Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and public defender Tiffany Cabán continue to energize their base before the June 25th primary of the Queens District Attorney race.
On Wednesday, Katz led a rally in Forest Hills with civil rights activist Nicole Paultre Bell, Laura McQuade, the CEO and president of Planned Parent New York City Votes PAC and National Organization for Women-New York City President Sonia Ossorio.
“We need a district attorney who knows the families and knows the people of Queens, who has been spending years talking with them and has been working to pass laws to help improve their lives,” said Ossorio. “There are few elected positions that have as significant and direct an impact on accountability and justice for gendered-based violence and that’s why this position is so important and we need the most qualified candidate to win.”
McQuade shared Ossorio’s enthusiasm for Katz as district attorney and thanked her for her nearly 30 years of public service.
“We are thrilled to be announcing our endorsement of Melinda Katz for the next Queens DA,” said McQuade. “We only back winners and what is a winner to us, someone who has dedicated 25 years – more than 25 years, 27 years to not only to the borough of Queens, but to sexual and reproductive healthcare and women’s rights, to women’s inclusion, the LGBT community, to fighting violence and to fighting hate crimes against women and the LGBT community.”
Paultre Bell, the fiancé of Sean Bell who was an unarmed man that was fatally shot by police, threw her support behind Katz because she would be a DA with a “backbone” that would fight for justice.
“For 13 years my family fought to find justice not only for Sean but for the many other names who have gone [on to become] victims and who have had justice denied,” said Paultre Bell, who is from Jamaica. “We need a DA who would not be afraid to prosecute those who commit crimes.”
While Cabán was not named, her policy to decarcerate and mediate whenever she can, and to decriminalize sex work were implied from Paultre Bell and Ossorio as they endorsed Katz.
Paultre Bell wants a candidate that is “not afraid” to prosecute corrupt cops, and NOW-NYC does not women in sex work to be exploited.
“She does not support the wholesale decriminalization of the sex trade, recognizing the harms of an unfettered industry of exploitation and the violence that comes with it, but she supports removing discriminatory law that affects people in prostitution,” said Ossorio.
In Corona, Cabán was at a rally alongside sex workers and trafficking survivors in support of the Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act.
The act would repeal and amend certain statutes so that consenting adults who trade sex will no longer face arrest, and those who previously were convicted under current law will have their criminal record expunged, according to Cabán spokeswoman.
The act would still uphold statutes that hold people accountable for trafficking, violence, and exploitation.
“We must fight against the stigma, violence, and isolation that leads to the over-policing and criminalization of our neighbors engaging in sex work,” tweeted Cabán on June 12. “Proud to stand with sex workers and activists today to call on Albany to act NOW to decriminalize sex work.”
Earlier this week, she touted her backing from seven grassroots organizations, committed to ending cash bail for all offenses and in all circumstances, and highlighted her endorsements from Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), the Chair of the Committee on Immigration, and Yusef Salaam, one of the Exonerated Five who was wrongfully sent to prison.
“I was incarcerated because of my skin color, not because of evidence,” said Salaam. “We have to elect Tiffany Cabán because she is going to fight every day to get people like me out of those cruel cages in Rikers because she is going to invest in our communities instead of arresting us.”
Cabán also spent the weekend knocking on 6,000 doors of prospective voters.