things that matter

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

ocasio2018 / amazon / Instagram

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!

Queer Latina Tiffany Cabán Makes History In Queens With New York District Attorney Primary Win

Things That Matter

Queer Latina Tiffany Cabán Makes History In Queens With New York District Attorney Primary Win

Instagram / @cabanforqueens

Tiffany Cabán, a queer Latina public defender, declared victory Tuesday night in a tight Democratic primary race for Queens district attorney.

“When we started this thing they said I was too young. They said I didn’t look like a district attorney,” Cabán, 31, said at her election-night party at a nightclub in Woodside, Queens. “They said we could not win, but we did, it y’all.”

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cabán has currently received 39.6 percent of the vote, while the establishment’s favorite Melinda Katz garnered 38.3 percent. There are still 3,400 absentee ballots that need to be counted, which the Board of Elections said won’t be completed until next Wednesday.

Katz, who was endorsed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Queens Democratic Party chief Joe Crowley, who was ousted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) around this time last year, has refused to concede. She has also already made calls for a recount.

This has not stopped Cabán and her supporters from celebrating a victory.

“We’ve already won without knowing what the final tabulation is,” Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the Working Families Party, which backed Cabán, said. “We’ve already won. We’ve beaten the machine.”

Cabán, a democratic socialist, ran on a platform of “people-powered justice,” which included ending cash bail, not prosecuting subway turnstile jumping, prosecuting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, closing Rikers Island and decriminalizing sex work.

“I am a 31-year-old, queer Latina public defender whose parents grew up in the Woodside Housing projects,” she said during her Tuesday night speech. “And I decided to run. I ran because for too long, too many communities in Queens hadn’t had a fair shot in our criminal-justice system.”

The Puerto Rican public defender received endorsements from progressive leaders like Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Most recently, the New York Times also backed the candidate.

“She is of Puerto Rican descent and is the first in her family to graduate from college. She would bring a perspective suited to one of the world’s most diverse communities, one where elected officials have rarely reflected that reality,” the publication said in its endorsement of Cabán.

Cabán’s likely six-person primary win would have her succeed the deceased Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and shift the borough’s, city’s and country’s tough-on-crime, prosecutorial approach in the DAs office.

Read: In New York, Queer Latina Tiffany Cabán Wants To Bring ‘Genuine Justice’ To The Queens District Attorney’s Office

Here’s Why AOC Called Her Address At Bronx’s Pride “The Most BX” Speech She Ever Gave

Things That Matter

Here’s Why AOC Called Her Address At Bronx’s Pride “The Most BX” Speech She Ever Gave

Twitter / @_SanchezSabrina

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made an appearance at Bronx Pride 2019 on Sunday, where she gave an air horn-accompanied address that she called “The most BX pride speech I ever gave.”

As the Puerto Rican congressional freshman, who hails from the borough, shouted LGBTQ  policy points she has advocated for in her five months in elected office, spectators blasted “bwa-bwa-bwa-bwaaah” air horns, a familiar sound to the community that birthed hip-hop.

“They really cued up the horns for our policy points. There’s no place like home,” she later tweeted alongside a couple laughing-crying emojis.

During her short talk, AOC touched on what Pride, a time to commeorate the trans women of color-led Stone Wall riots that birthed the gay rights movement and led to the LGBTQ battles and wins of today, means.

“Pride is about honoring the community workers, the people who work in the clinics, the community organizers, the people who work with LGBTQ youth, the people who are fighting to make sure that it’s not just about marriage equality, but quality of life for all people in the community,” she said.

The congresswoman also highlighted some of the biggest issues impacting queer communities at the moment.

“What does the LGBTQ fight mean in a post-marriage-equality world? Here’s what it means: It’s making PrEP free for all people,” she said, as an air horn blasted. 

In Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has led the fight for affordable PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which could decrease the spreading of HIV during sexual intercourse, criticizing the CEO of Gilead, the pharmaceutical company behind the PrEP drug Truvada, in May during a congressional hearing over the high cost of the drug.

“It means tackling the homelessness crisis among our LGBTQ youth,” she continued, with the sound of another “bwa-bwa-bwa-bwaaah” following. 

“It means decarcerating our society so that no trans woman and no person ever dies again in custody,” she said, alluding to the death of transgender Afro-Latina Layleen Polanco earlier this month in New York’s Rikers Island, as another round of air horns exploded. 

“It means no one is denied a job because of their gender identity, no matter what it is,” she said to a final blast.

Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only elected official at Bronx Pride. State Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Senator Chuck Schumer were also in attendance, supporting and taking photos with those who participated in the parade.

Since taking office, the young congresswoman has made issues confronting the LGBTQ community a top priortity.

Read: Historians And AOC Agree That Detention Centers Look Like Concentration Camps But Conservatives Don’t Want To Hear It

Paid Promoted Stories