by Heather Ramirez, setting out her reasons for supporting Samelys.
The Bronx is at a pivotal moment with rising housing costs, gentrification, and most recently COVID-19 drastically devastating our community. It has twice the death rate from COVID-19 than the rest of New York City. The coronavirus has exacerbated much of the inequality that existed long before the pandemic. Including but not limited to: an inadequate for-profit healthcare system, lack of food accessibility, lack of financial security, and health disparities such as some of the highest asthma rates in the country.
With Congressman Jose Serrano retiring after 30 years, what is the future for the Bronx? The democratic primary on June 23rd will determine this outcome.
As part of a community garden in University Heights, I understand the importance now more than ever of green spaces for community members to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. During this time, our garden members are envisioning ways to support our community who are unable to afford healthy fresh vegetables. Gardens and green spaces also provide a safe space for community engagement. These spaces are crucial now, especially since day camps are closed this summer and many other vital programs that parents rely on for their children during summer break.
Our community gardens and available green spaces are at risk with the real estate industry buying land and building high rises not financially obtainable for the current Bronx community. We need to envision more community spaces and community ownership such as community land trusts. We are unable to do this if District 15’s next congress member is taking dirty money from the real estate industry and selling out the Bronx.
For these reasons, I am ecstatic that Samelys Lopez is running for Congress in District 15. She is the inspirational and committed leader that the Bronx deserves. Samelys is not taking any money from the real estate industry and is committed to fighting for her home, the Bronx. As a young child, Samelys found refuge in the Bronx with her family after living in a homeless shelter. Since then, she has committed her life to fighting for housing as a human right by becoming an urban planner that created affordable housing in the Bronx.
The greed of the real estate industry is pushing people out of the Bronx and hinders the fight for more green space and community ownership. The spaces that we drastically need for our communities and it’s future. Vote for Samelys for congress and vote for the future of the Bronx. Let us not be forced out of our community that so many have fought for their entire lives.