By Nafisa Masud
On a quiet Tuesday night in Inwood, as sidewalk squares cool after hours baking in the midday sun, the residents of upper Manhattan dance. But they’re not dancing for the change in temperature — they’ve got bigger things to celebrate. The results of all but one election district touted Marisol Alcantara as the victor of the contested primary race for New York Senate District 31. With this win, she’s become a trailblazer that — if elected in November — stands to be the first female Latina state senator in New York history.
While the final votes were being counted and local news flashed Alcantara’s growing margin of victory on screens across Manhattan, the Dominican native’s supporters waited patiently outside 809 Sangria Bar & Grill.
They busied themselves with music and warm recollections of the campaign. Marilu Galvan, a long-time friend and advocate, wasn’t just here to dance.
“It’s the people’s right to vote and get involved in the system because it’s the only way to get power. She [Alcantara] represents the whole gamut of the community, and that’s very important for people to understand. She’s prepared to work and protect every single member of the community, and that’s what brings me here.”
Inside the lounge the crowd grew, and applause erupted as Alcantara, dressed in red, finally appeared with Congressman-elect Adriano Espaillat and Democratic Assembly nominee Carmen De La Rosa in tow.
Espaillat introduced the victorious Alcantara, praising her skills as a mother and activist, adding (in Spanish), “She’s also concerned for the most poor, the most needy in this community.”
Alcantara then took the microphone, thanking the state senators there in support, including Jeff Klein (D-34) and David Carlucci (D-38), as well as the members of the several labor unions who endorsed her political run. Alcantara said,”Even though people said ‘Nobody knows her, or where she’s from’, … out of all the people in New York we’re the ones that thought the senate needed a little bit of spice.”
Alcantara then proceeded to thank others, including her running mates Robert Jackson, Micah Lasher and Luis Tejada, and ended the night with a powerful message for both her voters and the next generation. Hear it here: