Tiffany Cabán is a 31-year-old queer Boricua with plans for big change as she runs for district attorney of Queens, New York in the primary race taking place June 25. Today she revealed her new ad that promotes her progressive platform that includes ending cash bail, decriminalizing sex work and poverty, and reducing recidivism (repeat offenders).
“I’m a queer Latina from a working-class family. People like us are exactly who the system is trying to keep down,” she wrote in a tweet sharing the ad.
If Cabán is elected she will become the first queer and first Latina district attorney in New York City. Her campaign comes in the wake of the death of long-time DA Richard A. Brown, who held the position since 1991. Now Cabán is the youngest of seven candidates in the running and in her ad she calls out her biggest competitor, Melinda Katz.
Katz is the current borough president of Queens and has said she’ll continue to prosecute sex work and drug offenses (other than marijuana). She was also a councilwoman in the borough from 2002 through 2009.
“She will keep the status quo, take money from real estate, and protect the machine,” Cabán says in the ad. “She’s a career politician who hasn’t spent a single day in criminal court.”
Cabán’s grassroots campaign has raised $256,000, mostly from people outside of her borough, and with no corporate donations which means she’s not making as much as the other candidates. However, it has outraised all candidates combined in individual donors with a total of 2,545 donations thus far.
But what she may lack in donations she makes up for in support with endorsements from Working Families Party, Real Justice PAC, and Victory Fund, Cynthia Nixon, and fellow progressive Latinx congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC’s 14th district is within Queens which is the biggest of New York City’s five boroughs with more than 2.3 million residents.
Cabán was born in Richmond Hills, Queens to Puerto Rican parents and earned a bachelor’s degree in crime, law, and justice from Pennsylvania State University. She went on to earn a JD from New York Law School and worked at New York County Defender Services and Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice.
Through her years of experience, she’s seen how poverty has kept her clients in a vicious cycle of crime and she aims to change that. She hopes to incorporate “trauma-informed practices” where an accused individual’s trauma is taken into account.
One example is the incarceration of black men in America and how trauma is an aspect that directly affects their likelihood of being incarcerated.
“Both trauma exposure and trauma-associated psychopathology are associated with an increased likelihood of arrest and incarceration in adulthood among black Americans,” according to the National Health Institutes of Health.
When it comes to women specifically, “92 percent of all women in California prisons had been ‘battered and abused’ in their lifetimes,” according to the ACLU.
“My experience matters,” Cabán told a Queens United Independent Progressive audience in February, according to the intercept. “That is not identity politics; that is me speaking to my understanding around intersectionality and the effects of individual and generational trauma on our communities,” she said.