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National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP)

25 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
800-590-2516

 

Board of Directors
José R. Sánchez
   Chair
Edgar DeJesus
   Secretary
Israel Colon
   Treasurer
Maria Rivera
   Development Chair

Hector Figueroa

Tanya K. Hernandez
 Angelo Falcón
   President

 

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Note: Since we never got a response from NYC Mayor-elect de Blasio to our November 11th open letter to him, I just sent him another yesterday to point out what appears like the beginning of a pattern of his team marginalizing Latino voices during his transition. As you already know, we documented this in the cases of his appointments to his Transition Team and the Inaugural Committee, and now we find that his high priority UPKNYC Campaign Committee on his proposed tax increase on the wealthy for pre-K and after school program, his people did it again! Of the 36 members of this important group, only three of the organizational members have any deep connection to the Latino community (and none of the individual members), making Latino representation in this committee just 8 percent of the total.

 

It is, however, encouraging that of his five appointments to his Administration so far, one, Lillian Barrios-Paoli, will be his Deputy Mayor for Human Service, as well as his support of Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito for the Speaker's post. We also hear that he plans to soon announce (today?) the appointment of Gladys Carrion as Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services. This is good news, but these are early appointments and in the Bloomberg case Latinos wound up in the end being in only 1 of 11 top policy posts, and of 80 commissionerships and other top management positions, only 4 (5 percent) were Latino. A good beginning can cover up a lousy finish in such a process. So while are happy about these initial Latino appointments, it is wise that our community take a "wait-and-see" attitude at this point.

 

But I don't want to be the only one bugging the Mayor-elect about this issue, we need more of our leaders and advocates to let de Blasio know how we feel about the importance of full Latino inclusion in his Administration. You can write to or call him at:

 

The Honorable Bill de Blasio

Mayor-Elect of the City of New York

32 Court Street, Suite 902

Brooklyn, NY 11201

347-746-2455

info@billdeblasio.com

Also copy his press person:

Lis Smith at lis@transition2013.org

 

---Angelo Falcón

 

NiLP Letter 

to Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio

 

December 20, 2013

 

Dear Mayor-elect de Blasio,

 

As you bring the initial phase of your transition to a close, I wanted to point out what to us what appears to be the beginning of a disturbing pattern in your marginal inclusion of Latinos. We have already documented the underrepresentation of Latinos in both your Transition Team and Inaugural Committee. We now note that, whether intentionally or not, this poor representation of Latinos has continued in your naming of the members of your UPKNYC campaign to enact your plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund universal pre-k after school programs.

 

While 35 percent of children under 5 years of age in New York City are Latino, of the 36 individuals and organizations you named to your UPKNYC Campaign Committee, only 3 (or just 8 percent of the total group) have a direct connection to the Latino community (none of the individuals you name, many of whom are celebrities, are Latino).

 

Our purpose is not to impose upon you some sort of Latino quota system in your appointments, but to point out that there appears to be a blind spot by your team when it comes to be more fairly inclusive of Latinos in your planning. Our concern is that this pattern will continue as you make your appointments to policy level position in your new Administration.

 

We applaud your appointment of the highly regarded Lillian Barrios Paoli as one of your Deputy Mayors, but as I pointed out to you in a November 11th letter, of the top 11 executive positions in the Bloomberg Administration, he only had one Latina, a deputy mayor. We expect that, given your public statements supporting the need for diversity in your Administration that you will not be replicating the Bloomberg record of Latino exclusion.

 

We are monitoring your track record with Latino appointments at this early stage to do what we can to point out to you personally the importance of addressing this problem fully to make up for more than 20 years of the marginalization of our community from this city's governance. Your support of Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito is a good sign that you can be a much-needed champion for the Latino community and of your commitment to the value of true diversity for a truly progressive 21st century New York City.

 

I now that you have more than your hands full at the moment, but I hope you are nonetheless listening. We need you to be more attentive to the need to be much more inclusive of Latino voices in your transition as well as in your Administration. This is, after all, a very important part of the new beginning for the city that the people elected you to realize.

 

As always, best wishes for the holidays and what we know will be a glorious inauguration.

 

Sincerely,

Angelo Falcón

President

National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP)