It was the night before the midterm election when I met Jasmine Robinson. She and her mother were passing out pamphlets in the entryway of the Staten Island ferry.
A man, walking by, eagerly extended his hand and nodded with acceptance before turning to his colleague and sharing a moment of understanding. That understanding is what is driving a surplus of voters to the polls because participation in this election is crucial.
Robinson is a Black woman and like the Maxine Waters and Stacey Abrams of the world who’ve come before her, she got into politics because she wanted change. But it hasn’t been easy.
“I graduated with a degree in political science and I’ve always helped out local politicians with their campaigns and I’m an executive member of the Staten Island Democratic association. I decided it’s time I enter he ring as well,” Robinson explained taking a moment out of her on-the-ground campaigning.
“This is my first time running for office. I entered the race back in March of 2018. Earlier that year, Erica Garner passed away and I was at this vigil where people crying and saying politics were a pile-of-tricks. That no one cares for us and we’re just a photo opp,” a sentiment echoed in the Black community. All of which, encouraged Robinson to enter the game of politics.
“I entered this race to show that we can have a seat at the table. Our voice should be heard and it’s long overdue that someone who looks like us and knows what time is it can recognize the pain and the struggle run for office.”
Robinson serves the district is the North Shore of Staten Island and some parts of south Brooklyn (Coney Island, Gravesend, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights).
“As a woman of color it’s been very hard. Not only am I Black, I’m Cuban so it’s very difficult. Some of the mainstream progressives didn’t embrace me so I made my own coalition. I could have been bitter about it but I made my own coalition and I got my own endorsements. I’ve been endorsed by the No IDC, which took out most of the IDC members, the rogue democrats. I’m running against Diane Savino. She is still a rogue democrat and should not be rewarded.”
Robinson’s policies center around justice reform, women’s rights and serving the Black community. “I’m against cash bail,” she said. “I support criminal justice reform. I feel that it is time that we have a justice system that protects and looks out for all people especially working class and people of color. I support the climate and community protection act, which means if there’s another super storm, ie: Sandy, that we will be able to recover faster and quicker in times of national disasters. I’m for affordable housing and I’m also for the New York health act. We need to have lower prescription medicine, lower premiums and more access to medicine and doctors. The NY health act has been blocked time and time again, I’m hoping we have a democratic majority that can get this passed. With the current Trump administration we see people like our undocumented and women, our rights are under attack and under siege. We need to protect Roe v. Wade in New York. We should be the beacon of progression and we’re not.”
Find more information on Jasmine Robinson, here.