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Legislator Profile: Inez E. Dickens – New York City Council District 9

by Caitlin Kelly
October 12, 2014
New York, NY
Overview of Profiles: Legislator profiles were designed to provide a snapshot of New York legislators, their issues of concern, any legislation they have been integral in passing, and how they might be interested in issues related to dance. This information was gathered through Internet research yielding news articles and through candidate's district and campaign website.
Office held: New York City Council
District: 9
Term: Third
Party: Democratic
Committees and Leadership: Assistant Deputy Majority Leader
Office Location: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. 163 W. 125 Street New York, NY 10027
Phone: 212-788-7397
Email: None given

Focus of 2013 Platform: Business development, education

Vote Results: Ran uncontested

Concerns as they relate to dance: Dance and education

Biography:
BACKGROUNDINFORMATION
A lifelong resident of the 9th Council District that includes Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, parts of the Upper West Side and part of East Harlem, Ass't Deputy Majority Leader, Inez Dickens is highly respected as a tireless fighter for basic civil and human rights, justice, equity, inclusion and diversity. She is committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in her community and in the City of New York. Moreover, for over 30 years beginning as a student activist at the side of her father and mentor, the late Harlem businessman and NYS Assemblyman, Lloyd E. Dickens, Council Member Inez E. Dickens has taken an active role in economic development, small business with a focus on minority and women owned business enterprise, and political landscape of New York's celebrated village of Harlem.
Ms. Dickens was first elected to office in 1974 as a County Committeewoman, County Judicial Committeewoman and State Committeewoman and eventually rose in party ranks to become the highest-ranking African American woman in the New York State Democratic party serving as the First Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Committee. Ms. Dickens stepped down as First Vice Chair when she took the oath of office on January 1, 2006, after winning a hotly contested City Council race. She became the Council Member for the 9th Council District serving the communities of Central Harlem, Morningside Heights, part of the Upper West Side and East Side. As a newly elected Council Member, Ms. Dickens hit the ground running after Speaker Christine Quinn appointed her to the leadership position of Majority Whip and Chair of the Standing Committee on Standards and Ethics. Council Member Dickens serves on the following committees: Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations; Governmental Operations; Health; Land Use; Rules, Privileges & Elections, and the Land Use Sub Committee on Planning, Dispositions & Concessions. Currently, the Council Member serves as a member of the City Council leadership team in the position of Ass't Deputy Majority Leader. During her tenure in office, Inez E. Dickens has brought millions of dollars in services and resources to her community, the 9th Council District and to economically distressed communities throughout the City of New York. She has also fought to make our great city a welcoming port-of-call to all and to build futures of promise for her constituents and all New Yorkers.
Ms. Dickens is a product of the New York City public school system, where she was educated at P.S. 133 and Julia Richmond High School. She did undergraduate studies in real estate and land economics at New York University and later at Howard University.

VOTING, THE MOST BASIC CIVIL RIGHT
Ms. Dickens' passion for small business and public service was instilled in her by her father. Ms. Dickens trusted her father's vision and belief in the empowering partnership of small business, community, and political involvement. She embraced these principles and matured into a highly regarded professional in the field of real estate and a tireless worker on behalf of her community. Ms. Dickens believed in the value of a single vote and walked door to door spearheading many voter education and voter registration drives in her home of Harlem.

During her tenure in office, the Council Member has supported voting rights legislation that has increased voter access in education, outreach and registration. As a member of the Government Operations committee, she closely monitored the implementation of new voter machines making sure that they were user friendly and were manageable by seniors as well as those who face physical challenges. She continues to advocate for and support legislation to make the new ballot forms more user friendly. Recently, Inez Dickens has strongly advocated for mobilization against efforts in some state legislatures around the country to "turn the clock backwards" on voting rights issues. She has voiced her opposition to photo ID and financial document requirements that can be compared to the poll tax that disenfranchised thousands of black people living in America for many years.
HEALING OUR CHILDREN, HELPING OUR COMMUNITIES GROW STRONG
During her campaign for public office, the Council Member focused on public health issues relating to childhood obesity, the early onset of adult diabetes in children, women's health issues and preventive health measures. As a member of the health committee, she wasted no time in advocating for significant funding for these issues that are so critical to the wellbeing of her district and the City of New York. With the support of Speaker Quinn, she was able to secure funding for public health programs such as the Hip Hop Stroke/Greater Harlem Health Revival Initiative, a public health partnership with Harlem Hospital and Abyssinian Baptist Church; the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership; Harlem United Community AIDS Center; and the Harlem Hospital Horizon Art Clinic.

In just her second year in office, the Council Member was able to secure a one million dollar podiatric, public health initiative. She considers her "Healthy Feet for Healthy Living" project initiative as a significant achievement. This project was funded by the New York City Council and administered by the New York College of Podiatric Medicine in conjunction with Touro College. It provided outreach and screening for children attending New York City public schools. The "Healthy Feet for Healthy Living" project identified children who were at risk for decreased activity and mobility because of foot dysfunction or ill-fitting shoe gear. The project also examined the connection between foot health and risk factors for obesity. Public schools that participated in this project included inner city elementary and junior high schools located in underserved areas of the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

In 2007, for her proactive work to address critical health issues in communities of color, the Council Member was honored by Universal Sisters, a national network of professional, women of color who are dedicated to providing quality healthcare resources and information to underserved, women of color. She was nominated to receive this distinguished, national recognition by Mrs. Butts, the First Lady of Harlem's historic Abyssinian Baptist Church.

