Tiffany Cabán could make history as the first Latina ever elected as district attorney in the borough of Queens, New York.
The 31-year-old public defender from Richmond Hills, Queens, born to Puerto Rican parents, is just one of the new faces in Latino advocacy. Cabán has been actively fighting for six years to right the wrongs of a criminal justice system that has been “unfair, unjust and inequitable.”
Cabán, who is Nuyorican and queer, has first-hand knowledge of how the criminal justice system in Queens severely punished poor and marginalized people.
She passionately recalled representing clients who went to trial for minor infractions like jumping the subway turnstile. Cabán felt like the district attorney’s office was complacent when it came to protecting and serving the clients. During 2018, the Queens District Attorney’s Office locked up more people for minor “misdemeanor” crimes, like drug possession and prostitution, than all the other boroughs.
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“If anybody else had been arrested for these lower level offenses, it wouldn’t impact their lives in such an extreme way,” Cabán said in an interview on NBC News. “The exceptions to the rules are always the same people: our Black and brown [people] who are from low-income, immigrant communities. I’d be in court every day seeing this and really being incredibly frustrated.”
Tiffany Cabán’s leading platform as a liberal Democratic contender focuses on the elimination of cash bonds, ending all collaboration with ICE against undocumented immigrants, decriminalizing and destigmatizing sex work, and closing Rikers Island. She is the only candidate in the race who does not accept donations from corporations or real estate lobbyists, according to her website.
“I have spent my career working for people who did not have resources to defend themselves against the brutal system of mass incarceration,” she says on her site. “I am running to transform the Queens District Attorney’s office after years of witnessing its abuses on the front lines.”
The election for the Queens Borough District Attorney is June 25.