Why I’m Running?

julio-wall-artI am running because my community deserves better representation!

I truly believe that I am doing this for my community and am motivated by people in my community, many of whom have expressed to me their frustration with our current political leadership. This is a community where I have lived since I was four years old when my parents brought me here from Puerto Rico. I have been an activist for as long as I can remember.  From my first experience as a teenager with the Young Lords Party and later with El Comité, I have been fighting for cleaner streets, better health care, affordable and decent housing and for ending police brutality. During my student activist days at Lehman College I co-founded the first Latino organization fighting for student participation in the development of the school curriculum. Since then, I have participated with many organizations and in numerous struggles, fighting for a better quality of life for our community. I have always fought for justice and equality for our community.

However, today when I look back at all the history of struggles here in the Bronx and see that the quality of life has not really improved at all, I realized that I had to do more. I can’t believe that as poor as I was back then, the conditions were somewhat better than what they are today for our youth. I had more resources then, from after-school programs, to parks with attendants, to always having a summer job provided by the city. We did not have any of the serious health problems affecting our youth like obesity, asthma, and diabetes. We did not have so many of our youth being arrested for minor infractions, making them the new “cash crop” for a criminal justice system that shy’s away from the real criminal matters in our community.

As poor as we were back then, the South Bronx had some resources that helped us cope with our poverty and allowed a kid like myself from a single-parent home, survive those mean streets and become the first in my family to graduate High School. I continued my education and obtained a BA degree from Lehman and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU.

Today, the only change we see is that we do not have the vast destruction of housing stock and the streets are much cleaner. However, when look beyond that, we find that we are still living in what is referred to as the poorest congressional district in the country. In addition, the two communities that I hope to represent, parts of Mott Haven and Morrisania lead the list in all of the worst social indicators and is at the bottom of all positve social indicators. This led me to say, ENOUGH – BASTA YA!

If I do one last thing before I truly retire; if there is such a thing for a South Bronx activist, I want to try to help my community through the office of City Council. I believe I can be an effective representative and advocate for our community.

If elected as a council person in the South Bronx, I will use the office to organize our community and open up doors for people who have been disenfranchised from the electoral process. I believe in empowering our community members especially our youth, who are the future of our community. I am not interested in a career in politics. I do not want to get elected as a City-Council member just to use as a stepping-stone to move on to other citywide, state, or national positions. I believe that the future of our community lies in effective leadership, community empowerment and transparency in our public expenditures.

I have three children who like myself have been raised here in the South Bronx, attended public schools and all are gainfully employed in other fields. They do not live in the state and none are interested in running for public office.

I believe I am a good candidate because I am not bound to anyone, to any agenda, or special interest other than to the district that I hope to represent. On September 10, 2013 I hope to get your vote.

Julio Pabon,

Your future Representative in the 17th Council District