Passion for Syracuse
As a product of Syracuse area schools (Syracuse City Schools, Syracuse University and the Maxwell School), I am a passionate advocate for Syracuse. I have lived in Syracuse neighborhoods most of mylife and have also been fortunate to experience life in other areas. I lived
abroad in France and Spain during college and in Argentina shortly after college. After graduate school, I lived six years in New York City. These experiences have helped me appreciate Syracuse and have also helped me see how we can improve Syracuse. Syracuse is my home and it is where I choose to live. I look forward to working with the community to help our city realize its potential as a vibrant urban core.
I attended Syracuse City Schools (Huntington K-8 and Henninger 9-12) where I received a strong foundation of academic and life skills that positioned me to be successful at college, graduate school, and within the global economy. I had countless teachers who invested in me academically, counselors who collaborated with my parents to empower me as a student, and coaches that challenged me in ways that strengthened my work ethic. I even participated in a program called “The Syracuse Challenge” (the original college access program for Syracuse city school students) which helped me visualize myself as a college student by making college more than sporting events in the dome.7
Raised in Eastwood
I grew up with my parents in Eastwood in a community where I could walk to school, walk to a friend’s house, walk to buy a slice of pizza, walk to a book store, walk to a library, walk to Blessed Sacrament to try to sneak into their gym, or ride my bike to Sunnycrest Park where there were basketball and tennis courts, an ice rink, and a golf course. I benefited from living in this community where my neighbors knew me. They would thank me when I did something good, yell at me when I did something stupid, and hire me to shovel walks, mow lawns, and rake leaves as needed. In this way they guided and cultivated me. My father still lives in Eastwood on South Edwards Avenue. The neighbors still look out for one another and help each other as they can. It was a great place to grow up and my father believes it is a great place to age.
While I grew up in Eastwood, I feel I am an honorary Northsider. I spent countless hours at the McChesney Community Center between the ages of 13 and 24 playing and coaching basketball. Each of the last four winters I have been a volunteer coach to 9 and 10 year olds at McChesney on Saturday mornings. Working with the kids at McChesney provides a great reminder that at its core basketball is life preparation and the court offers a communal space where the borders and differences that too often separate us go unnoticed and we come together to work toward a common goal. I am thankful to have benefited from such strong parks and recreation programming and I want to ensure residents continue to have access to such high quality social services.
In 2010, I purchased a 100 year old house on Glenwood Avenue that backs up to Elmwood Park. On weekends, over the next three years I gradually worked with friends and loved ones to renovate the house. I have wonderful neighbors, I enjoy the community events at the Fire Barn in Onondaga Park, and I love the peaceful tranquility offered by Elmwood Park. At the same time I am personally aware of the challenges within the neighborhood that are all too common in Syracuse: poverty, vacant homes, drug sales, drug use, violence, illegal dumping, disconnected youth, and disempowered people. I do not turn away from these undesirable circumstances. Rather I believe we can work as a community to address these challenges directly. As threatening as some things seem, I believe these are opportunities to be seized. We must find ways to effectively alleviate poverty, revitalize homes, remove drugs from the street, make our parks beautiful, and most importantly begin to empower our youth and citizens of all ages. We live in a world that constantly pushes us to yield and give up our power to other forces. However, we must push back by exercising our personal power and by introducing those around us to their own power. There are no easy solutions, but I believe empowerment is contagious and brings a new kind of momentum for positive transformation. I have, and will continue to, work in support of empowerment for all residents of greater Syracuse.
- Democratic Party
- Working Families Party
- Veteran’s Party
- SEIU 1199
- Sheet Metal Workers Local 58
- Greater Syracuse Labor Council