Dianne Morales, a born and bred New Yorker from Bed-Stuy, is hellbent on ending institutionalized disparities in what is an increasingly divided city characterized by gentrification, inequity, and outright racism. Morales has never run for office in the past, and has in fact has never even worked in politics — but she’s ambitiously running for mayor against the incumbent mayor Bill de Blasio. If elected, Morales would become the first woman to lead the city, as well as its first Hispanic mayor — and, notably, the first Afro-Latina in the position. Tonight, she’s hosting a Meet and Greet in downtown Manhattan that is open to the public.
Last summer, Morales was nearly christened into New York City politics as the chair of the Equal Employment Practices Commission underneath Mayor Bill de Blasio. Forgoing that opportunity, Morales saw an even bigger one: the opportunity to become the next mayor of New York City. Despite having little direct political experience, Morales has been entrenched in serving the community throughout her career. She currently works as an executive director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods, a social services nonprofit in the Bronx that endeavors to lift low-income communities from poverty through educational reform, access to job opportunities in the healthcare sector, as well as a collective program that organizes the community’s resources toward a shared goal of improving the lives of people living in the South Bronx across a variety of measures.
She has been honored for her work by several organizations, including the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which recognized her influence in “expanding business within the Hispanic Community and protecting the public interest.”
Her personal biography as an Afro-Latina of Puerto Rican descent, a first-generation New Yorker who was raised by a working-class family and who herself raised two children as a single mother — all the while earning graduate degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities — suggest that she has experienced the trials of systemic inequality, as well as having forged through those trials to come out the other side as a powerful advocate for the underserved members of her community.
Upon launching her campaign, Morales told a local publication, “It’s time for a new type of leadership, and a new type of vision. And that is more likely than not going to come from the outside.” She has acknowledged that she is not a typical candidate, but insisted that this would be to the benefit of the community. “It’s time to stop tinkering around the edges and really create some substantive change in a lot of different ways.”
Morales will be holding a fun Meet and Greet in downtown Manhattan this evening to engage with the community and share her vision for the city. The event takes place at Town Stages, 221 West Broadway in New York City, running from 6 to 9 in the evening, and will offer snacks, refreshments, and tunes. While the event itself is free, registration through Eventbrite is highly recommended as the event will be capped upon reaching capacity. That being said, if you’re not able to get a ticket but are excited to meet this Latina mayoral candidate, it’s worth showing up to see if the organizers have extra space for you.