From Left-to-right: Joyce S. Johnson, Craig Schley, Charles B. Rangel, Clyde Williams and Adriano Espaillat.
By Ryan Ngala
[Harlem, New York]
Tuesday was the biggest election of the summer season, and the candidates who ran for congress were just getting warmed up. For many people getting their chance to vote and letting their voices be heard as they endeavored to pick the strongest candidates for congress, Tuesday’s primary was their opportunity to get things right for this important community in the heart of New York City.
As the polls opened for election from 6 am - 9 pm, many voters scrambled from schools and office buildings to vote in the neighborhoods where they live. For many residents, exercising their right to vote indicates their courage and willingness to do what is necessary and best for their community during these tough economic times. But what do they really want for the congressional candidates to do in order to fix things for the community? Usually, this community never expects to get this kind of media attention early in the week.
This was my first time voting in an election, ever!, I was among the first voters to arrive at my polling place at Ps. 175 located at 175 W. 134th Street; that location is just two stops from where I live on 132nd Street. As I entered into the building, I walked all the way to the back where they were doing the voting. As I stepped into the gymnasium, one of the poll workers at the front desk asked me for my address and I told her what it was. Then she pointed to the 25th District table where I was to stand in line and wait while many other people received their green and white ballot papers.
The names of the five candidates were listed: Joyce S. Johnson, Craig Schley, Charles B. Rangel, Clyde Williams and Adriano Espaillat. Each voter then decided which candidate they wanted to vote for; they inserted the green and white ballot paper slip into the ballot scanner; as they inserted the ballot, the machine it read, “Thanks for voting.”
I walked out of the polling place and through the school building, I then walked across 125th Street and Lenox Avenue. I just wanted to see what was going on at Sylvia’s Restaurant; many news media had come there to cover the election story. News crews from NY1, CBS 2, and ABC 7 were amongst those gathered at Sylvia’s. Congressman Charles B. Rangel was expected to arrive soon; when he did, he was greeted by all of his supporters. They were happy for the opportunity to express their love and gratitude to him. He had promoted uplift and change, not only for Harlem, but also for the Bronx, and many people love Congressman Charles B. Rangel and call him “Charlie” as a nickname.
The number of votes that had been counted by then was just over 8,000, but soon the count was boosted high to more than 12,800 votes. The people were surprised at the miraculous results! It was a stunning victory that made him the projected winner of the 13th district. “Charlie, we love you!!!” a supporter shouted. At that point, Congressman Charles B. Rangel was being named “The Lion of Lenox Avenue!” His self – determination not only as a champion but also as a warrior has once again made him the trusted leader to the Harlem community.