Despite ‘faceless cowards,’ Elisa Crespo could be the first trans woman of color elected to NYC Council
A smear campaign is targeting Puerto Rican politician Elisa Crespo for her past, but she uses it to raise awareness on violence against trans people.
Elisa Crespo is running for New York City’s 15th District, the seat formerly held by U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres. Upon his election to Congress in November, making history in becoming the first LGBTQ Afro-Latino in Congress, Crespo was inspired to run and make her own history.
If elected, she would become the first transgender woman of color elected to New York City Council. Like Torres and more barrier-breaking politicians before her, the intent is not to be historic based on race or gender identity.
She announced her candidacy in November.
Still, her open history as a prior sex woker caused a stir when her candidacy was announced, mainly among certain outlets like the New York Post, whose recent article with a derogatory angle resurfaced, centered on her past and calling her an “ex-prostitute.”
The article was published last November, and the effects soon followed, wherein what was scrutinized for was not her policy, but her history. Crespo has since called it “intentionally violent and sensationalized for clickbait.”
This week, the article resurfaced in what can only be called a hate crime.
On March 23, Crespo tweeted a photo of a flyer that included two images of her with her face crossed out in red. It featured subheaders from the New York Post article, in both English and Spanish. It questions “sex work experience versus public service.”
It is unclear as to where Crespo found the flyer.
“Good morning to the faceless coward,” she wrote in response on Twitter. “ This is what happens when people feel threatened. This type of politics is reprehensible & contributes to violence against trans ppl. These people believe our stories & identity don’t matter. The Bronx deserves better!”
Crespo then used the situation to promote awareness against trans violence.
“If you stand against this hate and believe this is wrong. I need you to hit the ground with us today. Politics isn’t just for hateful, self loathing, entitled, power hungry individuals who can’t win in their own merit!”
Good morning to the faceless coward. This is what happens when people feel threatened. This type of politics is reprehensible & contributes to violence against trans ppl. These people believe our stories & identity don’t matter. The Bronx deserves better! (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Ios72zMu45
— Elisa Crespo (@elisacresponyc) March 23, 2021
Rep. Torres responded to Crespo’s post, writing: “Outrageous. Anti-LGBTQ bigotry is not only bad morals. It’s bad politics. The people of the Bronx are better than the politics of hate and fear.”
Crespo, seeking to represent her district in the Bronx that is majority middle class and poor neighborhoods. At the start of the pandemic, when New York was the epicenter of the crisis, the Bronx was especially hard-hit by COVID-19.
I’m the daughter of a hard-working Latina, the wife of an immigrant, & a proud Bronxite. I never imagined I could run for office because I never saw myself in those who represented me.
I’m running for City Council to fight for the dignity of working-class families of the Bronx. pic.twitter.com/A2Pdad36zq
— Elisa Crespo (@elisacresponyc) March 1, 2021
As for her campaign priorities, Crespo has promised to invest in infrastructure, environment, and health. As a progressive candidate, she has been vocal on improving equity and to combat unemployment.
“Our notion of justice is rooted in the equity of our communities. Fair land use, climate action, and criminal justice reform all bear the same weight on our overall public health. Our dignity, our health, our liberation will be achieved when we understand the nuances that link our policy demands together,” her campaign site reads.
If elected, Crespo has said she wants to chair the Civil Service and Labor Committee to create a public option for employment.
Also in the running in the upcoming New York City council elections is Civil Rights Attorney Alejandra Caraballo, running for District 35. She is also a trans Latina progressive candidate whose victory would be just as historic.
The special election in the process to replace Rep. Torres is today, March 23.
In total there are 10 candidates vying to replace the congressman.