Elections Yield Record Black Power Structure
By Leslie Nash
The 2021 election in New York resulted in many welcome outcomes for the community. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams became Mayor Adams on January 1, 2022. Along with Adams, several other Black New Yorkers won their elections. New York City and State now boast more African American elected officials than ever before. Not even in the days of Dinkins, Rangel, and the “Gang of Four” has Black political representation been as expansive.
• For the first time in history, a Black man, Alvin Braggs, is the Manhattan DA. The former NYS Chief Deputy Attorney General won 84% of the vote. Bragg lives in Harlem with his family.
• In another historic election, the Bronx elected its first woman and first African American borough president, Vanessa Gibson. Gibson served on the NYC Council representing the 16th district from 2014 to 2021.
• Former NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso cruised to victory with more than 73% of the votes to become Brooklyn Borough President in 2022. He succeeded Eric Adams.
• Incumbent NYC Council Member and the first woman to represent her district on the City Council, Spelman graduate Adrienne Adams won re-election in November 2021. She was elected Council Speaker by her colleagues.
• Chi Ossé is the youngest member of the NYC Council. Representing Brooklyn District 36, the 23-year-old is the first Generation Z candidate elected in New York. These public servants join other elected and appointed Black New Yorkers such as:
• NYPD’s first Black and first woman Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who grew up in the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City and spent 25 years with the Nassau County Police Department.
• NYC Schools Chancellor David C. Banks has a long education track-record. Almost 25 years ago he was the first principal of Eagle Academy in the Bronx.
• Letitia James, the first Black New York State Attorney General, has a J.D. degree from Howard University. The former NYC public advocate withdrew from the race for NY Governor and is seeking reelection in 2022.
• Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin succeeded Kathy Hochul when she became Governor in September 2021. Elected to the State Senate in 2017, Benjamin was born in Harlem to Caribbean immigrant parents.
• NY Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stuart Cousins became the first woman and the first African American to lead a New York State legislative conference in 2012.
• The 100th NY Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is the first African American to serve in the role. He represents the 83rd A.D. in the northeast Bronx and was first elected to the Assembly in 2000.
• NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams battled Tourette’s syndrome and ADHD as a teenager. He is running for NY Governor in 2022.
• Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. is a lifelong Queens resident and former NYC Council Member.
• Darcel D. Clark, the first African American and the first woman to serve as Bronx DA, was reelected in 2019. Raised in the Bronx in public housing, she earned her law degree at the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
• US Representatives Jamaal Bowman, Hakeem Jeffries, Richie Torres, Gregory Meeks, and Yvette D. Clarke; each of whom will be running for reelection in 2022.
The Positive Community sends congratulations and positive vibes to the new Black political power structure in New York. May they improve the lives of all New Yorkers.