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Dear neighbor,

Our office has been working hard all summer to be present and to provide services directly to our constituents. In this monthly newsletter you’ll see some of those highlights as well as our upcoming events. We kindly invite you to them all. There are many important issues to talk about, but I want to highlight the latest on school budgets and redistricting.

First and foremost, our office continues the fight against the egregious budget cuts that were passed in this year’s city budget. I have always championed fully funded schools. As a mother and former PTA president, I know all too well how hard our schools have it when it comes to securing resources. I’ve met with many of our school principals, who say they had to make tough decisions back in June to prepare for the school year this fall.

School budgets remain in the balance as rumors of a mirage-like deal to reverse some cuts surfaced in the press last week followed by a lawsuit where a judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking the City from cutting school budgets. Only time will tell if any cuts will be restored, and by how much. All I’ll say beyond that is: keep up the pressure. More on how to get involved below.

Secondly in July, the New York City Redistricting Committee released draft maps for new city council districts for the term starting in January 2024. The proposed maps were released following several public hearings and will determine what representation looks like for our community for years to come. However, the maps would also split our current district in three, upending decades of shared representation on the state, federal and local levels. It would break up our industrial waterfront and dilute Latino voting power. This is unacceptable.

Our representation was hard fought, and we need to fight to keep our communities whole. No matter your opinion or persuasion on the matter, I am asking residents to step up and testify before the Commission at any of the upcoming hearings August 16-22. All of the hearings will be open to virtual and in-person testimony, with one hearing in Brooklyn at Medgar Evers College on Sunday, August 21 at 3:30pm. More information on how to get involved will be linked below. 

While there is so much to love about the summer, we are particularly thankful to host two fantastic interns through the Summer Youth Employment Program. Jackie and Phoebe have been hard at work on a wide range of projects from event outreach to data research. One of them may even call you on the phone. Welcome Jackie and Phoebe to the District 38 team!

Siempre en la lucha,





Council Member

Alexa Avilés


Important updates

August 23 primary election

This month, another primary election will take place because a judge threw out the state legislature’s proposal for new Congressional and state senate districts, upending the normal election cycle. 

Turnout may suffer as a result, so tell a friend. Here are the key dates to keep in mind. Don’t forget to make your voice heard and vote by August 23.

Absentee ballot request deadline (online)
Mon, August 8, 2022
You may request your absentee ballot online here.

Early Voting
Sat, August 13, 2022 - Sun, August 21, 2022
Visit to find your early voting site.

Absentee ballot request deadline (in person)
Mon, August 22, 2022
This is the latest date anyone can vote absentee by going in person to the Brooklyn Board of Elections Office at 345 Adams St, 4 Fl.

Primary Election Day
Tue, August 23, 2022
Polls are open 6am-9pm.


Redistricting commission hearings and info sessions

Yesterday afternoon the New York City Districting Commission announced the date and locations for five public hearings on the draft maps released two weeks ago. The Commission has not opened up registration yet, but if you commit to testifying at a hearing with us, we’ll keep you up-to-date!

Interpretation requests for the upcoming public hearings will be accepted up to 72 hours in advance.

All of the hearings will be open to in-person and virtual testimony. Besides testifying in person or by Zoom at the meetings, the public may submit written testimony and maps by email to, and by mail at NYC Districting Commission, 253 Broadway, 3rd Floor, NY, NY 10007.

Tuesday, August 16 5:30 to 9 pm
Museum of the Moving Image, Sumner Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave Astoria, Queens 11106
Commit to testifying on Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 17 5:30 to 9 pm
Lehman College (CUNY), Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, The Bronx 10468
Commit to testifying on Wednesday!

Thursday, August 18 5:30 to 9 pm
Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace Rm 125
Commit to testifying on Thursday!

Sunday, August 21 3:30 to 7 pm
Medgar Evers College (CUNY), School of Science Health & Technology, Dining Hall, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn. 11225
Commit to testifying on Sunday!

Monday, August 22 5:30 to 9 pm
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan, 10037
Commit to testifying on Monday!

We’ll also be hosting two information sessions on redistricting, this Thursday, August 4 and next Thursday, August 11. We’ll cover a brief introduction of what redistricting is and leave plenty of time for questions, discussion and to play around with the Districtr tool you can use to draw your own City Council district maps. 

Our local parks need your support!

Our local parks have seen record usage since the pandemic. While in many ways that is a beautiful thing, we all have a responsibility to one another to keep parks clean. It can’t all fall on the shoulders of dedicated park staff alone.

Pick up after yourself (and a neighbor if you have to). If you’re a dog owner, please curb your dog!

