My name is Illapa Sairitupac. I’m a social worker, a climate organizer, and the proud son of Peruvian immigrants.
Growing up, my parents worked hard to carve out a good life for our family. They came to New York from Peru in the 1980s, and my mom found work as a housekeeper while my dad worked as a busboy. We moved from town to town every few years in search of stable housing and jobs with decent pay.
Eventually my parents were able to put themselves through school and my mother became a union nurse, and my father a teacher at PSC-CUNY. Only after a lifetime of sacrifice and displacement were they able to create a secure life for themselves.
I currently live in a tenement apartment with a family of recent immigrants. When I moved to the Bowery almost a decade ago, I worked as a dog walker and assistant teacher for poverty wages. Like my parents, I was able to attend school to prepare myself for a new career and I became a social worker.
I love my work helping members of our community overcome struggles with poverty, addiction, and mental health. But even now, I still worry about stretching my paycheck to cover rent, food, medical costs, utility bills, and student loans.
I’m also an environmental organizer because I’m worried about what climate change is going to do to our neighborhoods and homes. Our low-lying district is particularly vulnerable. All of us in Lower Manhattan can see that, over the years, the storms are becoming more frequent and the flooding more severe. The safety of our homes, the security of our memories and belongings, and the usability of our streets and transit systems are in growing danger.
I know from experience that it’s become increasingly difficult for working people and families in Lower Manhattan to carve out secure lives for ourselves. I’m tired of watching the rich get even richer while the rest of us stretch our paychecks.
What Lower Manhattan deserves is a champion for working people like us. That’s why I’m running to be your representative in Albany.