So. Carlina Rivera is running for City Council in District 2. Where I grew up, where I live, where I work. Home. Carlina is a cool lady. She’s young, from the LES, Puerto Rican, grew up with a single mom in affordable housing. In my opinion, she absolutely & totally represents my neighborhood. I’d like her to represent the district.
I tend to think of my district as the same as my neighborhood, but my neighborhood actually has fuzzy borders on the map in my mind. It includes my apartment on 12th street but doesn’t go much further north.. it includes my elementary school on Avenue B and 4th street, my high school on Houston and the FDR drive, friend’s apartments on Stanton, Eldridge, Pitt Street.. it includes the baseball fields on the East River where I had my first kiss with my first boyfriend, and it includes walking under the Williamsburg Bridge.
So when I first saw a map of my district, I was a bit surprised. Surprised that it includes a whole big chunk of Manhattan that I truly wouldn’t know where to find a good take-away Chinese place in, and where there’s a park I cannot enter because I don’t have a key. I was surprised that folks I’ve met who live on 32nd street and 5th ave are part of my local voting body. Surprised, but sort of excited..
See, what I’ve realized, through understanding the size and scope of district 2, is exactly what I was hoping was true – that local politics is a big deal. Local politics in New York City is large scale. It is large scale because we are large scale. And I find comfort in numbers. I find strength.
When we are fighting issues in this country that are ugly at their core, at their root, I am looking to my roots in my community, neighborhood, district.. I am looking for ways to understand home and how we build history. The images and beginnings of this project (a few select pages below) are meant, hopefully, to start to show what local engagement actually looks like. I’m advocating for resistance and radicalism to start within a local system even if we plan and hope to change the system, and for us to continue to choose very wisely who represents our needs, what we stand for, us. Us the neighborhood, us the district, all 160,000+ of us; the size of a friggin’ city ourselves.
– Dakota Scott