Champion Quality of Life Issues.
The Borough President has the duty to serve as a steward for nuanced quality of life issues, such as civic inclusion, voter education, accessibility, culture & tourism. Building people power around solutions that calibrate justice and equity for Manhattan residents, commuters, and visitors is everyone’s job, and this portfolio of work is an important priority.
Accessibility and Other Solutions for Disabled New Yorkers
Nearly one million New Yorkers live with a disability, representing about 11% of the population. More than 230,000 of this group are students in the public school system, representing 20% of the student population. Having a disability of any type makes a person more likely to experience economic hardships, isolation, and mental illness. It is incumbent upon the government officials to do their best to ensure compliance with ADA regulations and offer ways to help disabled New Yorkers thrive.
- Accessibility — the vast majority of our schools and subways are not accessible to wheelchairs. Reports on schools vary because some school buildings have partly complied with ADA mandates (installing a ramp to enter the building but nothing else), but estimates are that only 20% are said to be compliant. Elevators at subway stations are slightly more prevalent at 25% but getting to a train platform in a wheelchair is hardly the realization of an accessible transit system.
- Workplace Discrimination — laws prohibit the discrimination of people with disabilities in the workplace; however, subtle ways to exclude people still exist. Developing a culture of inclusion starts with the conditioning of private and non-profit sector leaders, the development of workplace practices that filter activities and tasks through the lens of diversity. As a person who lives with a disability of my own, I would be honored to champion this cause.
- Quality of Life and Culture — enjoyment in life, whether its through literature, music, nature, visual arts, and/or film, can be a limiting factor in the lives of people with disabilities. Adults with disabilities are more likely to live isolated lives. Furthermore, intersectionality with low and/or fixed incomes limits options for people with disabilities to get out and enjoy life, cultural institutions, parks, etc. Students and senior citizens, two other subgroups who live with limited financial means, are encouraged to get out with discounts and other incentive programs. It seems to me that New York would benefit a great deal from a wide array of initiatives to help people with disabilities enjoy the city.
Civic Inclusion and Engagement
Service Days, local government participation, and educational enrichment are just three ways that I plan to improve the quality of citizenship in Manhattan. Our future-focused agenda will help students, immigrants, working professionals, and seniors take part in practical programs that improve New York City for everyone who lives, works, and visits here.
New York City has one of the lowest voter-participation rates in the United States. Civics education is not a priority for most K-12 educational institutions, and the civics that are taught are often focused on federal office and government. Kim wants to marshall the impact of student voice groups, such as Teens Take Charge, Integrate NYC, District 3’s Model CEC, and the Youth Council of ASID to elevate the importance of civics education for young New Yorkers.
Kim also wants to work in partnership with other elected officials on automatic voter registration, election training, and scholarship programs and other incentives for citizens who serve the city’s voter and election processes.