The results are in, and Brooklyn has chosen Sandy Nurse to be the next representative for City Council District 37, which covers sections of Bushwick, East New York, Cypress Hills, Ocean Hill and Brownsville.

It’s a role the Panama-born Brooklynite once thought she would never take on. Before Nurse, a trained carpenter who can install cabinets as well as she can coordinate direct action, was introduced to local government, she saw political office as a self-seeking undertaking. 

But as she shifted away from the national sphere, a world she was immersed in as the child of a United States military member, grassroots participation and community-based advocacy captured her interest. As she steps into her first elected position with endorsements from titans like U.S. Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nurse is hoping to keep building on the momentum she’s generated creating alternative institutions in North and central Brooklyn communities. 

Sandy Nurse, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Carlina Rivera and Antonio Reynoso at annual Puerto Rico Day festival. Image: Nurse’s Instagram.

The Record

Nurse has established a name for herself in Brooklyn as the founder of BK ROT, a sustainable nonprofit compost collection entity with a community garden location on DeKalb Avenue in Bushwick. She’s also the co-founder of Mayday Space, a community center and organizing venue for local activists, Bushwickians and artists to convene. 

In her capacity as an organizer, Nurse has led direct action on housing affordability, environmental issues and community-based solutions to public safety. 

“We face a housing crisis, the displacement of long term families, steep inequities in our public education system, a receding economy, and a lack of investment in public safety. We need proactive leadership in city hall. I participated in local governing bodies like Community Board 4 to support the fight against gentrification. Every step of the way I have been with and for you. Our platform was built by people in this community in an inclusive, transparent process never before done in this district,” Nurse told Bushwick Daily before the June primaries.

 District 37 Representative

Nurse ran on a platform true to her grassroots identity, and her plans for office are centered on the same issues she has spent nearly a decade fighting for: community participation, affordable housing, public safety and environmental justice. 

“As a community organizer, I have seen and fully believe that building consensus among as many stakeholders as possible is fundamental to being accountable to our communities,” Nurse says on her campaign site. “Not only are we engaging constituents and directly incorporating their concerns into our work, but we’re also partnering with local and citywide movements to build policies and envision transformative legislation that we, collectively, can draft and ultimately pass once elected.”

For more information on Nurse’s plans for issues like health care, education and local development, check out her agenda here. 

Featured Image: Screenshot from Nurse’s campaign website

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