Top left: Helen honors Muslim volunteers of New York at an Eid Around the World celebration (June 24, 2017) Bottom left: Helen attends the Family and Friends Pride Shabbat at Beit Simchat Torah Congregation (June 16, 2017) Right: Helen delivers donated computers to the High School of Arts and Technology (December 15, 2015).
Our community is filled with people of diverse racial backgrounds, cultural practices, ethnic identities, and sexual orientations. Collaboration and cooperation are integral to ensure the stability and success of our district and New York City. Helen is working hard to advocate for and support all New Yorkers: children, women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. She has received the endorsements of the Jim Owles Democratic Club and the Stonewall Democrats for her strong record on fighting for LGBTQ rights. From school re-zonings and gender-neutral bathrooms to diversifying the FDNY and the businesses that win NYC contracts, Helen is making sure that all our voices are heard. And, there’s always more we can do. Helen is already building on her successes from her first term. She plans to continue supporting women and minority-owned businesses and advocating for LGBTQ rights and representation. Helen also hopes to fight to pass GENDA in the NY State Senate. Read more below!
Helen is taking the lead, here are some highlights (details below):
- Helen supported the public school elected leaders (D3 CEC) who successfully rezoned School District 3 in support of our children: addressing overcrowding in one school and concentrated poverty in another.
- Helen is an advocate for LGBTQ rights and representation, including gender-neutral bathrooms, appropriate gender pronoun inclusion in the workplace, and GSA clubs.
- Helen supports women and minority-owned businesses through the New York City Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Certification Program.
- Helen pushed her colleagues to bring diversity to the NYC Fire Department (FDNY).
Helen’s goals for the next four years:
- Hold Oversight Hearing about adding LGBT, Veterans, and People with Disabilities businesses to the City's Disparity Study with the goal of adding each of these groups to the City's 30% contract goals.
- Continue to make strides for LGBTQ rights and representation by improving access, support, and inclusion for all Upper West Siders. Fight to pass GENDA in NYS.
- Continue to support women and minority-owned businesses by holding the administration’s feet to the fire.
Helen Supported the Rezoning of School District 3
Helen is proud to have participated in and supported the 2016 historic public school rezoning in School District 3 to significantly address overcrowding and diversity issues. School District 3 rezoned portions of the district after years of community meetings, school meetings, and public hearings, laying the groundwork for integration and alleviating overcrowding. Helen supported the rezoning plan alongside many local school parent leaders and education leaders in the district as well as throughout the city. It also received the support of the New York Times and the New York Daily News.
Helen Advocates for LGBTQ Wins
All members of the LGBTQ Caucus in the NYC City Council have endorsed Helen in her bid for re-election. Helen is an LGBTQ ally and has sponsored many bills advocating for LGBTQ rights and representation: including Int. 0871-2014, which requires single occupant bathrooms to be accessible for people of all genders; and Int. 1604-2017, which requires agencies to amend official forms and databases to collect gender pronoun information and provide appropriate staff training on gender pronouns. Res. 1442-2017, of which Helen is also a co-sponsor, calls upon the Department of Education to create and maintain Gender-Sexuality Alliances (GSA) in all middle and high schools such that LGBTQ-identifying students are supported and protected.
Helen Supports Women and Minority-Owned Businesses
Helen is a leader intent on growing the number of MWBEs that contract with NYC. The New York City Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Certification Program, the goal of which is to promote economic equity in City procurement processes. These businesses, all of which are at least 51% owned, controlled, and operated by women or minorities, receive technical assistance to better compete for contracts. Classes, networking events, and targeted solicitations help certified business gain access to contracting opportunities - supporting Upper West Side small businesses and the NYC economy.
Helen Worked to Bring Diversity to the NYC Fire Department (FDNY)
When Helen began her work in the Council, there were only 44 women in the FDNY - comprising less than one half of a percent of the 10,500 member workforce. Nationwide, women comprise 4% of all firefighters, and in cities like San Francisco and Minneapolis, women comprise 10-15% of all firefighters. Helen wanted to keep the FDNY accountable for their low recruitment of women firefighters, so she teamed up with Council Member Elizabeth Crowley to introduce legislation that would require the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to post an annual report online detailing the racial and gender demographics of people undergoing the often years-long application process to become a New York City firefighter. The Council passed their bill, Local Law 49 of 2015. Now there are 58 women serving as firefighters in the FDNY, an increase of 32 percent.