Things That Matter

Here’s Why Housing Advocates Are Warning Against Amazon’s Impact On Affordable Housing

After months of speculation, Amazon announced that the locations of its second headquarters will be in Long Island City, New York, and Arlington, Virginia. The announcement has been met with criticism from local community members and officials that say the influx of tech workers would fuel gentrification and hurt lower-income populations. Newly elected Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most vocal public officials to condemn Amazon for moving to Long Island. Ocasio-Cortez represents the 14th Congressional District of New York, which borders the district that includes Long Island City, and says the move “is extremely concerning to residents here.”

Residents and real estate watchers are monitoring the impact Amazon will have on rent and living costs in both New York and Virginia.

Housing displacement was a platform issue that Ocasio-Cortez ran on and is a vocal advocate for affordable housing. She took to Twitter to voice her displeasure about Amazon’s announcement. Ocasio-Cortez said that “shuffling working class people out of a community does not improve their quality of life.” Community members fear that Amazon’s decision to set up shop in New York will hasten gentrification, increase housing prices and displace current residents.

Northern Virginia realtor Jen Walker told NBC Washington that there has already been signs of the “the Amazon effect” on the local real estate marketplace. “They woke up this morning, saw the Amazon announcement and they decided they wanted to move forward with a contract,” she said. “They said, ‘We’re going to get priced out if we don’t do this now.'”

Alex Howe, a member of the group runs the website NoVa Says No to Amazon, echoed a similar message as Walker saying that the real estate market will drastically change now that Amazon is here. “Those already prospering will flourish and those who struggle in our region will be further pushed out and erased,” Howe said. “If Amazon comes here, it should be on our terms and they should pay their fair share in our community if they expect to set up shop here.”

Amazon says it will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations but some are questioning if the company will follow through.

Rising home prices and cost of living have been huge concerns for many communities across the U.S. in places like San Francisco and Seattle, where Amazon is already established. Amazon says their new headquarters will generate millions of dollars in revenue and jobs opportunities. Yet many don’t see it that way as tech companies have been known to price out many long-time residents and hire from outside local communities.

“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”

Since Amazon’s arrival, Seattle has become one of the most expensive cities to live in the U.S, forcing many Latino and black residents to move to far-off suburbs.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in New York to voice their displeasure with the announcement of a new headquarters.

On Wednesday, protesters gathered near Amazon’s soon-to-be headquarters in New York City to voice their concern over the multibillion-dollar incentives being awarded to Amazon. Protesters warn of the potential impact it will have on their community.

Ocasio-Cortez has echoed many residents worries and said she is concerned not just about Amazon specifically, but rather about the relationships that the government has with its citizens and corporations.

“This isn’t just about one company or one headquarters. It’s about cost of living, corps paying their fair share, etc,” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s not about picking a fight, either. I was elected to advocate for our community’s interests – & they’ve requested, clearly, to voice their concerns.”

Mitú reached out to Amazon but there has been no response as this time.


READ: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Lap Rallies To Abolish ICE, Erase Student Loan Debt And Keep Organizing

Share this story by tapping the share button below!

Ritchie Torres Is Poised To Become The First Out Gay Afro-Latino In Congress After Primary Win

Things That Matter

Ritchie Torres Is Poised To Become The First Out Gay Afro-Latino In Congress After Primary Win

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Primary elections in New York this week ushered in new politicians poised to make history. One of those people is Ritchie Torres, an out Afro-Latino gay man who won his primary for New York’s 15th District.

Ritchie Torres won his primary challenge for the 15th congressional district of New York.

New York City Council Member Torres defeated Rúben Diaz Sr. last night. People are celebrating the victory because Torres, who is openly gay, was running against a very problematic reverend. Diaz, who is also a New York City council member, has billed himself as the opposite of AOC and holds a very conservative view on various social issues.

Diaz has voted against same-sex marriage and routinely speaks out against abortion. One time, according to CBS News, Diaz claimed that the city council was being run by the “homosexual community.”

The fight is not over for Torres.

The council member still has to make it through the November election. He will be running against Republican Orlando Molina in November. However, people are celebrating the historic vote that could put the first-ever openly gay Afro-Latino person into Congress.

New York’s 15th District is called the bluest district in America. That is why someone who supports Trump, opposes abortion, and has a homophobic past leading the field was so shocking to many. The Pentecostal minister made headlines when he refused to resign from the city council after his comments about the “homosexual community.”

Praise and support for Torres came flooding in on social media from fellow Democrats across the country.

Torres’s victory over Diaz is a welcomes outcome for many in the Democratic party. Some feared what Diaz would do to the party when in office considering the clear opposition to Democratic causes, especially considering the hyper-partisan nature of the current Congress.

It was a truly historic night in politics thanks to the people running and the voters.

There were several seats last night that have started to better reflect communities in the district. African-American and Latino candidates won decisively in various districts leading to what could be a more diverse and progressive Congress.

Congratulations to all of the winners during yesterday’s primaries.

READ: AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress

AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress

Things That Matter

AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress

Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Voters of New York’s 14th District handed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a decisive victory. The incumbent, who is running for a second term in the House of Representatives, dominated the election. AOC’s victory proves that her 2018 win was not a fluke.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated her rivals in the New York Democratic primary.

The first-term congresswoman is the clear nominee for the Democratic ticket in November. With close to 20,000 more votes than her closest competitor, it is clear that voters of New York’s 14th District want AOC to continue to represent them in Congress. The young politician has become a household name because of her unapologetic progressive platform demanding change and justice.

AOC’s impressive victory is catching people’s attention across the country.

AOC proves that the majority of Americans are coming around to the progressive platform. The progressive platform includes Medicare For All, Immigration Reform, Police Reform, and The Green New Deal. Progressive candidates are running for office nationwide after experiencing the overwhelming progressive victories in 2018. Those midterm elections laid the groundwork for more of these politicians.

Leading up to the election, AOC’s primary challenger eft behind politics and tried to use personal attacks.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera’s campaign embraced Wall Street money and it proved not to work. The former Republican was hoping to unseat AOC after switching parties a few years prior. Caruso-Cabrera faced backlash from Democratic voters because of her book “You Know I’m Right: More Money, Less Government.” The book advocates for eliminating Medicare and Social Security, which are two Republican talking points.

AOC has proven to be a force in American politics.

According to Congress.gov, AOC has sponsored 29 pieces of legislation. This includes H.R. 6989, which aims to prevent mergers between major corporations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and H.R. 7221, which aims to ban police officers from using chemical weapons on protesters.

Congratulations on your win, AOC!

It is all up to the voters in November when AOC will run for her second term against a Republican challenger.

READ: AOC Doesn’t Want Us To Go Back To 70-Hour Work Weeks When We Reopen The Economy