“This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we affirm Int. 1867, a bill that would grant immigrants in New York City the ability to vote in municipal elections.
“We stand on the shoulders of freedom fighters and activists who sought to uplift social justice and equity for decades, including the late Martin Luther King Jr. Immigrants make up the fabric of our city and indeed are the drivers behind our local communities, contributing to South Queens’ vibrant social, economic, and cultural landscape. Immigrants deserve to have a stake in local elections that directly impact their daily lives. At SQWM, we have a dream of collective liberation for all people, especially our Black and Brown fellow neighbors.”
Thus, we affirm Int. 1867 and we call on those that have the power to uphold the bill. Today, we also call on the federal government to ensure that the voting rights of all are protected from restrictions and barriers by passing the Freedom to Vote Act. SQWM expends much time and labor advocating for political power in our communities because we recognize that in order to achieve true gender equity, we must have a seat at the table. Our voice is our power,” said Aminta Kilawan-Narine, founder and executive director of SQWM, said in a recent statement.
These are the fighting words of the South Queens Women’s March (SQWM) that calls on the relevant parties to uphold Int. 1867, a New York City Council law that would give certain immigrants in New York City the right to vote in municipal elections.
“The law is currently being challenged by several lawmakers who filed a lawsuit in a Staten Island court last week on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs in the suit include Assembly Members Michael Reilly and Michael Tannousis, Council Members David Carr, Robert Holden, Inna Vernikov, Joann Ariola and Vickie Paladino and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella,” said the body.
“Allowing over one million LPRs and those with work authorizations to vote in municipal elections will allow for a more inclusive, equitable city. As a first-generation immigrant, I understand firsthand the frustrations despite living and working in NYC and not being able to civically participate in the elections that essentially impacts my everyday life and future.”
“As a newly, naturalized U.S. citizen as of Thursday, Jan.13, I was overjoyed at the newly appointed duties of being able to vote not only in Federal, but elections at all levels. We owe the passage of #INTRO1867 to all of the immigrant communities, who call this great city home,” said Nirmala Singh, founding board member of SQWM.
Candace Prince-Modeste, founding board member of SQWM said, “More participation in the electoral process is always a good thing for our society. Opening municipal elections to non-citizens is an excellent way to introduce them to the voting process. By seeing firsthand how their participation helps shape their communities, many green card holders will likely be empowered to continue the path towards citizenship. This bill must be upheld.”
“It’s unfortunate and disheartening seeing your loved ones that have lived and worked in this country be so invested in the political campaigns of this country, state and city all whilst unable to take part because of their legal status. Living and working as permanent residents for decades and wanting the opportunity to have a voice in matters that affect their daily lives. An opportunity to utilize their choices that many take for granted. This bill gave them that right to utilize those voices that have yearned to be heard for years,” said Christina Motilall, SQWM member, an all-volunteer multi-generational intersectional platform working to foster women’s empowerment through dismantling norms, practices, and institutions that support patriarchy and gender injustice.