Teacher endorsed by WFP running for City Council
by Jacob Henry
Dec 22, 2020 | 2109 views | 0 0 comments | 95 95 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Felicia Singh is a teacher running for City Council in District 32, courtesy of Felicia Singh
Felicia Singh is a teacher running for City Council in District 32, courtesy of Felicia Singh
Felicia Singh working to get out the census in Ozone Park. 
Felicia Singh working to get out the census in Ozone Park. 
Felicia Singh is a high-school teacher, a daughter of Punjabi immigrants, a Queens native who grew up in Ozone Park, a volunteer who served in the U.S. Peace Corps, and now she’s also a candidate for City Council in south Queens.

The seat is currently held by Councilman Eric Ulrich, who will be forced out of office next year due to term limits.

Her background is not concurrent with a traditional politician, but Singh believes that is one of her greatest strengths.

“I’m coming with the experience of living a working-class life,” she said. “It’s one that we don’t have often in City Council. I have points of view that are missing in our legislative process.”

Singh has held leadership roles before, such as vice president of her local civic association, where she led public forums, community cleanup events, worked on voter registration and helped with the census.

She is running on a platform that involves relief for small businesses, a focus on education, new modes of transportation, and improved social services for the community.

“I think that what we really want is a City Council that’s going to be courageous and brave and stand up for people and working-class people,” she said. “And I really hope to be in that cohort because that's the life I've always lived.”

When Felicia Singh was 12 years old, her eight-year-old sister was diagnosed with leukemia, all while her family was struggling to pay rent in Ozone Park.

This led Singh’s school and community to help raise money to support the medical costs and allowed her father to take a month off work from his job as a taxi driver. Singh’s sister has now been in remission for 15 years.

“It was so amazing to see,” Singh said. “We didn’t even know who they were and they threw us a fundraiser. That was how we decided that we were going to stay in Ozone Park and invest in our community.”

Singh is endorsed by the Working Families Party, an organization that has had success in pushing out the old guard of political candidates and exchanging them with younger talent. =

The party recently helped elect Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani, as well as Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to seats in Congress, to name a few

“We’re usually sold as having these really progressive, radical ideas, but really, it’s about justice,” Singh said. “It’s about what’s right.”

As for the recent increase in crime throughout Queens, Singh said a lack of social services might be a factor.

“We want people to thrive in our communities,” Singh said. “Why don’t we look at providing more mental health services and investing in homeless services as a form of safety?”

She added that increased policing in the community has not adequately prevented crime.

“More police will not prevent crime,” Singh said. “We keep doing the same thing over and over again, continuing to invest in this system where, if it actually worked, we wouldn’t have these issues right now.”

Ulrich is a Republican, but Singh wants to “bust the myth” that District 32 skews more to the right, bringing up the fact that only 5,300 people voted in 2017 out of 52,000 registered Democrats in the area.

She added that candidates in the past have ignored the people of color who call the district home, and that it might not be as red as it seems.

“That’s really important because we have so many people of color that live in this district that just don’t have actual representation,” she said.

If elected, Singh would be the first woman of color to represent District 32 in the City Council.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to stifle small businesses in the area, and communities are being denied access to testing centers and medical treatment.

“This is a very stressful time for folks,” she said. “They need their elected officials to speak up for them and advocate for more resources.”

Singh wants to bring her “seva,” which means “service” in Punjabi, back to the community that helped her out when she was growing up.

“It’s time for us to invest in courage,” she said. “People really need someone that they believe will stand for them and their values, and I'm that candidate."

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