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Sat. May 18th, 2024

 

By Peter F. Vallone Jr.

New York City Council Member and candidate for Queens Borough President

Sadly, the Muslim community is no stranger to discrimination. It also happens that Queens – home to so many Muslims – is often discriminated against when it comes to the city’s attention.

Both kinds of discrimination are just wrong. I’m running to be Queens Borough President to end this kind of treatment for Muslims and for every resident inQueens.

We already know we’re the most diverse and welcoming borough –we hear it in the languages spoken onQueens BoulevardandMain Street. As the Council Member representing the Queens neighborhood ofAstoriasince 2001, I have worked every day to champion this diversity by advocating for public safety, the environment, our schools and our health.

In addition,Astoriais the proud home to one of the city’s largest Muslim populations. The section ofSteinway Street, affectionately called “Little Egypt,” promotes dozens of small businesses known throughout the city for its wondrous cuisine, goods and culture. It’s a friendly place for people all over the city to reconnect with their home country or learn about the culture for the first time.

Having the privilege to represent this population and culture in the New York City Council allowed me to be a leader on a number of Muslim issues, including calling on the Department of Education to observe the Eid holidays and making Halal food available in our schools. As chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I also act as a liaison between the New York Police Department and Muslim community to help mediate many important issues – especially when the community feels the police have gone beyond legal guidelines.

On a personal level, I helped the family of Omar Audi, a 9-year-old Lebanese student fighting a deadly disease and facing deportation, stay in the country to be treated and personally made sure his parents were allowed to stay with him the entire time. As Borough President, I will fund more programs that strengthen our immigrant communities.

And then there are the issues that affect everyQueensresident, and I have always fought to make sure that our borough gets its fair share. I fought during the 2011 blizzard when the City deserted us and got our street plowed. I took on Con Edison when our neighborhoods were blacked out for days and got our lights turned back on.

I never back down from a fight when it means protectingQueens. I blasted my New York City Council colleagues when they voted to rename theQueensboroBridgeand when the City removed “The Triumph of Civic Virtue,” an iconic statue that was prominently displayed near Borough Hall inKewGardens.

I let the city know of our displeasure and outrage by chastising it for doing in Queens what they would never do inManhattan.

Our Muslim communities are growing and they need someone to fight for them this way to makeNew Yorka better place for them.

For example, roughly half our small businesses in this city are immigrant-owned. For ten years, I ran my family’s law firm and I understand how government can sometimes overburden business owners with red tape. As a Council Member, I worked to install new programs that cut that red tape and streamline the processes of working with the city. As the only Queens Borough President candidate for with small business experience, you can be sure I will remain a responsible voice for small businesses.

As Borough President, I will continue to fight forQueenswith the same vigor that I have fought with for more than two decades. That is something that the Muslim community, and allQueensresidents, can count on.

 

 

 

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