Catalina Cruz is the first DREAMer elected to New York state office.
“The scars of growing up the way I did, that pain doesn’t disappear,” she stated.
Cruz graduated from law school and became an attorney fighting for housing rights. She became a citizen when she married her husband in 2009.
“Especially after Trump won I felt very helpless, I felt like I hadn’t done enough, how could I help change that?” she stated. “For far too long we have folks that are ‘allies’ saying that we introduce a bill, we support a cause — that’s not enough anymore. When you have a bigot, sexist, anti-immigrant sitting in the White House trying to destroy us every day…”
60% of the people living in Cruz’s district in Queens are immigrants. She plans to fight for affordable housing, immigrant rights, and public education.
“There was this whole notion that I came out of nowhere, it’s like, no, I didn’t, I’ve been doing the work for 10 years behind closed doors and people knew it,” she stated. “They have to recognize that when you’re a white-passing Latina, when you have this level of education, even though you struggled the way that you did, you now have a position of privilege that you gotta use for good.”