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The Guardian

‘We live here too’: Tahanie Aboushi wants to become New York’s senior prosecutor

Standout Progressive is the underdog of the District Attorney, but she’s convinced she can win – and change the system Tahanie Aboushi: ‘The point is we’ve had an attorney for the past 80 years here in Manhattan who was only ever a white man. “. Photograph: Kisha Bari / Tahanie Aboushi Tahanie Aboushi was 13 when the police entered her home and arrested her parents. At the age of 14, her father, a boutique owner in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, was sentenced to 22 years in prison on charges of untaxed cigarettes and stolen goods. His mother was acquitted of all charges. “Every day throughout the trial, I thought he was coming home with us. And then the day he was sentenced, he couldn’t come home with us. It was so abrupt. I remember asking myself, “Is this it?” Doesn’t he come home with us? That was the day it really sank, ”Aboushi told The Guardian in an interview. She added, “That night there was no dinner with my dad at the table, and that would probably be the last time we had dinner with our dad in our house for the next 20 years.” Now, more than two decades later, Aboushi is entering a competitive race to become Manhattan’s next prosecutor – the chief prosecutor who holds the power to decide which cases will be prosecuted in the world’s financial capital and in the heart of New York. York. It’s a pace that spans Wall Street and downtown Manhattan to the ultra-rich avenues on the Upper East and West sides, to the bustling communities of color of Harlem and Washington Heights. Aboushi is an outsider, but he is already the unparalleled progressive in the race, having secured the endorsement of the left-wing Working Families party, the Jewish vote advocacy group and progressive politicians like MP Rashida Tlaib, member of Congress Jamaal Bowman and actor and activist Cynthia. Nixon. Outside a cafe in Harlem, Aboushi is greeted by Yemeni women in burqas carrying groceries. A car stops on the sidewalk and a man rolls down his window to say “Salaam” to the candidate. The man is Brother Tariq, director of the Malcom X mosque down the street. Aboushi shouts back to tell him that he owes him a call. “It’s the Manhattan side that is being forgotten,” Aboushi said at the Manhattanville cafe. “This is one of the reasons I jumped in this race – because there are other voters who have been injured. And like, we live here too. And U.S? It’s a very heavy working class [place] here, mostly black and latino. But you can see that we have a good mix of Yemeni and Pakistani communities. Many African immigrant taxi drivers live here. It’s just a beautiful, diverse community here. In a competitive race with seven other candidates, the odds are cumulative. Aboushi’s most formidable rival is Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor who served as a clerk for Judge Merrick Garland, who now heads the Department of Justice. If elected, Farhadian Weinstein or Aboushi would be Manhattan’s first female district attorney. While Aboushi joked that she and Farhadian Weinstein were already confused for each other since both are women of color with ethnic names, she said she couldn’t be more different than his opponent, a millionaire married to a wealthy hedge fund manager. . “The point is, we’ve had a DA for the past 80 years here in Manhattan who has only ever been a white man. It is someone who is part of powerful and privileged communities who did not work for us but who tells us what is best for us. We have the movement and the defenders. People are demanding change. We know that we have to control and fight crime, but we also know that the system is very unfair and racist. “And so people want to know how we’re going to do both. And we can do both. I’ll show them we can do both. That’s why I jumped in the race. Aboushi’s hope is to succeed the current public prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Whoever is elected DA will inherit Vance’s tax inquiry from Donald Trump – a key issue in this race. “We know what Vance could have done that with Trump in 2015. He was your career prosecutor and people wanted something done in this 2015 investigation and it didn’t get anywhere, right? not? So, is it really someone who’s never been a DA that worries us, or someone who’s always been a DA that we should be worried about about shutting down this stuff? Although she has practiced law for over a decade and runs her own practice with her siblings, Aboushi’s inexperience in prosecuting matters could be seen as a vulnerability in her candidacy, but she sees it as a strength. “I was at the other end of the decision a prosecutor made,” Aboushi said, referring to his father’s prison term. “I know what it looks like on the pitch and what it means to fight, not to become a statistic where you get trapped in this cycle. And that’s the perspective that has always been lacking in this office. “We had career attorneys. We can no longer sacrifice our families hoping that someone will see us as human beings and do something different. We have the most diverse cross-cutting support system – more than any other candidate, Tahanie Aboushi Taboushi said that what she lacks in prosecution experience she makes up for with lived experience. Her most high-profile case to date was against the New York Police Department, where she defended Muslim women who were forced to remove their hijabs to have their photos taken during the arrests. She won and New York paid each woman in the case a settlement of $ 60,000. “I was like, ‘What kind of environment can these officers do this and be so comfortable doing it?’ It was one of the first impressions of the courts, meaning the NYPD had never had this problem with them before. The policy now extends to all New Yorkers. She added: “What I liked about this case is that it started with a high school student – a Muslim girl who tried to speak for herself and her voice was stamped out. It doesn’t matter what religion you are. Working through their arguments has been an active shift from systemic racism and understanding that you are in a city vibrant with so many different cultures. Aboushi hopes to win the nomination in the June 22 primary elections and is convinced that she can win. “We have the most diverse transversal support system – more than any other candidate. We can have a safe and fair justice system and be accountable in a way that focuses on rehabilitation and preventative measures. People trust us. People hear my story and read the work I have done. “And they know I’m not going to ‘do them any other way’ and that we’re going to be open and honest about this process. And we will be responsive. We will guarantee a safe and stable society for all. “



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