Red Hook Conservancy and Sunset Park’s Parent-Child Relationship Association are two local organizations that hold regular park cleanup events you can register to join online.

Red Hook Conservancy has upcoming volunteer events Aug 6, Aug 20, Sept 10, Sept 24, Oct 8, Oct 22, Nov 5, Nov 19, Dec 3 and Dec 17.

PCR has regular clean up events in Sunset Park on Aug 7, Aug 14 and Aug 21.


COVID risk in NYC is still high

COVID is still a serious threat. Average daily cases are more than double what they were at this time last year. We also have many tools available at our disposal, including widely available at-home test kits, vaccines and antiviral drugs.

Unfortunately, due to dwindling federal funds for COVID relief, some test site locations have recently changed, while others have closed enitrely. The Health + Hospitals test site at Fort Hamilton Ave that served Sunset Park, Kensington and Boro Park closed this July. 

While the Fort Hamilton test site may have closed, you can still get tested at one of the following locations:


Spanish and Chinese graphics here.

COVID-19 vaccines are now available to children under 5. August is a great month to get it done if your child hasn’t been vaccinated yet ahead of the start of the new school year.


We continue to give out free masks and at-home COVID tests at our office and at community events across the district.

If we take proactive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 this fall, we’ll be better off in the winter months than we were last year.

Just the facts on Monkeypox

It's taken our government long enough to take this seriously. Recently, both the Governor and Mayor declared Monkeypox to be a public health emergency, noting that New York City is a center of the outbreak in the US.

The federal government needs to acquire many more vaccines, and it must ensure that vaccines are widely accessible internationally. Currently, vaccines are being reserved for at-risk populations.

Even if you are not in a high-risk population, you should know that anyone can get and spread monkeypox through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding or other items used by a person with monkeypox.

Characteristic symptoms include night sweats, fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters.

Are you angered by our government’s lackluster response to the Monkeypox outbreak? PrEP4All has a petition to President Biden and HHS Secretary Becerra with clear, actionable demands. Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine shared a list of clear, actionable demands NYC local government can and must follow through on.

Last-mile data collection

This month we’re asking you to join us in a data gathering project to begin quantifying the impacts of last-mile facilities on our neighborhoods.

Any person can help us record data, observe traffic conditions, track facility locations and help us submit 311 service requests to document the explosive growth of this industry in Red Hook and in Sunset Park. 

You can collect data on your own or with a friend! View the form here, read the instructions and submit as many observations as you like!

This is very much an experiment and we welcome your feedback on our survey!


Speed cameras now operate 24/7

Late nights will no longer be the wild west on our streets! Thanks to state legislation passed earlier this June, DOT now has the authority to operate speed cameras 24/7 in 750 school speed zones across the city. 


Public service student loan forgiveness 

Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program mean that 250,000 eligible New Yorkers could have all their student loans erased. After 14 years of disappointing results, 5,000 New Yorkers have already had an average of $63,935 forgiven! However, the new PSLF policy fix is temporary and only lasts until October 31, 2022. Apply today!

Visit the Campaign for more information and use the 20 minute Help Tool to see if you are eligible or join a webinar or find 1:1 help.



Our office is hosting and participating in a number of events this month all across our district!

And don’t forget every Friday we give away FREE books in front of our office at 4417 4 Ave!

Rally to #RestoreTheCuts and UFT flyering August 4

Join the August 4th #RestoreTheCuts rally at Foley Square at 9:30am, register here. Sign the Alliance for Quality Education petition here.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) invites all members and public school parents to join the union for flyering events across the city over the next month. To see how much your child’s school was cut, see here.


Redistricting info sessions August 4 and August 11

Join us for one of our upcoming info sessions on redistricting facilitated by the New York Immigration Coalition and co-sponsored by Mixteca Organization and Asian American Federation.

Sign up for our virtual redistricting info session, Thursday Aug 4th at 6:00pm here.

Sign up for our virtual redistricting info session, Thursday Aug 11th at 6:00pm here.


Brooklyn Greenway Initiative bike to the ballgame August 7

Event sponsors will be offering free bike services for an outdoor festival with giveaways for kids and more in Owl’s Head Park starting at 11:30am. Then, a group will ride from Owl's Head Park to the Cyclones stadium on the Coney Island boardwalk.

You can register for the bike ride and buy your Cyclones ticket in one fell swoop at the link (or, you can register to enjoy the free ride to the boardwalk too).


