Gigi Li, candidate for City Council (CD1)

Twitter: @gigi_k_li

Thank you for the opportunity to seek the endorsement of the Grand Street Democrats.  Last week, we all took part in sending a clear message – we want a transition of leadership in the White House.  Building off that energy, we now shift our focus to local elections.  As all politics is local, the election in June will pave the way for how New York City will recover from COVID, restore the economy, and continue building on a progressive Citywide movement.   

As a third generation Lower Manhattan resident and a new mom – the future of our neighborhood is always on my mind.  I have spent my entire adult professional life advocating for change, working as a counselor/advocate for children and families impacted by domestic violence, organizing rallies at City Hall and in Albany to expand summer jobs for youth, and serving on the Mayor’s taskforce to expand the City’s afterschool system and design UPKNYC.   

Motivated to serve on the community level, I applied and was appointed to serve on Manhattan’s Community Board 3 in 2009, and was elected to serve as board chair from 2012-2016.  The ten years I spent on CB3 cemented the importance of government accessibility and accountability.  After all, it was my frustration with the government policies and bureaucracy that led me to become a social worker. 

My priorities include fighting for affordable housing and protecting existing affordable housing, preserving caregiving services in the challenging budgets ahead of us – for children and seniors, and economic recovery from COVID.  My commitment to serve the residents of LES remains steadfast, with a proven track record – leadership role in planning of Essex Crossing, fighting against NYCHA infill, navigating resiliency & recovery efforts, preserving childcare capacity and expanding SYEP capacity Citywide, and locally. 

Lower Manhattan deserves a candidate that can bring diverse coalitions together to achieve common goals, a candidate that will unify our neighborhoods.  I am committed to working hard for your support and fight for a community my family has been proud to call home – and for our future generations to have the opportunity to raise their families here. 

My extensive experience in both the nonprofit and government sectors, also serving as a chief of staff to a NYC Councilmember for the past two years has prepared me to fight for you starting on day 1.  I would be honored to have your support.     

Grand Street Dems asked each CD1 candidate to submit a statement ahead of our endorsement meeting on Sunday, November 15.

Jenny Low, candidate for City Council (CD1)

Twitter: @jennylamlow

Dear Members of Grand Street Democrats, 

I hope you are healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. Thank you for the opportunity to talk with  you and share my vision as a City Council Candidate for District 1 on Sunday, November 15. 

Please allow me to re-introduce myself. I am a life-long advocate for Lower Manhattan, serving as an elected  District Leader for the last twenty five years and a board member of a $190M+ nonprofit organization, while  keeping a professional private sector career for 29+ years. I’m ready to put my proven skills, passion for Lower Manhattanites, and knowledge to work and help District 1 and the City recover from the devastation caused by  COVID. 

I have spent my whole life helping Lower Manhattan, empowering women, immigrants and people of color, and fighting for our progressive values. 

  • I’ve been on the board of Eleanor’s Legacy for the last 10 years. We helped build a very progressive farm team of women and women of color in the state for elective office. 
  • As a District Leader for 25 years, I’ve been able to raise political awareness in our community and in doing so expanded our political voice and empowerment. 
  • As a board member of the Chinese-American Planning Council for 30 years, I’ve helped enable countless  immigrant and low-income families to become economically self-sufficient. 
  • I currently serve as the Director the Administrative Services Division at the New York City Council’s Office  of Speaker Corey Johnson where I oversee a team that manages the internal operations of the Council.  Before that, I was the Director of the Community Engagement Division, where I worked to engage New Yorkers through civic participation and enhance their connection with the Council. 

People have been asking me to run for years because of my proven track record and years of experience. And I’m  glad that Congresswomen Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney and NYS Senator John Liu have already endorsed  me. I have been thinking about running, but especially now amid the COVID pandemic, and seeing the devastation  across the district, I’m getting off the sidelines and ready to put my skills, experience, and passion to work, fighting  for an equitable recovery from this pandemic as the next Council Member in District 1. 

