More than 2.3 million Latinos call New York City home. They live in every borough and every neighborhood in the city: from Jackson Heights to Washington Heights, from Parkchester to Port Richmond, from Sunset Park to Bedford Park. Over the course of several decades they have rebuilt communities, opened new businesses, changed the way we eat and speak, and become integral parts of the fabric of New York City. Now, more than ever before, you are as likely to hear New York City described not as the Big Apple but as La Gran Manna.
Because Latinos now occupy such an important role in the daily life of the city, it is important that our political leadership understand and respond to the manifold challenges facing our community. This is an election year in New York and one that promises significant changes to the political landscape. Not only will we welcome new members of the City Council but also a new Comptroller, a new Public Advocate, and perhaps most significantly, a new Mayor.
As we have watched the electoral process unfold we have been heartened by the amount of attention that the candidates have been paying to Latino voters. But we worry also that while candidates may recognize the value of the Latino electorate, they may not fully grasp the scope of the challenges that Latino families, businesses and seniors face in New York City.