Beverly Newsome, President of Ebbets Field Tenants Organization, is hoping to bring some strong Black working-class roots to the race for female Democratic District Leader of the 57th Assembly District covering Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
Newsome is running against Incumbent Female District Leader Olanike Alabi and New York City Housing Authority resident Shaquana Boykin, who has the mainly white progressive support.
“Our community needs a different perspective,” said Newsome about why she is running. “We are now in a time where there’s a lot going on and most of it is human need. From food resources to education.”
Newsome said she’s been working in this field, which includes being president of the 1,300 unit strong Ebbets Field housing development, for about 10 years and wants to see how she can help the community. Her progressive and diverse platform is focused on policies that “champion the needs of the most vulnerable, and fighting for basic amenities to enhance their quality of life.”
With the swirling topics around police and bail reforms, Newsome said that she’d use her power as district leader to influence fair changes in the courts. “We as district leaders would have to be looking for someone who can be objective, unbiased, and familiar with subjects that come in front of them,” she said.
Newsome said there are extreme biases in the courts and there should be more expertise from judges. She said there needs to be a balance of information when it comes to police as well because there are negative and positive officers.
A fierce housing advocate, Newsomesaid for the last decade, she’s been working to hold one of the largest property owners in Brooklyn accountable. Part of her vision is to create partnerships that push the district into improving affordable housing, anti-eviction assistance, and landlord/tenant intervention.
“When we talk about the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), it moved from 100% affordable to private and people are forgetting there’s a group in the middle, and it could’ve been Mitchell Lama,” said Newsome. “It would’ve given NYCHA residents an opportunity to go, ‘okay I can graduate from NYCHA to Mitchell Lama rentals or co-ops. It would’ve been along the same lines of homeownership.’”
Newsome said there are many paths to homeownership through government programs in the city that local residents could take advantage of, particularly as stagnant salaries and high rents, is leading to housing issues and homelessness.
She and the Members of the Ebbets Tenant Organization worked with and supported Senator Zellnor Myrie in promoting pro-tenant rent reform called the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which “closes loopholes in New York’s rent-stabilization system.”
“Right now we need all levels of voices at the table and right now the community’s voice is not at the table,” said Newsome.
The Primary is next Tuesday, June 23.