I am ready to put my decades of experience as a community leader and my skills in the private and public sectors  as our next Council Member to: 

  • Fight for working families 
  • Get small businesses the support they need 
  • Address our affordable housing crisis 
  • Demand real reforms at the NYPD 
  • Expand access to healthcare and support healthcare workers on the frontlines 
  • Improve the public schools that opened opportunities for me, and 
  • Help seniors and families with food insecurity 

2021 will bring huge turnover for the City Council. Our district needs a Council Member who doesn’t need any  training. With my demonstrated track record in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, I can hit the ground  running on day one as a Council Member representing the 1st District. 

Jenny Low

Grand Street Dems asked each CD1 candidate to submit a statement ahead of our endorsement meeting on Sunday, November 15.

Christopher Marte, candidate for City Council (CD1)

Twitter: @chrisMarteNYC

Christopher Marte has been on the frontlines of the major issues in Lower Manhattan for the past 5 years, especially when it comes to overdevelopment and displacement. He has worked with his community to stop the development of luxury towers, which could displace thousands of tenants and small businesses. He has built coalitions to stop the building of a new jail, and push for restorative justice reforms. He has worked with parents and students to prevent illegal and toxic contamination from dangerous construction sites. Since COVID started, Christopher has worked to create a network of donors and volunteers to distribute food and PPE to homebound seniors and low-income families and workers. The district has extreme wealth disparities, but Christopher has a track record of bringing communities together with a common purpose, and will continue that mission in the City Council.

Grand Street Dems asked each CD1 candidate to submit a statement ahead of our endorsement meeting on Sunday, November 15.

Volunteer & Contribution Resources for Georgia Runoffs

Georgia’s two runoff elections on January 5 will determine which party controls the Senate for Joe Biden’s first term. Democratic candidates Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are being supported by canvassers across the state.

GSD Member Tony Alfieri has compiled this list for those of us in New York who want to get involved.

Boots on the Ground / Community-Based Voter Engagement in Georgia

Fair Fight Action

The nationwide group combats voter suppression and promotes “free and fair elections” from its home base in Georgia. It is a left-leaning PAC. Donate here.

Black Voters Matter

Black Voters Matter Fund. Want to help more Black communities vote? This is your group. They advocate for expanded voting rights and access, and just finished months of intensive voter registration and outreach across the South. Now they’re hitting the streets in the Peach State. Donate here.

Georgia NAACP

New Georgia Project

The New Georgia Project. A well-regarded effort to register and engage voters, credited with enrolling over 500,000 people. Though officially a nonpartisan 501(c)3, NGP is associated with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. They will be out in force for the next two months. Volunteer here. Donate here.

Georgia Muslim Voter Project

The Georgia Muslim Voter Project was founded in late 2015, in response to the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric that was prevalent in mainstream politics and the low rates of civic engagement in the Muslim community. The mission of GAMVP is to activate Muslim voters in order to elevate our voices.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta. Before the November 3 election, the nonpartisan group called 92% of Asian American and Pacific Islander voters in Georgia. They’ll do it again leading up to January. Donate here.

Asian American Advocacy Fund

United for a more progressive Southeast


A nonpartisan group building civic engagement in the Latino community. Their substantial voter registration arm aims to make sure that all eligible Latinos are both registered and turn out. Donate here.

Latino Community Fund GA

ACLU of Georgia

ACLU of Georgia. The civil liberties legal group is intensely involved in protecting Georgians’ voter rights both in courtrooms and at polling stations. Donate here.

Georgia Democrats

The state party organization is running ballot cure, voter protection, canvassing, and poll watching operations.

Additional Organizations Doing GA Outreach

Moms Demand Action

Sister Song

Volunteer Opportunities

Fair Fight Runoff GOTV Weekend of Action Phone and Text Bank (Nov. 14 & 15):

NAACP Volunteer Training Video (includes Code of Conduct & Volunteer Phone and Text Scripts):

Georgia Democrats Remote Ballot Cure Phone Calls:

Sunday 11/15 at 2:00 pm: GSD Forum and Endorsement Meeting for City Council District 1

Next Sunday afternoon we will host all six candidates (virtually, of course) for City Council District 1, where term limits create an open seat in 2021.

