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Letter: Bramson's Out Of Touch With Community

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I have lived in New Rochelle for many years and I appreciate the multi-cultural community in which I live. My children have gone through the school system from Columbus, through Isaac Young Middle School and both graduated from New Rochelle High School.

I have always served this community as a volunteer – whether it’s the Boys n Girls Club, to New Rochelle FC Soccer, PTA’s, Chess Clubs and I was previously elected to the Board of Education. I’ve always found it important to be flexible, inclusive and tolerant – democratic virtues that I learned from working as a farm worker and garment worker advocate and also as a member of nationally recognized immigrant rights organizations.

It’s always about working with people struggling everyday for a better life. It is what Cesar Chavez taught me – it is what Jacob Javits and Daniel Patrick Moynihan taught me. It is what William Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy taught me early in my legal career. Respect and consideration for your fellow human being is what I learned in the Hasidic household I was raised in where my mother was the live-in housekeeper. Can you dig that Mr. Bramson?

Noam Bramson, as far as I know, has been a professional politician since leaving Harvard. His maturity has come at the expense of some New Rochelle tax-payers supporting his way of life. He has inculcated a public persona who pretends to know everything and is less and less flexible in accepting anyone else’s opinion. He pretends to be a leader of this ‘diverse” community, yet his unique diversity training has not pushed him to an emotional awareness of the ways in which cultural differences affect life experiences.

He has fallen for the trap of political contributions at the expense of working people of color who must now live with the possibility of a significant intrusion in their life by having a city public works yard in their overcrowded neighborhood – my neighborhood.

Note that Mr. Bramson has never asked my community for their opinion about this transfer. He has never ventured into my community to speak with those who live there – do you know Mr. Bramson that we have the most Mexican restaurants in Westchester County? Do you know that one of our elementary schools, Columbus, is one of the highest performing schools in New York State, yet is it almost 85 percent Latino? Do you know?

Many of us in the West End of New Rochelle struggle every day, like everyone else, in ensuring that we have a decent job, a decent and safe place to live, that we feel comfortable knowing that our children get to school safely and that we can walk our streets to a nearby bodega to purchase a churro or soft drink.

Mr. Bramson is running for Westchester County Executive. Don’t forget that Mr. Bramson has not been an inclusive leader with the community of color in New Rochelle. He may brandish support from people of color in New Rochelle, but who are they? The Head of the Municipal Housing Authority – where does he live? So my advice to Mr. Bramson is this:

  • You should have community conversations about race as they are key to solving New Rochelle’s racial inequities and you can then build a truly inclusive community, workplace and improve our schools.
  • Creating meaningful cross-race conversations will help you make real this country’s fundamental principles of justice, equality, opportunity and racial inclusion for all.

Martin Sanchez New Rochelle, NY Former Member of New Rochelle’s School Board and NR Human Rights Commission Former board member of the Boys n Girls Club and New Rochelle FC Soccer

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