Democratic Socialists gathered together for a Listening Tour with special guest speakers Democratic Primary winner of New York’s 14th Congressional District Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and progressive activist Ady Barkan.
Community open dialogue began with Johnathan Smith, President of the NY Metro Area Postal Union urging the audience to support Postal Banking. Over 9 million Americans have no access to bank accounts or credit cards, because financial institutions aren’t incentivized to offer them products, but with Postal Banking, they would have access to Checking’s, Saving’s and short-term loans.
Representatives from RWDSU discussed the right to a livable wage and changing the culture of tipping, that often times leaves the burden of paying workers a fair wage to their customers, rather than their employer. Sanitation workers shared their worries over staggering wages and racism within the department. Environmental racism was also discussed. CWA invited the public to rally with them at Capitol Hill in a joint effort to persuade Congress to hold companies outsourcing American jobs overseas accountable.
District Council 1707 Executive Director Kim Medina was also present, representing a conglomerate of unions that provide working families with livable wages, benefits, equal opportunities, job training, health care, advancing legislation in infrastructure, fair taxing, reforming trade rules and holding corporations accountable for workplace injustices. For-hire vehicle drivers voiced concerns over 60 hour work weeks, labor protections and urged listeners to join their march at City Hall.
Bronx County Committee runner Xavier Perez welcomed other Bronx advocates and organizers to consider running for county committee, revealing that with over 3,000 seats, often times the Bronx barely breaks 100 even in elected officials. As a Bronx County Committee member, elected officials are part of a local branch of government within the Democratic party that oversee 2-3 blocks within their community to address locals’ concerns with other Council members and state Senators.
Parkchester native Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez highlighted her platform, from tuition free Public College to a Federal jobs guarantee, Medicare for all and a 21st century labor union. Empathizing the psychological disenfranchisement facing Americans today, she warned listeners to reject the idea that holding our leaders accountable for basic human rights is just “pie in the sky.” Her Bronx goal is to enroll 20,000 voters before November. Welcoming Ady Barkan to speak, she commended him for putting his life on the line for our Democracy.
Ady expressed how moved he was by other guest speakers, expressed grave concern over our government rejecting our values, and encouraged the crowd to stay energized, organized and to push for a landslide election, supporting progressive movements that share our vision to help build the political revolution our country deserves.
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