Fort Greene

Cumbo wins support from LGBTQ council colleagues

June 23, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Laurie Cumbo (center) says the support she is receiving from the seven members of the City Council's LGBTQ Caucus is meaningful. Pictured with Cumbo are Ritchie Torres, Daniel Drumm, Rosie Mendez, Corey Johnson, James Van Bramer, James Vacca, and Carlos Menchaca (left to right). Photo courtesy of Cumbo’s campaign

Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, running for her second term representing the 35th Council District (Fort Greene-Clinton Hill), has gotten a big pat on the back from her co-workers.

The seven members of the City Council’s LGBTQ caucus announced that they are endorsing Cumbo’s re-election bid. The caucus members are Ritchie Torres, Daniel Drumm, Rosie Mendez, Corey Johnson, James Van Bramer, James Vacca and Carlos Menchaca.     

“Laurie Cumbo has been a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights. She is an ally that we counted on when we fought to protect the rights of LGBT students and transgender women of color. The seven NYC councilmembers who comprise the LGBT Caucus are supporting Laurie because she has stood by our side on important issues and legislation that protect our community,” said Councilmember Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan), chairperson of the LGBTQ Caucus.

Cumbo said she is excited about the endorsement from her colleagues.

“I have been proud to work with my colleagues on issues that include HIV/AIDS prevention, stronger advocacy for transgender women of color, creation of the Sex-Ed Task Force, working to make safer schools for LGBT students and fighting to end disparities in health access for LGBT New Yorkers. The best is yet to come,” Cumbo said in a statement.  

In a 2016 interview with the Brooklyn Eagle, Cumbo said she loved serving on the City Council because there is a great deal of camaraderie in the legislative body. “Everyone has one vote. It levels the playing field,” she told the Eagle.

Cumbo, whose council district also includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights, was first elected in 2013.

She serves as the chairperson of the Committee on Women’s Issues and is a member of several committees, including: Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations; Finance; Higher Education; Public Housing and Youth Services.

Cumbo is also the co-chairperson of the Women’s Caucus and is a member of; the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus. 

Prior entering politics, Cumbo worked in the arts and arts education.

In 1999, she founded the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). She said she was inspired to open a museum after she took a life-altering trip to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The journey made her think about her neighborhood in Brooklyn. “We have lots of culture. We needed a museum that reflects that,” she told the Eagle.

Cumbo’s connection to the arts eventually fostered her political ambitions.

“I ran for public office because I felt the arts community was not represented in government,” she said.

Cumbo said that one of her goals as a councilmember is to get the city and state to change the way arts education is viewed so that it can be seen as an essential part of a child’s education, not as an elective course a child could take in school.

“Everyone needs to feel that their culture is important,” she said. “It’s not a quick fix. It’s a long-term vision.”

 

CORRECTION: The original version of the article incorrectly reported that Cumbo is a member of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus.