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He is the first Mexican-American elected to the City Council in New York City and the first openly gay office holder in Brooklyn. Carlos Menchaca shares his personal experiences in serving and representing this very diverse and rapidly gentrifying waterfront district.

Detail Summary
Date 22 June 2019
Time 10:00 -12:30
We make the city

On Saturday morning, 22 June, We Make the City Festival presents the Urban Conference 'Governing Brooklyn - Local Politics in a Global City'. Together with citizens and politicians from Amsterdam, Carlos Menchaca will reflect on the following questions: How have immigration and diversity influenced his approaches to addressing key policy issues and his strategies for achieving effective policy solutions? And how does he work to empower (undocumented) immigrants and other resident?

About Carlos Menchaca

He is the representative for the New York City Council District 38, which includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights, and portions of Borough Park, Dyker Heights and Windsor Terrace. Recent legislation he has introduced include proposals to promote workplace safety with apprenticeship training, to punish predatory landlords, and to improve street safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Carlos authored the legislation for New York’s first municipal identification card, IDNYC, which now serves over one million registrants.

As Chair of the Committee on Immigration, Carlos led negotiations that funded the nation’s largest public defender programme for undocumented immigrants, and for the greatest City allocation in recent history for adult literacy services. He has supported innovative programs for immigrant day laborers, street vendors, and worker cooperatives. Carlos’ commitment to direct democracy is shown in his annual allocation of more than $2 million to Participatory Budgeting (PB) where residents nominate and vote for capital budget projects. In 2017, for the fourth year in a row, District 38 produced the highest number of PB voters City-wide and welcomed voting by all residents regardless of immigration status, and for the first time, middle school students.

He has successfully defended the Sunset Park and Red Hook manufacturing zones from luxury residential development. He has fought gentrification and displacement through street protest, support of tenant advocates, and through legislation that extends tenants’ rights including the right to counsel in housing court.


  • Carlos Menchaca, representative for the New York City Council District 38.
  • Mourad Taimounti is in the Amsterdam City Council for the political party DENK.
  • Femke Roosma is in the Amsterdam City Council for the political party Groenlinks.
  • Sylvana Simons is in the Amsterdam City Council as chair for the political party BIJ1
  • Savannah Koolen, Here to Support initiator and founder of Amsterdam City Rights.​
  • David Laws, senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and CUS member, will moderate the discussion.

This event is organised by Floris Vermeulen and Els de Graauw and is sponsored by a Centre for Urban Studies Seed Grant.