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President’s Letter – The Road Ahead

After last year’s Election Day results, we knew that this year would be a bell-weather of where our nation is headed. The rejection by voters of several candidates who had engaged in ugly anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, may signal we're heading in the right direction. In places such as New Jersey, Virgina and elsewhere, we now have elected leadership that says that they will push for immigrants’ rights, protect access to health care and promote criminal justice reform.

But talk isn't enough. The leaders we elect must be ready to enact policies and move resources to help us meet them. So what comes next?

Here in New York City, where Mayor Bill DeBlasio was elected to a second term on Election Day, Hispanic Federation has created a roadmap that details the specific policy areas and proposals we expect to be at the top of the mayor’s agenda for the next four years. Our report, Somos Nueva York: The Road Ahead for Latino New Yorkers, isn’t a wish list; it’s a realistic and community-created roadmap of the policy areas that have the greatest impact on our communities and what the Mayor and City Council can do to address them.

Let’s be clear, none of the challenges we face will easily or quickly be overcome. Building thousands of units of new affordable housing will take time. Improving the environmental condition of our neighborhoods will take time. Reforming our criminal justice system to keep our young people out of jail will take time. Improving access to health care for our families will take time. And, strengthening our Latino nonprofit sector will take time.

But there is no greater truth that patience without a plan is patience wasted. Somos Nueva York is our plan, for New York City. It is based on the insights and experience of our network of agencies and reflects their real-world assessment of our communities. The policy recommendations we make come from the front lines, and they reflect what we know best.

Our hope is that over the course of the next several months, as City Hall begins to prepare its second term agenda, that it will incorporate Somos Nueva York into its deliberations. We look forward to working with the Mayor and the City Council to implement these policy proposals and have New York serve as a successful model of progressive governance for millions of Latino New Yorkers.

This report will be released and made available to all of you within the next couple of days. We can't wait to get to work with you and show the rest of the nation what our vision for America is.