By Dylan Campbell
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer visited Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights Monday to announce his endorsement of Catalina Cruz in the race for the District 39 Assembly seat.
Cruz, the president of the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County, came to Queens as an undocumented immigrant from Colombia at age 9. She eventually became a U.S. citizen and graduated from CUNY School of Law. She has represented low-income tenants facing eviction from their rent-stabilized apartments and served in various levels of government.
“As a Dreamer she is a shining example of the American Dream. An example of what can happen when we give immigrant communities a fair shot at realizing that dream,” Stringer said in a statement. “As a lawyer and former council Chief of Staff [for former Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland] she has fought for others to have a fair shot at the dream too.”
Stringer said Cruz is a “a lifelong advocate” who is “committed to serving this community from fighting unscrupulous landlords in housing court, to passing legislation protecting workers’ and immigrants’ rights.”
Cruz is running against incumbent Democratic Assembly Member Ari Espinal, another advocate for the rights of women and immigrants who has received the support of the county Democratic party.
Earlier this month, Cruz spoke with the Queens Daily Eagle about her commitment to empowering low-income individuals and people of color.
“A couple things need to be done,” she said. “We need more people in elected offices who are friendly to the idea of hiring people of color or who are people of color.”
As president of the LLAQC, Cruz has worked to further the mission of the association by ensuring more people of color enter law school, secure jobs at law firms and in government and get elected to judgeships.
“We need to really be supporting people who show skills, leadership and interest,” she told the Eagle. “We need more people of color to be lawyers period.”