Inspired By Her Immigrant Mom, This Afro-Dominican Student Is Vying To Flip A Red Seat Blue In New York

In the New York borough of Queens, there is only one district with a Republican elected official: City Council District 32. When the term-limited council member Eric Ulrich vacates his seat in 2021, Shaeleigh Severino, a 21-year-old Afro-Dominican student, hopes to flip it blue. 

Although the candidate is progressive in a region with a right-leaning record, she believes her platform is attractive to the people of her district, which includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Broad Channel and the Western portion of the Rockaway Peninsula, regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum.

“As a Democrat, I’m saying it’s time for change. It’s time to try something new. I believe in collective action and people power that advocates for bringing all people together, and I don’t want that to get lost in political divisiveness,” Severino, a St. John’s University senior who is completing a double major in Government and Politics as well as Legal Studies and has already started a master’s program, tells FIERCE by mitú.

The Woodhaven native intends on uniting her divided district by focusing on issues that are relevant to people across the political aisle and, more importantly, impact their daily lives: education, public safety, transportation, sustainability and criminal justice.

Last week, the neighborhood of West Hamilton Beach, which is located in District 32, was under water. It’s an increasingly common occurrence in the Queens area, where rising sea levels have led to chronic flooding

“The quality of life is being destroyed by this issue, yet it’s not being resolved at any level. There is no unity or partnerships across multiple levels of government. There’s a disconnect,” she says.

To combat the threat of climate change, Severino hopes to spark collaboration among neighboring districts. Together, she believes, they can begin tackling various environmental challenges while also working with community organizers and local organizations to build a community resilience plan that removes single-use plastic, amends the city’s Green New Deal and addresses food insecurity.

Another critical issue for her district is transportation, especially in the Rockaways, a Queens peninsula isolated from Manhattan that has been referred to as a “transportation desert.” While much of the people who compose the area are civil servants, including nurses, health aides and home attendants who have been essential workers in the city’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, a lack of dependable, late-night transportation connecting Rockaway residents to the rest of the city has hindered many from performing their work.

Shaeleigh Severino

If elected to the city council, Severino says she will support ferry expansions, fight for federal funding to save the transit system from losing millions of dollars and support calls for city control over the New York City Transit Authority.

One of the most critical, and challenging, issues Severino would face if elected, however, would be uniting her district on her criminal justice plan. District 32 is home to the highest number of New York City Police Department and New York City Fire Department employees and retirees in New York City. Meanwhile, Severino has openly discussed issues she has with law enforcement and mass incarceration, like: rooting out police violence in communities of color, advocating for police accountability, ending incarceration for nonviolent crimes and opposing the city’s plan to close Rikers Island jails and build new detention centers.

Despite her criticism, Severino doesn’t propose abolishing the police but rather instituting reforms, like the implementation of mental health counselors for officers and dismantling bad practices, that she believes could rebuild community ties.

“My district is very misunderstood. It’s not common, especially in a city like New York. We operate and exist on a different level because of our makeup. But I’ve lived in this district my entire life. I know the barriers that exist, and I know they can be dismantled,” Severino says.

While 21 years old, she believes she has the insight and experience to bring her divided district forward and get tasks done. She references her time as a student organizer, both at St. John’s University and as student body president of her high school, where she worked with elected officials to help improve testing scores and increase student attendance and involvement to save the institution from closing down, as examples of her capabilities.  

An advocate, who has been deeply inspired by her mom, an immigrant from Dominican Republic who was also a political organizer, Severino says it would be an honor to lead and serve the community that raised her.

“‘An advocate, not a politician’ is not just a slogan to me. I actually believe in that. … I’m going in this with the intention of helping my community get their fair share, to represent them in a correct manner and ensure their needs are addressed on all levels,”  Severino says.

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Guillermo Gutierrez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad


A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

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Sen. Ted Cruz has reached peak infamy with a piñata in his honor. People have been turned into piñatas over the years for both good and bad reasons. The Cruz piñata serves as a reminder of the senator’s attempt to flee the brutal Texas winter crisis.

A Texas party store is selling piñatas of Sen. Ted Cruz and people are into it.

Piñatas are always the centerpiece of a fun party and they are even more exciting when they are topical. One party shop in Texas is riding on the wave of local and national news criticizing Sen. Cruz to cash in.

Last week Sen. Cruz was caught boarding a United flight to Cancún, Mexico to escape the winter storm devastating Texas. As millions of Texans survived without water and power, the Cruz family booked a Mexican getaway to warmer weather and reliable electricity.

At first, Sen. Cruz tried to blame his daughters for fleeing Texas as his constituents suffered from the weather. He soon changed his story and claimed that he realized he had made a mistake as soon as he sat down on the plane waiting to depart from Houston.

Finally, after days of speculation, someone came forward and leaked text messages from Sen. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Turns out, according to the texts, that the Cruz family was actively planning a vacation to avoid the snowstorm. According to the texts, the Cruz family was trying to convince neighbors and friends to join them so they can get out of their freezing house. The criticism amplified when it was reported that the Cruz family left the family dog behind as they fled to Mexico.

People are eager to get their hands on a Sen. Cruz piñata.

Families have been in quarantine for almost a year and they are hitting a wall. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is no surprise that people would want to have something to do together outdoors. Seems that a lot of people would like a piñata party to celebrate the bad weather slowly moving out.

There are even some people asking for different people made as piñatas.

You never know unless you ask, right? Never hurts to try to make your own request to better your birthday. It seems that the party store is able to make various different piñatas. The party store made a piñata after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ famous mitten moment at President Biden’s inauguration.

READ: Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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