BAAND Together Dance Festival August 9-August 13

The Festival is taking place August 9 to August 13 at 7:30pm. For the second time ever, five of New York City’s most iconic dance companies – Ballet Hispánico, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem – will share the spotlight on Lincoln Center’s outdoor stage in Damrosch Park for five nights of performances.

Tickets are free of charge and the full schedule can be found here.

FDNY Fire prevention workshop August 10

We’re hosting a fire prevention workshop with the Fire Department of New York Wednesday, August 10 starting at 6:00pm at P.S. 1 The Bergen auditorium, 309 47 St.

School families and members of the public are invited to join. Sign up here.

8th Avenue and Red Hook office hours, August 11-20

At office hours, we help constituents with issues big and small. You can stop by to say hi or ask us a question.

This month we’ll be in Red Hook and Brooklyn Chinatown for office hours on the following dates. You can sign up below to make an appointment for any date.

Red Hook: Thursday, August 11, 1:00pm-5:00pm at RHI Open Streets.
Eighth Avenue: Friday, August 12, 11:00am-3:00pm at PCR.
Eighth Avenue: Saturday, August 20, 11:00am-3:00pm at PCR.
Red Hook: Saturday, August 20, 11:00am-3:00pm at Red Hook Library.


Brooklyn Arts Council sound clinic and wellness workshop pop-up August 11-12

Visit NARS Foundation at 201 46th Street, 4th Floor on August 11 and August 12 to celebrate wellness with the Brooklyn Arts Council. The events will feature wellness performances by well-known performers from Brooklyn’s vibrant arts scene. 

Performers include Emory Moore (August 11) and Jasmine Espinal and Angie Sosa with a traditional Mexican performance (August 12).


Bumblebee Daycare resource fair Friday, August 12

Red Hook’s Bumblebee Daycare is organizing a community resource fair on Friday, August 12 from 11:00am to 4:00pm. 

We’ll be tabling with free books and more! Let us know if you’re planning to drop by.


Red Hook community lunch August 17

Pioneer Works continues their 2022 Community Lunch series. This events series offers free, locally-sourced meals, prepared by local chefs and hosted at Coffey Park in Red Hook. Dates and more information on each of the chefs can be found below:

Wednesday, August 17: Community Lunch with Gabriel Arvizu
Wednesday, September 14: Community Lunch with Naomi Santos


HPD Office hours August 18

We’re here to help bring city agencies to you! The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development will be setting up shop at 59 St and 4 Ave from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Thursday, August 18.

Our goal is to fill as many appointments as we can, so please register here to confirm your spot.



Red Hook Initiative annual block party Thursday, August 18

Red Hook Initiative is hosting their fifth annual block party Thursday, August 18. Save the date for August 18, with more details to come!

24 St festival dominoes and jazz performance

Your neighbors from 24 St invite you to stop by their street fair, including live latin jazz music, dancers, performers, a dominoes tournament and more!


Red Hook Family Day August 26

Every year, NYCHA tenant associations host family day events within each district. This year’s family day activities in Red Hook will take place Friday, August 26 from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Many thanks to tenant association presidents Karen Blondel and Frances Brown for organizing this year.

The Red Hook West tenant association will be gathering in Coffey Park, and the Red Hook East tenant association will gather at 167 Bush St, #1B.

Free Rain Barrel Giveaway WAIT LIST ONLY

Due to popular demand, our rain barrel giveaway on August 28 in partnership with Parent-Child Relationship Association is already filled to capacity. If you’d like to be added to a wait list, let us know here.



988 mental health resource line

On Saturday, July 16th, the National 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline went live with the support of the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

If you or someone you know is struggling or needs immediate support, call or text 988 or chat – You are not alone. #988Lifeline.


New York City financial justice hotline

New Economy Project operates the NYC Financial Justice Hotline 212-925-4929, or click here to request assistance), which provides free information, legal advice and referrals to community groups and low income NYC residents. 

The organization produces Know Your Rights materials on their website that New Yorkers can use to fight back against unfair and discriminatory financial practices.


Mural Justice Project fundraiser

After over a year of hard work within the school community at PS 295, the Mural Justice Project has shared with me that they have reached a deal with the DOE to restore the mural that was removed by school administrators. 

They’re asking for your support to help them get across the finish line so that the mural is restored on time for its tentative unveiling October 1.


Applications are open for the Annual Sunset Park Festival

Every year since 1999, the Sunset Park BID has been hosting a 15-block street festival that takes place along 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 59th Street. 

Applications for vending or setting up informational tables are available here.

Congratulations to Red Hook Arts Project on their permanent home!

After a long search, Red Hook Arts Project has secured a new studio space.  Woohoo!

They also need our help! Please consider volunteering or making a donation for their build out and operations.

