Those who go to cast their ballots in the NYC Primary Election next June, will see that one of the new names they see is that of District 32’s Felicia Singh, an Ozone Park schoolteacher. Singh sat down with The Knight News for an exclusive interview in which she outlined her background and her campaign goals.
Singh, who started her campaign last year, cited education reform as one of her main reasons for running, saying she aims to ensure that students in her district and other districts “…have an equitable pathway to college.” Singh served in the Peace Corps as an instructor in China, an experience that she credits with giving her a sense of the value of quality education. She noted that she has used this experience to inform her ideas about “how we serve our own people”.
Singh is hardly a single-issue candidate, though. She spoke about confronting issues as diverse as utility reform – one of the most frequent complaints in District 32 is a lack of heat and hot water, per 311’s official report – and women’s empowerment, which is reflected in her track record working with women’s advocacy group AmplifyHer. Of course, Singh and her community have also had to reckon with the COVID-19 pandemic which cropped up several months into her campaign. In combating the pandemic in District 32, she emphasized the importance of identifying ”What people need first – more testing centers and COVID outreach in New York City’s Housing Authority.”
The daughter of immigrants, Singh draws great inspiration from the other young Congresswomen of color, speaking about their influence on herself and her work, Singh explained, “We don’t currently have South Asians in City Council… I think it’s really important to coalition-build.”
The fact that she would be the only South Asian member of the City Council is not lost on her District 32 hypothetical constituents. Sophomore Tanjinul Hoque, a Queens College computer science major of the class of 2023, is also a resident of Ozone Park, and he related the importance of Singh’s candidacy: “As more South Asians step up in political office, they will make sure that we are represented where it matters and that the city pushes policies… for those who are feeling the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and haven’t been able to recover from it.”
Singh, a Democrat, is running for a seat currently held by a Republican, Eric Ulrich, even though the district is overwhelmingly Democratic. She attributed this discrepancy to both “low primary vote turnout” and the fact that “people vote for who they’re comfortable with”. Though her appeals are primarily to the Democratic majority, Singh hopes to reach across the aisle by ”building a resiliency plan for the people” and addressing issues that “impact our most marginalized first.”
Why vote Felicia Singh for City Council? Concluding the interview, she answered the question with the affirmation that her campaign was about “empowering community members to be agents of change” and disrupting the status quo. “(It’s hard to overstate) how important it is to have members of a community feel like they’re stakeholders.” Anyone interested in following or learning about Felicia’s campaign and getting involved can visit her website at felicia2021.com or follow her Instagram @feliciasingh2021 and Twitter @FSingh_NYC.