Local Politics Part 3: A View from Brooklyn

By Natalia Sucre, Instruction & Digital Services Librarian 

For the Brooklyn portion of our Local Politics summer series, last Tuesday, July 13th, we were honored to speak with another MCNY alumni making a difference for New York City communities: Xamala D. Rose, NYC Deputy Public Advocate of Civic and Community Empowerment and lifelong Brooklyn-based grassroots activist and community organizer. 

Xamala shared with us her philosophy regarding local politics. She spoke to the key role activism plays in creating a productive intersection between government and everyday residents.  

For Ms. Rose, activism is deep and personal, rooted in passion and lived experience, as her compelling account of her own political journey illustrates. The murder of her teenage brother in 2005, victim of armed assault when she herself was only fifteen, catapulted Xamala into lifelong activist work for youth services, civic engagement, and inclusive community support. 

Xamala effectively engaged a rapt audience of MCNY students, faculty, and staff in a far-ranging discussion of the causes each has embraced with passion. The responses ran the gamut, but all evidenced deep personal commitments.  They included: research on health issues impacting women of color, i.e. obstetric fistula; quality health services for foster care children and those aging out of the system; advocacy for LGBTQ individuals and youth; diversity and inclusiveness in education; advocacy for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; advocacy for transgender individuals; the equitable redistribution of resources. The list is a testimony to the rich lives of community engagement and service led by so many in the MCNY community. 

Wearing her Deputy Advocate hat, Xamala wrapped up the conversation with a wealth of information and practical strategizing on how the Office of the Public Advocate can provide support on each of the issues mentioned  through its Deputy Public Advocate task forces and active legislative agenda. In this way, right then and there, she illustrated her own statement that the government works for you, us.   

The lively hour was a primer in Black and Latino-centered community engagement. Leslie Eaton, BA student in Human Services, said it best when she expressed her appreciation for such an open exchange on the issues affecting MCNY students in their communities and called for more forums such as these. MCNY Library and all its partners, including alumni, aim to comply. We hope you will join us in August for our final summer roundtable on local politics, focusing on Queens and women in politics.