Monique Waterman, the daughter of Barbadian and Jamaican immigrants, is hoping her community activism would set her apart from the reported eight other candidates vying to replace Jumaane Williams as representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
Former New York City Councilman Williams was recently elected Public Advocate in New York City.
Besides Waterman, the candidates claiming they are best suited to represent the district that comprises East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood are: Anthony Alexis, Anthony Beckford, Louis Cespedes Fernandez, Farah Louis, Jovia Radix, Xamayla Rose, Adina Sash and Rickie Tulloch.
“I’m a first generation American of Caribbean descent and lifelong resident of East Flatbush, and I’m running to be a vital voice for the people in our community,” Waterman told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview over the weekend.
“As an activist and community organizer, I’ve been doing the work of a council member for the past decade, when I partnered with Council Member Williams in his office, then as a nonprofit executive, providing many of the services his office utilized to address many issues our community faced, such as gun violence, mental health services, affordable housing programs and more,” she added.
“As the district’s next council member, I will continue to build on the foundation that Council Member Williams laid in this community by improving the lives of working families across district,” Waterman added.
Waterman, who is also a public servant, said her term as president for the East 29th Street Block Association marked her foundational work in civic engagement, which is guided by her desire to “improve lives by meeting the community where they are at.”
As an active, lifelong resident of East Flatbush, Waterman said she recognizes the needs of the community, adding that she “works tirelessly for everyday families and residents.”
In 2005, she served on the Youth Committee and Block Association Committee for Brooklyn Community Board 17. She later served as a Civilian Advisor for the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) 67th Precinct.
In 2008, Waterman said she founded East Flatbush, Inc., “in response to the lack of youth services in the community.”
She said East Flatbush Village now provides programs for youth and resources to families including mental health tools through S.T.A.N.D. (Self-care, Tender-love, Always, Needed, Daily) and solution-driven initiatives to eliminate violence in the community through E.N.O.U.G.H. Anti-violence Initiative.
With a Master’s in Business Administration degree, Waterman later served as director of Community Outreach with Williams in 2012.
She is a recipient of the Caribbean Life Impact 40 under 40 Award.
She has also been recognized for her work in the community with the Shirley Chisholm Woman of Distinction Award, Sesame Flyers International Community Award, Community Board 17 Women of Distinction Award, among others.
She currently resides in East Flatbush with her husband, Eric Waterman, and four children: Eynique, Erique, Eynee and Erynn.
Waterman said her campaign’s support is growing “by the day,” adding that she looks forward to unveiling a “full list of endorsements.”
“In the meantime, I’m proud to announce that Assemblyman N. Nick Perry is the chairman of our campaign, and that we’ve received support by a large number of city and state elected officials, clergy members and community members across the district,” she said.
Waterman said she’s been “proud” to work with Williams, who is yet to make an official endorsement in the race “but has encouraged me to run and has continued to support our grassroots campaign now.”
“This special election has brought a number of qualified candidates that I admire,” she said, “but I know that my background, experience and vision for the office (set her apart from the field).
“As the council member for the 45th District, I will advocate for additional funding for community organizations working with the Crisis Management System, and will continue the work we’ve done to make this community a safe place for our youth to learn and grow,” Waterman added.
“We must also address the injustices deeply rooted in our criminal justice system, from over policing and prosecution, to providing the resources we need to creating a safer environment to begin with. Together, we can make this community a more just, equitable and fair society for all,” she continued.
“I am focused on sharing our campaign’s grassroots message,” Waterman said. “I strongly believe I am the best candidate for this position and look forward to continuing to fight for the people of the 45th District.”