Press conferences on the steps of City Hall announcing grandiose schemes are as common in New York as grimy subway cars. Unfortunately, most of them turn out to be little more than photo ops for politicos and community leaders.
Hopefully, last Thursday’s launching of the “Engaging Immigrant New York City” campaign will be an exception to this sad tradition.
Billed by its organizers at the Civic Engagement Collaborative (CEC) as an initiative to mobilize immigrant New Yorkers in preparation for the 2016 Presidential elections, New York needs the new campaign to be an effective effort.
After all, this is a city where nearly 40% of the residents are foreign-born, over 60% speak a language other than English at home, and about 20% — or 1,480,072 — of all registered voters are naturalized citizens or the U.S.-born children of immigrants.
“Engaging immigrant voters in the electoral process offers a unique opportunity to change the dynamics of civic engagement in the city,” said Murad Awawdeh, of the New York Immigration Coalition. The NYIC is the facilitator of the CEC, a collective of community and social service groups that works to increase civic engagement and modernize New York’s election system.
With these goals in mind, the CEC, along with City Council members Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), Ydanis Rodríguez (D-Washington Heights), and Helen Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side), makes three useful and achievable policy recommendations.
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