“Keeping My Promise and My Integrity" Read Sheba Simpson's Story.
"When I was fifteen years old, I made a promise to myself that I would help my community that was being devastated by the crack epidemic and the beginning of mass incarceration. At the time, I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I made the promise to myself nonetheless.
Becoming an educator came about after I was a volunteer at Morningside Day Care Center, which was located in my community of Harlem. It was there that I realized that I had a way of connecting to children and tuning into their natural abilities and critical thinking skills. I also realized that I was a natural at being an advocate for others who were not capable of advocating for themselves. I did not know at the time how important that skill would be later in life as a Special Education teacher and mother of a child who is double differently abled.
With over twenty years of experience as an educator and other roles within the NYCDOE, I have witnessed first hand how the most marginalized children continuously are deprived of opportunities to grow into capable and thoughtful adults. It is my belief that ALL children deserve to have an exceptional education that builds on their natural talents, critical thinking skills and self-advocacy and teaches them financial literacy and how to become civically engaged in their communities. If the above doesn’t happen, we fail as a society.
My unwavering belief in children being one of our greatest natural resources, is one of the reasons I decided to run for NY City Council for District 9 in Harlem. I am exhausted from our children not receiving the funding, services, support and programs that other communities receive without a second thought. Oftentimes, the very people making the decisions about what is best for children, have never stepped a day in a classroom, but they are considered the experts on how to teach and engage children. Also, the language used when discussing the limitations of our children's’ capabilities are at minimum thoughtless and to the extreme, outright racist.
Furthermore, as a City Council women, my priority will be to amplify the voices of my community that have been silenced and ignored for far too long. I plan to create partnerships with the residents in my community, to ensure that our seniors have knowledge of the available services for them to receive discounted prescriptions, quality food assistance and rent subsidies. I am working on a policy that will require that essential workers reside in the community for at least ten years,which will bring in much needed revenue, build community ties and hopefully create reciprocal respect, especially with the NYPD. Furthermore, there is a great need for low and affordable housing for long time Harlem residents and those who want to live in the community for an extended period of time.
In addition, I would call for defunding the NYPD and use the money to refund NYC Public Schools, to provide much needed nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, STEAM programs, coding, financial literacy, entrepreneurial programs and civics classes. Our children should have access to a twenty-first century education that levels the playing field of systems that has failed so many Black and brown children for generations.
Because of term limits enacted in 2001, forty-one of the fifty-nine NY City Council seats will be open. It is a very unique time for women to take positions and bring the issues that women face on a daily basis as primary caregivers. The issues of child care, maternal mortality, pay equity, sexual harassment, domestic violence and housing will hopefully be given more priority and legislation created to mitigate the stress of having to “figure out” how to be a working women and a maintaining a healthy family life.
I grew up in a household as the only girl of five; so being a woman in a male dominant role has never phased me. I learned quickly how to stand up for myself and a good right hook helped. I'm not afraid to call out any person that tries to maintain the status quo in politics.Furthermore, I will not be silent to expressing the needs and real concerns of my community. I will speak truth to power against racist policies that will adversely affect the people who are most vulnerable. I will enlist like minded individuals that understand that the old guard of helping the rich get richer off the backs of the middle class and working poor can no longer be accepted. We will create a NY City Council that is diverse, inclusive and progressive. We will create a space where the presence of intelligent, savvy and innovative thinking women will become the new normal in City Hall."