Shekar Krishnan: Championing Diversity and Justice in NYC’s District 25

Shekar Krishnan: Elevating NYC Parks and Immigrant Justice

Shekar Krishnan is the NYC Council Member for District 25, representing Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Woodside in Queens—three of the most diverse immigrant communities in the world.

His election marks a historic moment as he is the first Indian-American to be elected to the New York City Council. As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation, Shekar has championed numerous initiatives, negotiating the highest budget ever for NYC Parks and viewing access to green spaces as integral to social, racial, and immigrant justice.

A Visionary for Parks and Recreation

In his role as Parks Chair, Shekar Krishnan has revolutionized the approach to urban green spaces. He understands that parks are more than just recreational areas; they are vital for community well-being and cohesion.

By negotiating an unprecedented budget for NYC Parks, Shekar Krishnan has ensured that every neighborhood, regardless of socioeconomic status, has access to safe, well-maintained, and vibrant green spaces.

Shekar’s commitment to expanding green space stems from his belief that parks play a crucial role in promoting social, racial, and immigrant justice.

In neighborhoods like Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Woodside, parks are sanctuaries for relaxation, exercise, and community gatherings, especially for the thousands of essential workers who call these areas home. These workers, many of whom are immigrants, have been the backbone of New York City, particularly during the challenging times of the pandemic.

Advocating for the Vulnerable

Shekar Krishnan’s advocacy extends far beyond parks. He has been a steadfast champion for the most vulnerable communities in District 25. Recognizing the hardships faced by taxi workers, many of whom are immigrants, he has fought tirelessly to ensure they receive the protections they deserve from the NYC government.

His efforts to secure resources for public hospitals, such as Elmhurst Hospital, highlight his dedication to providing essential healthcare services to those in need.

Housing is another critical issue Shekar Krishnan addresses with unwavering resolve. He believes that housing is a human right and has worked to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to safe, affordable housing. His work to end solitary confinement at Rikers Island underscores his commitment to humane treatment and justice for all individuals, regardless of their circumstances.

Transforming Public Spaces

One of Shekar’s most notable achievements is his advocacy for the 34th Avenue Open Street in Jackson Heights. This 26-block stretch has become the gold standard for open streets across NYC, providing pedestrians with a safe and vibrant public space.

Shekar’s vision for public spaces extends to his collaboration with Elmhurst Hospital to open a new infectious disease clinic and his successful campaign for the renovation of Frank O’Connor Playground under the citywide Community Parks Initiative. Additionally, he has addressed the community’s need for a dog run, creating a much-needed space for pet owners.

A Legacy of Community Activism

Before his election to the City Council, Shekar Krishnan was deeply rooted in community activism and civil rights law. As a co-founder of Communities Resist, he fought against housing discrimination and promoted racial justice.

His legal career began with the landmark Broadway Triangle fair housing case, a successful challenge against a rezoning under the Fair Housing Act. Through his work with Friends of Diversity Plaza, Shekar demonstrated how public spaces could bridge divides and foster unity.

A Personal Journey

Shekar Krishnan’s journey is also a testament to the immigrant experience in America. As the son of South Indian immigrants who made significant sacrifices to build a life in the United States, he understands the challenges and aspirations of immigrant families.

Shekar is a father of two young children, who are often seen enjoying the open streets of Jackson Heights, and a husband to Zoe, an immigration public defender and reproductive justice advocate.

Also Read:Sam Joshi: Protecting, Serving, and Enhancing the Edison Community

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