The lack of buzz that should have been created by the Jan. 3 historic appointment of New York City Council Member Amanda Farías as the council’s first Latina majority leader was disappointing. Blame the abrupt demotion of her predecessor Council Member Keith Powers for stealing Farías’ thunder. “I think it says a lot about how media chooses to portray certain situations or women or even Latinx representation,” Farías told City & State editor Peter Sterne, who reported how Farías’ staff issued a press release touting her new role almost a week after the fact.
This lack of attention should not go unnoticed by people of color serving in New York City government, especially Latinos. The latest City Hall workforce report filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found Latinos make up only 22% of new hires under Mayor Eric Adams’ first full fiscal year. This was a 2% increase from the de Blasio administration, but it still trailed the representation of white and Black New Yorkers, 32% and 26%, respectively.
Latinos in the highest levels of power in the administration like Ana Almanzar, deputy mayor for strategic initiatives; Ivette Davila-Richards, the mayor’s deputy press secretary; and Jose Bayona, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media, among others, should boost their profiles. Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez isn’t shy about pointing out that he is the first Latino to serve in his position. People of color serving in public office know well about the importance of representing and should be loud and proud about it. Others, including the media, can’t always be relied on to do it.
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