Public education campaign for upcoming elections

Community leaders across New York are pushing for stronger civic involvement in the Caribbean-American Diaspora starting with the current race for New York City public advocate. The NYC Public Advocate seat became vacant after former New York City Public Advocate Letitia James was elected to her present office as attorney general last November. The special elections for public advocate will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Notably, four candidates with ties to the Caribbean will be vying for the seat namely: Grenadian-American City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Jamaican-American Assemblyman, Michael Blake, Puerto Rican-American, former City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Dominican-American Councilman. Rafael Espinal Jr. Other candidates in this race include: Manny Alicandro, David Eisenbach, Anthony Herbert, Assemblyman Ron Kim, journalist Nomiki Konst, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, Jared Rich, Ydanis Rodriguez, Helal Sheikh, Dawn Smalls, Councilman Eric Ulrich, and Benjamin Yee.

Caribbean-American voters are encouraged to take actions that will help them make an educated choice for this important office at the polls. As part of this push, a coalition of Caribbean community leaders in partnership with Irie Jam Media Group will host a multi-media Public Advocate Candidates forum for the Caribbean-American community on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 at 8 pm EST. Caribbean-Americans around New York City can participate in the forum via Irie Jam Radio WVIP 93.5 FM, Irie Jam 360 app,, Zoom and Facebook Live.

Recognizing the importance of the Office of Public Advocate across New York City, this event will provide an opportunity for Caribbean Americans to hear the candidates’ plans for addressing issues and concerns of relevance to the Caribbean-American community. It will also help educate and increase awareness about the role and functions of the Office of Public Advocate and its critical importance to New Yorkers well-being. The Public Advocate serves all five New York City boroughs and was set up to represent the interests of New York City residents against city agencies.

The organizers also encourage Caribbean-Americans to attend in-person forums around the city:

●Feb. 12 at 6:30 pm – Western Queens Public Advocate Forum, 10-40 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

●Feb. 13 at 6 pm – Public Advocate Candidates Forum, The Brooklyn Bank, 896 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221

●Feb. 13 at 8 pm – NYC Public Advocate Candidates Forum, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), 166-26 89th Avenue, Jamaica NY 11432

●Feb. 19 at 6:30 pm – MBBA Public Advocates Candidate Forum, Fordham University School of Law, 150 W. 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023.

Candidates will also participate in a second debate, which may be watched on NY1 on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 pm. NY1 will livestream the debate on their website and Facebook page.

Lead coordinator of this Caribbean Americans public education campaign is Dr. Omyma David along with planning team members: Pastor Gilford Monrose, Rhonda Binda Esq., Andrea Dawes, and Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Advisory Board Member Akelia Maitland. Persons interested in learning more about this effort are asked to contact Rhonda Binda Esq. or Dr. Omyma David at

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