This spring, we set off on a virtual five-borough tour to hear from the city’s future leaders about their communities. Our goal was not only to learn about what makes these neighborhoods thrive, but also to hear about the issues facing residents. Though our organization is focused on helping low- and moderate-income homeowners, we know that they are only as strong as their communities. In 30-minute Zoom conversations, we touched on topics ranging from racial equity to favorite foods to eat during the pandemic lockdown.

We were joined in our conversations by activists, community members and candidates for elected office. This year will be pivotal for our city’s leadership, with the mayor, city council, and borough presidents’ offices all up for grabs.

Everyone we spoke with told the story of their district or community, and shared their own. We heard from the daughter of a taxi cab driver and immigrant family running for city council in an effort to truly represent her district; a respected community leader in the Bronx who believes everyone deserves the right to safe, affordable housing and food; a former educator committed to environmental justice and equity in education; a prominent city council member who has dedicated his career to fighting for working families; and a council member running for borough president who has passed multiple initiatives aimed at improving the lives of Brooklynites.