BRONX BEAT: Council Member Gibson Looks Back
Vanessa L. Gibson is beginning her last year as the New York City Council Member from the 16th district in the West Bronx, which borders the grounds of Bronx Community College. “When I look back on my tenure in the City Council, it’s been such a rewarding experience.”
“My first four years on the Council, I chaired the Committee on Public Safety and did a lot of work with the NYPD. We had to deal with sensitive issues around race and police and profiling in our city. We passed a lot of great legislation.”
Other accomplishments the Council Member points to with pride are a 2015 law that collected data on how children of color in public schools were disciplined and 2017 legislation that provided free legal representation for families facing eviction in housing court. “It’s been a blueprint for how to protect tenants across the country.”
Gibson has been a familiar face on the campus of Bronx Community college. “I’ve had the honor of attending Commencement and it’s amazing standing on that stage and seeing immigrants, those who served in the military, the beautiful, diverse mosaic of the Bronx.” She has also participated in the BCC’s annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk, events for Black History and Women’s History Months and been a featured guest of the Lunch with Leaders series.
In the City Council chamber, Gibson has helped provide funding for BCC’s Early Childhood Center, renovations of the Roscoe Brown Student Center and other campus improvements. When the College’s hugely successful Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) was threatened with cutbacks, the Council Member led the effort to restore $20 million in funding.
“Bronx Community College had been a lifeline for thousands,” says the Council Member, herself a City University of New York graduate from Baruch College. “There is no Bronx without Bronx Community College.”
Gibson has brought much needed capital spending to the borough, such as funding for hundreds of units of affordable permanent housing and a $200 million development project around Jerome Avenue that will include two new schools, park construction and transportation infrastructure — like a new elevator at the Burnside subway station used by so many BCC students.
Council Member Gibson has plenty of advice for her successor. “We have to look at how we can mobilize wealth in the African-American and Latino communities. We also have to look very closely at food access and health care. COVID-19 was exacerbated in the Bronx because so many people had underlying health conditions that are totally preventable.
“The next council member will have a lot of work to do, but I do believe I’ve laid the foundation.”
The BCC community will be forever grateful to Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson for her contributions to our students’ success.