Newly-elected New York City Council Speaker, Adrienne Adams has appointed a number of Caribbean American legislators in Brooklyn to top leadership positions on the Council.
Adams appointed Council Member Crystal Hudson, the granddaughter of Jamaican immigrants to chair the Committee on Aging; Haitian-born Council Member Rita Joseph, a former public school teacher in Brooklyn, to chair the Committee on Education; Haitian-born Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, a registered nurse by training, to chair the Committee on Hospitals; and Haitian American Council Member Farah N. Louis to chair the Committee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses.
“I am proud to announce our City Council’s Leadership, as well as committee chairs and assignments. This is the most diverse City Council in history, and each member’s experiences and expertise will shape the important work of our legislative body,” said Adams, no relationship with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, in making the announcement.
“I am confident that this City Council will work together to achieve our shared goal of providing strong oversight as a co-equal branch of city government and improving the lives of every New Yorker,” she added. “We are unified and ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Hudson, who represents the 35th Council District in Brooklyn, said she was “honored to chair the Aging Committee and work to ensure all older adults can age safely with dignity at home in the city they’ve made and call home.
“As caregivers like myself know all too well, older adults are at the mercy of deeply deficient systems – from housing to long term care to food insecurity to nursing home care,” she said. “My goal as Chair is to focus not only on issues directly impacting older adults but also on the realities facing the ever-growing care economy that is in deep need of transformation.
“All of us who are lucky enough will age – it’s my hope as chair that we do so with dignity and self-determination,” Hudson added. “In my late mother’s honor, I will fight to ensure older adults are finally prioritized at all levels of city government.”
Joseph, who replaced her term-limited compatriot Dr. Mathieu Eugene as representative for the 40th Council District in Brooklyn, said it was “an honor of a lifetime to have been selected the Education Chairwoman of the New York City Council.
“I thank Speaker Adams for trusting me with this responsibility, especially as the first Black woman to chair the committee in over 20 years,” she said. “For the last 22 years, I have diligently served as a public school teacher at PS6 (Public School 6). Working on behalf of my students and their families was one of the great joys in my life.
“Now, as chairwoman of the Education Committee, I will be afforded the opportunity to advocate on behalf of students not just at PS6, but all over New York City,” Joseph added. “My students may not be able to vote, but now, they have a voice. I look forward to the work to come.”
Narcisse, who represents the 46th Council District in Brooklyn, said she was “fully ready to take my first-hand experience and do all I can to insure that doctors, nurses and all hospital staff have the resources available to them to provide the best healthcare to all New Yorkers.
“This is a pivotal time for our city as we continue to battle the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has decimated our hospitals,” she said. “In particular, NYC Health and Hospitals facilities and safety net hospitals in traditionally undeserved communities need a lifeline and our immediate attention so they can flourish, and not merely survive.
“Further, community health centers in high-risk neighborhoods continue to be limited and under resourced,” Narcisse added. “We must provide greater access to these vital segments of our healthcare system.
“It is deplorable that in 2022 the color of one’s skin, and economic status correlates to the quality of healthcare one receives,” she continued. “I’m ready to get to work.”
Louis, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, noted that New York City is renowned for its rich architecture and beautiful neighborhoods that are “emblematic of our cultural diversity and historic moments that have been pivotal to our advancements in equity, justice and representation.
“It is important that we preserve these spaces for future generations to explore and cherish their significance in who we are as New Yorkers.,” she said. “I look forward to chairing the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Sitings, and Dispositions and working with my colleagues in the New York City Council to ensure that we exercise due diligence in protecting our past as we build towards our future.”