legislative agendas. Among the issues discussed at the forum were affordable housing, consumer rights, funding for after school programs and youth services, and funding for adult education.

Immigrant New Yorkers shared the pains of the economic downturn, which has affected nearly every community in our city with uncertainty, unemployment, and cuts in critical services.

“The Community Forum brought together voters and non-voters alike, sending a clear message to those that wish to represent us that immigrants are organized in the district and talk with a unified voice” says Juan Carlos Perez, NICE’s Civic Engagement Coordinator.

“Now that we have a unified platform, voters should exercise their right to vote while nonvoters can continue to educate voters, so that together we may elect candidates willing to work with our community,” says Walter Sinche, Executive Director of Alianza Ecuatoriana Internacional.

Forum participants came up with a pro-immigrant, pro-worker platform that will be delivered to local candidates early next week. A platform outline is included below.

The Platform to be submitted to candidates will includes issues surrounding:

o       Access to affordable housing

o       Need for more after school programs

o       Need for more daycare centers

o       No cuts to student metro cards

o       Better transportation – No fare hike

o       Public school closings for Muslim religious holidays

o       Support for adult English classes

o       Wide service in more languages at Elmhurst hospital

o       Protection for consumers

o       Re-locations in Willest Point

o       Assistance for small business owners