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Melissa Mark-Viverito
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Melissa Mark-Viverito currently serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold a citywide elected position. She represents the 8th District, which includes El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx.

Speaker Mark-Viverito was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She worked for over a decade in local activism, nonprofit organizations and labor before being elected to the City Council in 2005, as the first Puerto Rican woman and Latina to represent her district in the Council.

In 2009, she was elected to her second term in the City Council, during which she served as Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, the founding Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus and as a member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. In 2011, she was one of four Council Members to pioneer the first-ever Participatory Budgeting process in New York City.

She is a graduate of Columbia College at Columbia University and Baruch College, City University of New York, where she studied Public Administration through the National Urban Fellows Program.

Entries by Melissa Mark-Viverito

New Yorkers Come Out For National Night Out Against Crime

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 9:22 AM

New York City is the best place in the world to call home -- and thanks to the brave men and women of the NYPD, it is also one of the safest. At National Night Out Against Crime, New Yorkers have an opportunity to celebrate the crucial partnership we have...

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Get Covered: New York City Council Launches Health Care Coverage Campaign

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 11:31 AM

We currently have the opportunity to make health insurance a reality for more New Yorkers through the New York State of Health Marketplace, which is open for enrollment until February 15. The New York City Council is taking an active role in making sure that New Yorkers are equipped with...

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Making New York City an Affordable Place to Call Home

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 9:37 AM

As rising rents and costs of living force too many New Yorkers out of their homes, we must focus and redouble our efforts on fighting the income inequality that threatens our housing security. We must ensure that this city remains affordable for the individuals who make our neighborhoods culturally vibrant...

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Mayor Bloomberg's Legacy: Dismantling Our Communities' Social Service Infrastructure

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 6:14 PM

As the analysis of Mayor Bloomberg's legacy continues in the coming months and years, low-income communities of color like mine will surely remember one thing about this final year in particular: the Mayor is presiding over a virtual fire sale of City-owned land which stands to deprive our communities of...

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Puerto Rico's LGBT Movement and the Diaspora

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 10:26 PM

This is a joint op-ed written by Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Rosie Mendez. Mark-Viverito and Mendez are Puerto Rican members of the New York City Council. Mark-Viverito traveled to Puerto Rico last week to lobby legislators in support of LGBT rights legislation. Mendez is a member of the Council's...

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Participatory Budgeting in Year Two: Reinvigorating Local Democracy in NYC

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 3:40 PM

After we just completed an election season where democracy was under attack across the country -- from Citizens United-era "dark money" to voter suppression laws -- a movement has sprung up in New York City that seeks to strengthen rather than subvert involvement in the democratic process. It's called participatory...

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At DNC, Racist Musings by Puerto Rican Senator Continue to Expose Ugly Reality

(69) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 12:33 PM

Here we go again. Yet another prominent member of Puerto Rico's PNP (Partido Nuevo Progresista) has uttered an offensive, racist remark, this time right in the middle of the Democratic National Convention. As Puerto Rican journalist Ada Alvarez reported on Twitter, Senator Lornna Soto referred to Puerto Rican...

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Taking on Our Fair Share of the City's Waste Burden

(7) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 3:47 PM

A group of residents from the Upper East Side suddenly has a newfound interest in its neighbors to the north. Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, a group led by Upper East Siders, has waged a relentless and well-funded campaign to "save East Harlem-Yorkville" in an attempt to stop the construction...

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The People's Testimony

(2) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 9:22 AM

Next Tuesday, the United States Senate is holding hearings on three resolutions that would amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United v. FEC. This Supreme Court ruling, which was handed down in January of 2010, equated corporate political contributions with freedom of speech, opening the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending...

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Why the Soda Ban Won't Work

(19) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 3:39 PM

There are few who would criticize Mayor Bloomberg for working towards the goal of a healthier New York. Unfortunately, there are many who would criticize Mayor Bloomberg for seeking to achieve that goal the wrong way. In fact, most New Yorkers think the so-called "soda ban"-- which would...

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The Bloomberg Administration's Double Standards on Poverty and Accountability

(4) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 6:08 PM

As New Yorkers face the grim prospect this spring of massive budget cuts proposed by Mayor Bloomberg, a new report calls our attention to one of the populations most vulnerable to the budget axe: poor children.

Childhood poverty has increased significantly during the recent recession, according to a

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Pipe Dreams: The Case Against Keystone and the Gasoducto

(19) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 10:16 AM

Last month, the President announced that he would expedite approval for the Southern part of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which extends from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast.

This appears to be an unconscionable reversal of the Administration's stance to stop construction on the pipeline out of environmental...

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Citizens United: Bad for Small Business and Bad for Democracy

(6) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 6:59 AM

Freddy Castiblanco, owner of Terraza 7 Live Music in Elmhurst, NY and member of the steering committee of the Main Street Alliance, is the co-author of this opinion.

Two years ago last week, the Supreme Court handed down the Citizens United decision, paving the way for unlimited corporate spending...

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Living Wage Is a Step in the Right Direction

(3) Comments | Posted January 20, 2012 | 10:49 AM

Last week, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced that a deal had been struck, amending New York City's living wage law to include more city residents. This is a meaningful step forward in the journey to establish...

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The New York City Housing Authority Should Be More Democratic

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2011 | 7:02 AM

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has a new funding proposal for NYC public housing: ad space on the buildings. According to the NY Daily News, NYCHA plans to sell public space to advertisers in order to raise revenue for NYCHA developments. Housing Authority officials promise that these adverts...

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Wake Up Call: Civil Rights Abuses in Puerto Rico Highlight Need for All Americans to Pay Attention to the Island

(46) Comments | Posted September 15, 2011 | 11:25 PM

Last week, the NY Times reported that the Department of Justice had uncovered appalling corruption within the Puerto Rican Police Department (PRPD). The offenses included unreasonable force, unconstitutional stops, searches, and seizures, and an ineffective disciplinary system. In an overview of the PRPD, the DOJ gave...

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Why We Are Launching the New York City Council Progressive Caucus

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2010 | 2:59 PM

On Wall Street bonuses are back. Bolstered by a government bailout in the hundreds of billions, New York City's financial sector is once again riding high. But just off of Wall Street, neighborhoods across New York City are struggling to pull out of an economic crisis that has left too...

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