In Their Own Words: Julio Pabon, Bronx Not For Sale

The future of our community will be decided on February 23rd with the election for our next City Councilmember. More than just another City Council race, this race is a reflection of the national debate in the presidential race: money in politics and a democratic candidate who is from the system versus a candidate who is outside the system. This same thing is happening in our own South Bronx’s District 17. It is the people versus a political system that has for too long decided by itself who our leaders will be. It is a system that has been riddled with corruption, politics for sale, and the systematic disenfranchisement of the voice of the people. Politics has never been more local.


Our community ranks as one of the poorest, most underrepresented, and most poised for gentrification in all of NYC. We’ve seen our elected officials from the Bronx in almost every level of representation come under scrutiny for corruption and selling out our community to the highest bidder. And now this same broken system is asking the people to trust them again with their voice in the New York City Council. The old saying has never been more true: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I want to add to that, fool us thrice, shame on all of us. I’m running to be our Council Member for the Bronx’s District 17 because you and I–all of us–can’t afford to be fooled again.


I’ve been in our community for 59 years, I’ve raised 3 children here, and I’ve never turned my back on the community. When so many wanted to remain in our beloved Bronx but felt like there was nothing here for them and left, I stayed. I became a teacher at the same school I attended as a kid, JHS 38 over on St. Anns Ave, because I wanted our kids to have a chance. While career politicians are out there selling off the Bronx to the highest bidder, I’ve been right here on the ground fighting for the Bronx, fighting for all of us. While my opponents chased after endorsements from political clubs and money from special interests, I was only after one endorsement: yours. It’s the only endorsement that matters to me.


I’m not making promises because the truth is, I don’t have to. I’ve been doing the work every single day for decades. I helped to establish the South Bronx Jobs Corps to get our kids the jobs and training they needed to succeed. I’m fighting against the false imprisonment of so many people of color and victims of economic inequality with a group that I co-founded, Discovery for Justice. When they tried to close our U.S. Post Office, I was fighting alongside all of you to keep it open. I helped to organize the movement to get an elevator put in on the 149th St. and Grand Concourse Subway station.  I’ve been fighting to keep roofs over our heads as a housing rights activist. But I didn’t do all of this work to prepare myself to win an election; I do this because it’s the right thing to do. I’m from the Bronx, where we stand up for each other and we never turn our back on those in need. We’re family, and that’s what family does.


You’re the Bronx, I’m the Bronx. This election is about protecting the Bronx and electing the leader the Bronx needs to speak up. This is about never selling out because the Bronx isn’t for sale. We’re not for sale. I am not for sale. When you step up to that election booth on Tuesday, February 23rd, take a look around you. Look at your community, your friends, your family. Look at the decisions before you and you’ll see only one candidate who has stood by all of us, who can’t be bought. Vote for our community. Vote for the Bronx. Vote Julio Pabón.


Julio Pabon is running for City Council in the 17th District on the Bronx Not For Sale independent ballot line in February 23 Special Election.

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