In the era of Donald Trump, our families are facing extreme levels of bigotry and discrimination under his watch and encouragement. With crisis after crisis affecting communities that were vulnerable to begin with, we need to elect stronger Democrats who will stand up and fight for justice, fairness, and compassion, even in the face of heavy opposition and attacks.

We must do better than the current status quo. The South Bronx is behind in nearly every category – just a little over half of our adult residents have completed high school, the median household income is under $30,000 per year, and the unemployment rate is a staggering 7.3%. “Business as usual” politicians have hurt us for too long. A change of guard is required.

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That’s why I’m inspired by candidates like Amanda Septimo, a Democrat running for Assembly in the Bronx. A product of the Bronx, Amanda personally understands the struggles facing our families and has dedicated her life to making a difference.

She has been on the front lines fighting for protections for immigrants, more jobs, stronger schools, and better housing throughout her career. I’m especially excited about her commitment to creating Universal Afterschool programs in our schools. This will allow our kids to access supportive learning services in safe environments that parents can rely on to keep their kids engaged in school and out of trouble.

Amanda Septimo

District 84 deserves a leader who’s been constantly on the ground. As a former district director for Congressman E. Jose Serrano, Amanda worked to bring to the community the resources it deserved. She is a true community organizer and activist and will bring that energy on behalf of South Bronx residents to the Assembly. Amanda has the experience we need in our next Assemblymember, but more importantly, she has the grit and persistence that today’s politics demand.

Over the years I’ve met many of these inspiring Latina candidates, and I am continually impressed by the focus and passion they are bringing to politics and government. Amanda and these other women are exactly the leaders we need to fight Trump’s bigoted, anti-women, anti-worker agenda.

These are difficult and dark times, but candidates like Amanda Septimo are shining a light for change. I hope you join me in supporting this extraordinary young woman for New York State Assembly.

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Melissa Mark-Viverito is Vice President at Latino Victory and is the former New York City Council Speaker from 2014 to 2017

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