Meet the Candidate: Tiffany Cabán for District 22
By Jacqueline Sharry
Tiffany Caban is a 33-year-old queer Latina who grew up in Richmond Hill. Raised by an elevator mechanic and a domestic worker, she is a former public defender, political organizer and activist. Her personal experiences growing up in an overpoliced, under-resourced community and exposure to violence, mental health issues, and economic instability inspired her to become a public defender. The abuses of mass incarceration she witnessed as a public defender led her to run for Queens District Attorney in 2019 to radically change how we approach public safety.
In that campaign, she came within 100 votes of winning by running on a decarceral platform that helped push the conversation about our criminal legal system in NYC towards limiting criminalization and prosecution. She also inspired many organizers and activists to get involved in local electoral politics. Bangladeshis for Caban was a one group that formed during her DA race that afterwards became Bangladeshis for Political Progress, later running their own slate of local candidates. After running for DA, she joined the Working Families Party as a national political organizer, supporting the effort to elect decarceral District Attorneys across the country.
She is now running for City Council in District 22, which comprises Astoria, Rikers Island, and parts of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and Woodside, because, as she says herself, this is where the work is. She seeks to radically transform policing and the carceral system, establish a care economy, and implement a Green New Deal for New York City as a member of the City Council. She is running to represent this district not only because of the crises the city faces and the work that needs to be done at the local level, but also because she wants to bring her neighbors into the halls of power and create more opportunity for civic engagement and political empowerment.
A Green New Deal for New York City is central to Caban’s campaign and this is exemplified by the 21 page Green New Deal for New York City plan she wrote and proposed. She developed this plan side by side with climate activists and environmental justice communities to ensure that the people most impacted by the crisis are in charge of the solution. In her plan, she proposes:
- Pushing forward the Renewable Rikers plan, which is in her district and will help shut down dirty fossil fuel plants.
- Solutions for reducing heat vulnerability including street trees and environmentally safe fans and air conditioners.
- Expanding composting and recycling.
- A flood proofing plan for District 22, which includes low-lying, flood-vulnerable areas that are also some of the neighborhoods with the highest proportion of black and brown neighbors and some of the poorest areas of the district, such as Astoria Houses (a NYCHA development).
- Expanding and modernizing our sewer system for better storm water management.
- Returning streets to pedestrians, cyclists, and communities by creating 1,000 miles of open streets across the city, 500 miles of bike lanes, and 500 miles of bus-only lanes.
- Retrofitting buildings across the city.
- Expanding climate education in New York City public schools.
Creating jobs and economic recovery from the pandemic is also central to her campaign. She will work to create jobs in New York City that are good-paying, union jobs with quality benefits through these proposed initiatives. In her Public Safety Plan, also created in concert with impacted communities, she proposes a Civil Life Corps that would prioritize filling jobs created by a Green New Deal with formerly incarcerated people, immigrants, and Black and brown folks.
Tiffany Caban is committed to co-governance and working with residents, neighbors, and organizers to build coalitions. She understands the urgency of climate action, emphasizes that climate justice is racial and economic justice, and looks at every issue holistically and through a lens of intersectionality. Sunrise NYC is so proud to endorse Tiffany Caban’s campaign for city council. She is the voice that we need in the city council, who District 22 needs, and who New York City needs to lead us to a brighter, more just future that every single one of us believes in. If you want to learn more about Tiffany Caban or get involved with the campaign, visit her website here. Also, be sure to make a plan to vote for in the primary election here.