Remember: Art Saves Lives!


New action by the Biden administration could make cooling assistance available once again to New Yorkers

As part of a package of executive orders the Biden administration rolled out on climate and tackling inflation and soaring energy costs in recent weeks, the US Department of Health and Human Services has issued new guidance encouraging states to reopen their low income heating assistance programs to make programs that provide air conditioners and fans during the summer months available once more.

New York City’s cooling assistance program closed early in July, which meant that during recent heat waves that working class New Yorkers needing public assistance to stay cool were out of luck. So far, New York State has not yet issued any updates since the new guidance was released, but if you missed the July deadline to apply for cooling assistance, you can sign up for our waitlist here and we’ll keep you posted if anything changes.

You can call Governor Hochul’s office and leave a message encouraging her to reopen New York’s cooling assistance programs by calling 518-474-8390.


In case you missed it…

Something slow is coming to Sunset Park

Slow Factory is bringing their climate school and innovation lab to the Sunset Park waterfront as the anchor tenants of NYC EDC's Made in New York campus. Slow Factory's mission brings a vision for sustainable economic development and skilled employment in marginalized communities that we look forward to collaborate on.

I joined the Slow Factory team for a tour of their future space at the Made in New York Garment Hub, slated for completion in the next year. We look forward to welcoming them to the neighborhood!


New York is a union town rally July 14

Earlier last month, I joined colleagues to rally in front of City Hall in support of Starbucks workers, Amazon workers, NewsGuild members and more. These new organizing drives among many others are a bright, shining hope in these politically difficult times. I applaud these workers for their bravery and commitment to building a world where people come before profits.


Disability Unite Festival July 17

This July marks the 22 anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I was proud to join the disability unite festival in Central Park this year.

It was beautiful to see people coming together in celebration of disability pride and to experience an event where accessibility really does come first.


Rally to fund our schools July 18

On July 18, I joined educators, parents and students for a rally to reverse the cuts to our schools. This was a moment where the momentum really changed, with several Council Members who voted in favor of the budget expressing their regret and publicly resolved to fight with us against the cuts.


Learning about local government

We were excited to host 16 Summer Interns from UPROSE to talk about the role of City Council (good, bad and the ugly) and all the ways we can partner to improve the conditions of our community and City. 


Boro Park JCC Annual Legislative Barbecue July 19

A few weeks I joined Boro Park JCC at their annual legislative barbecue. It was a wonderful event, and I appreciated the opportunity to get to know the Boro Park community better.

In case you’ve ever wondered, Brooklyn Paper reported on an age-old controversy: is it Borough Park or Boro Park? 

We’ll save the extra letters and stick to Boro Park, thanks.


People’s audit meeting with Comptroller Lander July 25

No one knows NYCHA better than the residents who live there, which is why New York City Comptroller Brad Lander will be conducting a resident-powered audit to shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most to you. 

On Monday, July 25, we held a listening session with Comptroller Lander to collect initial feedback on their survey. This is your chance to give your input on ways NYCHA can improve efficiency, oversight, and accountability. NYCHA residents can weigh in by taking their survey at:


A special shout out to Mr. Gary Brown of the Sunset Park Redevelopment Committee!

We were delighted to provide a citation to Mr. Gary Brown, the Executive Director of the Sunset Park Redevelopment Committee, for his 40 years of exemplary service to our community last Friday. 

Under his leadership, Gary played an integral role in the redevelopment of Sixth Avenue, weatherizing over 5,000 apartments and so much more. Thank you Gary for your service, and thank you to Gloria Navoa-Rodriguez for organizing this tribute to Gary.


1199 picket in Red Hook

Last week I joined SEIU 1199 workers at the Joseph P. Addabbo health center who have been without a contract for over 9 months. Workers held an informational picket last Wednesday to inform neighbors about their working conditions. Addabbo is the only healthcare center in Red Hook, and they’ve needed more resources and support for a long time.

I’ve communicated my concerns to Addabbo management, and we’re asking them to bargain in good faith. You can make your voice heard by calling Addabbo and leaving a message for Dr. Miriam Vega, CEO at (718) 945-7150 Ext 6233 and ask her to give Addabbo workers a fair contract!


Happy 125th Birthday to the Brooklyn Public Library!

This Saturday I was excited to join neighbors in front of the Red Hook Rec Center to celebrate the birthday of one of New York City’s most important and treasured resources, our public library system!  

The library offers an incredible array of services, please stop in and remember to thank the librarians who work for our community!



District Office

4417 4th Avenue, Ground Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11220 

(718) 439 - 9012


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