Harlem’s Own Stacy Lynch: Putting Her Legacy and Experience to Work for District 7

By R.L. Witter

We’ve all heard that good things come in small packages. In a perfect world, if you Googled that saying, you’d find a photo of Stacy Lynch, City Council District 7 candidate in New York City. The only thing small about her is her stature and I promise, once she begins speaking, you’ll think she’s ten feet tall. There’s something familiar about Lynch the first time you meet her. She smiles brightly and laughs easily. She knows her stuff and she’s a formidable opponent if you’re running against her, and a valuable ally if you’re with her.

The daughter of Mary and William “Bill” (the Rumpled Genius) Lynch, Stacy grew up in Harlem and comes by her love of New York City and political prowess honestly. “I ran away from politics for a number of reasons because I saw the toll politics and the political arena takes on a candidate, the people behind the scenes, and their families,” she explained. “But at the same time, I was aware of the impact this very intense and grueling career has on people and families. Public service was a responsibility in our household.” The Lynches started their children young with cleaning up the street and handing out food at church. The calling to be of service has always been inside Stacy.

With a B.A. in Political Science from Hampton University and a law degree from Quinnipiac University, Lynch possesses both the educational and political pedigrees to be a major player and make a difference in New York politics. “I learned from the greatest—my dad, and Mayor Dinkins. My dad surrounded himself with strong women who were leaders in the community like Betty Shabazz, Dorothy Height, Hazel Dukes, Marian Wright Edelman, and list goes on. He was brilliant in that way,” she said. “I learned part of it is your educational pedigree and your life experiences, but a whole lot of it is staying connected with the community. And that helps inform my decisions regarding what policies should look like for District 7 or the City.” She can also pick up the phone and call civil rights icons and elected officials and talk to them as if they’re just hanging out.

Lynch slipped under the radar to take a job as assistant commissioner for External Affairs in the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). “I was able to do good things and give away beautiful things to the community. And giving to others was healing for me after my dad passed.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was hearing good things about a young go-getter in DCYD and when he got word the person was Bill Lynch’s daughter, he asked her to take a position in City Hall. As deputy director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Mayor’s Office, Lynch was empowered to make a difference in the lives of members of underrepresented communities. “I worked closely with the First Lady and her team to create Brothers and Sisters Thrive. It’s a coalition of the Thrive mental health initiative that is First Lady Chirlane McCray’s baby and working with the Divine 9 to address mental health in the Black community,” said Lynch. “My final project before I left the administration was the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. There was a sense within the administration that communities of color felt unheard during the pandamic.”

Lynch’s platform covers a range of topics that affect the entire city, but especially communities of color. “What affects us today is eventually going to affect the Upper West Side too,” she cautioned. “I’m going to fight for my people. When I say ‘my people,’ I mean everyone. It doesn’t have to be someone from Harlem. It can be someone from Washington Heights; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Jackson Heights, Queens; the Upper West Side or anywhere else in the city. If I feel community members or community groups have a valid point, I’m going to advocate for you inside City Hall.” Her father once told her, “When you’re in city government, particularly the Mayor’s Office, there’s nothing you can’t do. You just have to decide what you want to do.” Stacy didn’t get it at the time, but now she does. “Let’s start paying for things that will actually change the lives of the people who are suffering. Some of that is quality of life issues like the work environment, health care, child care, and mental health.” She continued, “I think if you solve core issues, the energy will lighten up a little bit. If people don’t have to worry about their rent because they’re making more than just a living wage, I think people will live differently. If a child is getting a proper education that is culturally sensitive, if people can go to a therapist and not worry about the cost or the stigma associated with it, we’ll see a different society. People need to stop talking about it and put their money where their mouths are.”

There’s an amazing authenticity about Lynch. She comes across as truly genuine, unscripted, and authentically herself. “I am at my best when people feel I am warm, listening to them, and real. My father and a whole bunch of people who have nurtured me and poured into me are with me on this journey. But it is so important to me that I am my authentic self, win or lose. I’m going to say what I think the community wants to be said and either people vote me in or some people start thinking differently.” She once asked Mayor de Blasio, “How can you and some of your colleagues ask people who don’t live in these communities what needs to happen?” She told him, “That is foreign to me. It’s like going in and redecorating someone’s entire home without asking what they like, want, or need.”

One other thing about Stacy Lynch is her commitment. She’s a lifelong Knicks fan, the epitome of loyalty and dedication. Even the staunchest of Knicks fans waiver occasionally. Not Stacy. She also loves dogs and Janet Jackson. Her father and Mayor David N. Dinkins once arranged for her to meet Ms. Jackson while performing in New York City. “That was RHYTHM NATION JANET JACKSON!” she excitedly explained. Despite the challenges of campaigning during a pandemic, Stacy Lynch is confident, dedicated, and determined to be of service. She’s committed to improving lives, but you also have to watch out for her. By the end of our time together she had threatened to run a Boston on me in a game of spades at my own family reunion. “I am my father’s daughter,” she chuckled.