ITHACA, N.Y. –– Yasmin Rashid, the woman who made headlines over the summer for her involvement in the Sunday racial justice rallies, has announced her candidacy for City of Ithaca Common Council. Rashid is vying for a seat to represent the city’s 1st Ward –– currently represented by Alderperson Cynthia Brock who will be seeking reelection.

“I’m running for Common Council because I believe that everyone has a voice and while we may not always agree, compassion for and understanding of people should always be the purpose of communication along with an even ear for fairness,” Rashid said in her statement announcing her candidacy.

Rashid prides herself on being an American Muslim and native New Yorker as well as a strong Black woman and single mother of three children. She is an abuse survivor as well –– something she spoke candidly about over the summer when she took the helm of the “Unbroken Promise Initiative” –– then a newly formed racial justice advocacy group looking to enrich life on Ithaca’s West End.

Rashid said her experiences as a “teen parent who understands how to overcome and persevere,” will help her in office. “Yasmin has first hand experience with the effects of gentrification, marginalization, homelessness, hunger, and police brutality,” her press statement says.

Rashid studied Social Sciences at Monroe Community College and is currently a Workforce Coordinator at Ithaca Reuse. She works with both the re-entry apprenticeship and programming geared toward training community members 55 and older to be a part of the workforce. She is also, as was mentioned above, an executive board member for the Unbroken Promise Initiative which has grown into a full-blown local grassroots non-profit that aims to address local economic and racial inequalities addressing racial and economic inequalities.

There was much talk in summer 2020 about representation on the West End, with much of the neighborhood’s population being the disenfranchised Black residents of the West Village Apartment complex.

“As a true representative for the 1st Ward I will maintain respect, integrity, transparency, understanding and compassion while listening to all the voices,” Rashid said.

Her campaign over the next few months will focus on the following platform points:

  • Police and community relations: Working closely with local police to enhance community relations by being a liaison first for the people, communication and accountability beyond BBQ’s. Sharing ineffective tactics and communication habits that only prove to further damage the relationship between local officers and the taxpayers who contribute to their salaries.

  • Housing: Helping to create more affordable housing that will lead to more homeownership including coming up with creative ways to create city revenue other than increasing property taxes. Accountability for rental upkeep by inattentive landlords and landlords denying section 8 and other government subsidies

  • Child care: Increase and maintain adequate after school care programs through an array of community and municipal groups. Gather community members’ concerns to bring to those who directly inform decisions. We must support caregivers to increase their ability to get and keep good paying jobs.

Rashid said her team will soon begin circulating the petition to get her name on the ballot.

“I encourage everyone to register to vote if you haven’t already. We must believe that we belong at the tables where decisions are made; even when we have to work twice as hard, we will do it with open hearts and open minds,” she said.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com