BUILDING SOLUTIONS FOR A COMMUNITY-IN-CRISIS
Securing a permanent home for Harlem Mother Saves; shepherding the completion of a housing project for Greenhope Services for Women as well as the completion of the Dwyer Cultural Center are just a few of the many victories that the Council Member has achieved during her tenure in office to help improve the quality of life for her constituents and for all New Yorkers. In the wake of increased youth violence, she has been very focused on funding programs and projects to stem the rising tide of youth violence. Mrs. Dickens has repeatedly stated, "No parent should have to bury their child as a result of senseless violence. We are losing too many of our young, we are losing our future. This has to stop." To that end, the Council Member has funded many youth and mentoring programs in her district. Furthermore, she has reached out to the private sector to get in kind support for citywide projects that will connect with young adults and children to help stop the violence. Currently, she is working with Susan L. Taylor, founder of the National Cares Mentoring Network to launch a literacy/parenting project that will be administered through the New York City Housing Authority in conjunction with the New York City Council. In addition, Council Member Dickens and Council Member Robert Jackson worked together to fund the total renovation of the historic, Minisink House, an institution that for many years has provided safe haven and nurturing for our youth.

CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
As a member of the Cultural Affairs Committee, the Council Member is a strong advocate for grass roots cultural institutions. While she understands that we must safeguard our classic institutions that are the care takers of our worldwide history and art, Ms. Dickens believes that our grass roots, cultural institutions uplift communities and provide cultural and educational enrichment to our young people. Grass roots cultural institutions are also the earliest training ground for aspiring artists to find and perfect their unique voice and craft. Council Member Dickens has provided major capital improvement funding to many cultural institutions such as Harlem Stage, Aaron Davis Hall at City College, The Dwyer Cultural Center, the Museum of African Art, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

HOUSING REVITALIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Housing and providing safe, protected environments for those individuals who face and endure hardship is of great concern to Inez E. Dickens. As the primary architect of the final, approved plan for the 125th St. rezoning, Council Member Dickens fought hard for affordable housing units and helped to create a blueprint for a citywide homesteading ownership program. The Wall Street crash has delayed full implementation of this program but Ms. Dickens remains vigilant in efforts to create affordable, homeownership programs for working class families. Furthermore, she has provided major capital support for housing projects that provide housing for former homeless citizens. These projects include Project Greenhope for Women; Iris House; Bailey House and Harlem United.
CURRENT 2011 HOUSING PROJECTS INCLUDE —
Schomburg Plaza B - 1309 Fifth Avenue
Schomburg Plaza A -1309 Fifth Avenue
315 W. 113th St.
Hale House
300 Manhattan Avenue

Additionally, the Council Member is a non-stop advocate for funding for her district to provide affordable housing and create jobs. She was delighted to learn that 2011 NYS Low Income Tax Credits would be provided in her district for two housing revitalization projects, Harlem 117 and St. Nicholas Park Apartments.
AWARDS & SPECIAL RECOGNITION
Her list of distinguished honors include the Distinguished Service Award from the New York State Association of Black and Latino Legislators, the Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women, the American Red Cross Achievement Award, the Public Education Award from the American Diabetes Association, the Women Who Make a Difference Award from the NAACP, and the Heritage Award from the Greater Harlem Real Estate Board. Other notable acknowledgments include: the Who's Who of American Women, Outstanding Citizen of the Year in Real Estate, the Woman of Excellence and Woman of Industry Awards, and the 2005 Women of Excellence Award from then Senator, David A. Paterson.
Source: (http://council.nyc.gov/d48/html/members/biography.shtml)

Interests: Activism, small business development,

News Clippings

Harlem Councilwoman Inez Dickens' tenants declare rent strike, while ethics experts question how the pol reports her income as a landlord

Inez Dickens, Harlem Princess: The Rot Runs Deep

Defiant Harlem pol owes $256G in rat-trap fines, bills and taxes

Decide NYC

Dickens faces uphill battle in City Council speaker race

A renewed push for slower traffic on Morningside Avenue

Broadway Democrats endorse Rangel, Nadler for Congress

In changing Harlem, an opportunity for Morgan

W 120th gives way to Teachers College

With local officials' support, Riverside Park to repair staircases

New Council lines may still pose problems

Controversial Harlem activist launches City Council bid

Locals fear redistricting will split uptown communities

City to close Morningside day care for low-income families

Activists, politicians oppose Columbia demolition

Dickens' Bill to Ban Smoking Near Hospitals

Dickens Fined for Campaign Violations

City Council Candidate Inez Dickens Called "Slumlord Millionaire"

Faltering Harlem Housing Deal Won City Cash
Inez E. Dickens Photo Credit: NYC Council Website

Inez E. Dickens
Photo Credit: NYC Council Website

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown


Map of NYC Council District 9 Credit: <a href='http://council.nyc.gov/d9/html/members/map.shtml' target='_blank'>http://council.nyc.gov/d9/html/members/map.shtml</a>)

Map of NYC Council District 9
Credit: http://council.nyc.gov/d9/html/members/map.shtml)

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown

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