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Civil Rights Attorney Launches Bid For Council Seat

Alejandra Caraballo, a self-proclaimed "Trans Latina progressive activist", is running for Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo's seat, which will be vacant when her term ends
Alejandra Caraballo, a Democrat, launched a campaign Tuesday for City Council District 35. Photo: AlejandraForBrooklyn

A Democratic civil rights attorney and activist who could become the first openly trans person to serve in City Council has thrown her hat in the ring for Laurie Cumbo's Brooklyn seat, reports Patch.

Alejandra Caraballo launched her campaign on Tuesday for City Council District 35, which stretches from the neighborhood of Fort Greene over to Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill, and parts of Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy. The district's seat will be vacated when Cumbo reaches her council term limit at the end of 2021.

"As a civil rights attorney, I have seen up-close the many injustices built into our systems of housing, policing, and immigration," said Caraballo in a press release, noting that she was almost run over by a police cruiser during a recent Black Lives Matter protest.

Systemic injustices were laid bare for her at a younger age than most when her father lost his arm in a work accident and went on disability. Her mother had to hire an attorney to help the family get by as worker's comp checks got lost in the mail or weren't delivered.

"It shouldn't take everyday citizens risking their lives to hold the system accountable," said Caraballo. "I am running to bring that accountability to the City Council."

Her career working for the New York Legal Assistance Group with Trans Latinx immigrants and sex workers continued to reveal systemic inequalities.

And more recently, she became the first openly trans board member in all of Brooklyn when joining Community Board 9, which oversees parts of  Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, and Flatbush. Since then she has been appointed as housing committee chair and the chair of a district manager search committee.

Caraballo joins several others who have announced a bid for Cumbo's seat, including the majority leader's former staff member Crystal Hudson.

Her platform includes extending the eviction moratorium during the pandemic, creating a full healthcare program for New York City's uninsured, and defunding the NYPD, which Cumbo has faced backlash for criticizing.

She is also at least the second trans person on the ballot for the legislature. Elisa Crespo is running for Council Member Ritchie Torres' open Bronx seat, which will face a special election.

"I am thrilled to see Alejandra run for New York City Council," Crespo said. "Her decision to run for office is an act of resistance in and of itself. I'm proud to be in this journey with her and I have no doubt she'll fight tooth and nail for her future constituents."