City Council District 1

Sunday, November 15, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Please set aside 2:00 – 5:00 pm so that we can give this important local race the attention it deserves. Each candidate will have 20 minutes to answer your questions — for six candidates, that will take two full hours. After that, we want GSD members to have a chance to discuss their choices and make the case for their preferred candidate before we VOTE on our club’s endorsement.

“Everything Mattered”

Celebrating this afternoon with my friend and fellow District Leader, Daisy Paez.

It is indescribably welcome to feel JOY. Joe Biden is the President-elect, Kamala Harris is the history-making Vice President-elect, by virtue of the countless individuals on the ground who made it happen. When Wisconsin was called for Biden, Ben Wikler, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, tweeted out that “Everything mattered.” How true.

The margins of victory were decisive but hardly a landslide, and all the Get Out the Vote efforts for Biden-Harris were crucial. Not just everything, but everyONE mattered.

  • If you joined any of our phone banks over the last three months, this means you.
  • If you worked at the polls — for the first time or the fourteenth time — this means you.
  • If you helped one person register to vote, find their poll site or ballot drop box, this means you.
  • If you had one difficult conversation with a Republican in your life, and flipped their vote, this means you.
  • If you contributed $5 or $500 to the Biden-Harris campaign, this means you.

Today let’s celebrate!

Hold onto the feeling of effort being rewarded, because (you knew this was coming, right?) we still have work to do. 

Our well-trained club is going to dive into the Georgia Senate run-offs this week. We will follow the lead of the incomparable, awesome Stacey Abrams and all the Georgia organizers who have scaled a vertiginous mountain of voter disenfranchisement to get their state this far.

When Trump won in 2016, my friend Amy said “We lost the keys to the house.” The house is in terrible shape, repairing the damage will be arduous, and many of its rightful inhabitants are still being denied occupancy, but we got the keys back, so let the renovations begin.

Stay safe, wear your mask, celebrate, then organize.

Sunday 11/1: Manhattan Dems Day of Action

Grand Street Democrats is partnering with a veritable Who’s Who of Manhattan Democratic Clubs to co-host a “Day of Action” this Sunday, November 1 — we will be phone banking from 12 pm – 8 pm, to whatever swing states the Biden campaign selects (likely Pennsylvania and Florida) and we want YOU TO JOIN THE ACTION. We’re not asking you to spend all day on a bus to canvass in person, but we are asking you to dedicate at least a few of those hours to make calls.

Please sign up for at least one shift (they’re 2 hours each) and please please consider doing more than one. Caroline and Jeremy and I will be making calls all afternoon so you’ll definitely see familiar faces at those times, but it’s a huge, unified effort across many clubs, and we want to do everything we can to get out the vote in these crucial battleground states.

And no matter where you live, these phonebooks are open to all. Spread the word, encourage a friend to sign up, and reach out if you have any questions.

Stroll to the Polls! Vote early with GSD on Sunday, October 25 and Thursday, October 29

Early voting starts on Saturday, October 24 and we have a convenient poll site in our neighborhood — the public school at 220 Henry Street (enter the school on Montgomery through the Center for Aerospace).

Vote early with Grand Street Dems on Sunday, October 25 at noon or Thursday, October 29 at 10:00 am — meet at the Apple Bank on Grand & Madison and we’ll go vote together!

Why vote early?

  • Less crowded than on Election Day.
  • Your vote is counted on Election Day with all the others.
  • No need to worry about whether your absentee ballot was filled out correctly.
  • You get a sticker and/or wristband!

If you can, we recommend you vote early in person at 220 Henry Street any of these times:

Saturday, October 24 … 10 am to 4 pm
Sunday, October 25 … 10 am to 4 pm
Monday, October 26 … 7 am to 3 pm
Tuesday, October 27 … 12 pm to 8 pm
Wednesday, October 28 … 12 pm to 8 pm
Thursday, October 26 … 10 am to 6 pm
Friday, October 27 … 7 am to 3 pm
Saturday, October 31 … 10 am to 4 pm
Sunday, November 1 … 10 am to 4 pm