Manhattan District Attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi bolstered her progressive credentials this week with a string of highly coveted endorsements, including backing from New York’s Working Families Party.
City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, state Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, and Citizen Action of New York, a grassroots organization focused on equity and justice, also endorsed Aboushi Tuesday, calling her a candidate who could transform the district attorney’s office.
The endorsements are a big get in a race of eight candidates, nearly all of whom are vying for votes on the left of the Democratic Party.
In her campaign, Aboushi, a civil rights attorney, has focused on decarceration and shrinking the footprint of the DA’s office. Her approach to criminal justice reform was first shaped at just 14 years old, when her father, an immigrant from Palestine, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on charges related to untaxed cigarettes – leaving her mother to become a single parent to ten children. That experience, she has said, inspired her to work to change the system.
“Tahanie has demonstrated a deep professional and personal commitment to delivering justice for the Black and brown New Yorkers who have suffered most under the punitive approach of the current Manhattan’s DA office,” said Sochi Nnaemeka, the state director for New York Working Families Party, in a statement. “Given her legal career holding the powerful in New York City accountable, vision and policy to build safety and community strength, and first-hand personal experience with our broken criminal ‘justice’ system, we have no doubt that Tahanie is the right candidate for the job.”
In considering his endorsement in the race, Williams noted that the system does not simply need to be reformed.
“[Our criminal justice system] needs a fundamental transformation where we reimagine public safety to achieve both equitable enforcement as well as proper investment of resources into our communities,” said Williams. “I endorse Tahanie Aboushi for Manhattan District Attorney because she will prioritize the de-criminalization of poverty, mental illness, and substance use and center the well-being of our historically marginalized communities with a decarceral approach to criminal justice.”
Niou said Aboushi’s experience as an activist and attorney has given her the first-hand knowledge of the injustice experienced by marginalized groups.
“Tahanie understands the flaws within our broken judicial system and will advocate for intersectional systemic reform, immigrant rights, police reform, and decarceration,” said Niou. “As Manhattan DA, Tahanie will champion radical change and fight on behalf of all New Yorkers for a just and equitable system for all.”
In a statement, Aboushi touched on the significance of these endorsements in her bid to become the progressive choice in the race.
“All of these progressive leaders endorsed our campaign because they understand the cruelty of our justice system and trust the impacted community to provide solutions that get at the core of the problem,” she said. “Together, I know we will accomplish transformational change for Manhattan and the criminal justice system as a whole.”