[Learn more about Alexa’s campaign here.]
Red Net (RN): Please tell our readers who you are and why you’re running.
Alexa Avilés (AA): I am Alexa Avilés, a Boricua, education activist, mother, and democratic socialist. I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn and I have lived in Sunset Park for nearly two decades. I’m running for New York City Council as a democratic socialist to fight for all working people who experience daily, and feel deeply, the oppressive structures and inequalities endemic to the capitalist system.
RN: What does democratic socialism mean to you? What would that look like at a city level/in New York City?
AA: To me, Democratic Socialism is where people control the equitable distribution of goods and services and governments work for the common good, not for the wealthy elite. Socialism is a system free of discrimination and oppressive systems and policies. It is also embodied in how we live our lives daily in service to our community and those who are most vulnerable. A city that embodies socialism will begin breaking down barriers to make sure all people have the resources and support they need to live full, safe, and dignified lives.
RN: What are one or two big issues facing New York City that you’re passionate about? How would you like to see the Council tackle these issues?
AA: Education Justice: Education is a human right and is one of the most important public goods. Every person deserves access to a quality education and our future depends on it. We must fully fund public education; eliminate discriminatory screens, tests, and punitive policies; get police out of schools; as well as integrate and create inclusive school environments with diverse educators and culturally grounded curriculums. A just educational system must center the most marginalized and provide meaningful opportunities and decision-making power for parents and students.
Defund the NYPD: Budget Justice. What will actually keep communities safe are real investments in essential services: housing, education, and transportation. New York City throws police at every problem instead of trying to solve their root causest. Kids act up in school — arrest them; people are sleeping in the streets –- arrest them; people are poor — criminalize them. Underneath it all lies the inherent racism that is ingrained in every part of the carceral system. We must cut the NYPD’s bloated $6+ Billion budget — which includes more than $300 million for police misconduct lawsuits — and redirect it to the services our communities desperately need and deserve.
RN: What are the biggest organizational challenges that the NYC-DSA and insurgent campaigns need to overcome in order to succeed?
AA: Our people-powered campaign needs to confront the pervasive and corrosive mythologies about capitalism that are deeply ingrained in people’s thinking. We’ll have to overcome people’s skepticism and disaffection with politics and help them to see that we too are normal, working people also disaffected by the system. That is why we’re running.
RN: What are you most looking forward to in the campaign process?
AA: Talking with our residents and working with our comrades and neighbors to build the community and society we want to see. It is a pretty amazing thing to see a community member realize and realize their own power.