Guest post by Anna Belfiore-Delfaus
Brooklyn -- there is no other place on earth that can evoke emotion, paint a picture, and trigger the senses with one single word.
My name is Anna Belfiore-Delfaus and I am running for City Council in District 47 as a Republican. Who am I? I am wife, a mother of 3 kids who attend public school, and a NYC public school teacher (currently on child care leave). I have a personal investment in my city, and in my children's futures.
Growing up in Brooklyn is a fairy tale story. It's not a Disney style fairy tale story, but an eloquent balance between culture and family, street and friends. I was born to immigrant parents, who came to this country in the early 1970's seeking "il sogno Americano", the American Dream. Living in NYC afforded me the opportunity to have friends of various cultures which led to appreciate what everyone has contributed to the fabric of NYC. This was the start to finding my voice in life. I wanted to use my voice. I strived to constantly create a environment of open discussion with people of similar and opposing views.
This exposure led me to take interest in political issues early on. By junior high school, I was on debate teams, and various committees which left me craving for more. Fast forward to the summer of 2013 -- I had recently given birth to my first daughter. While keeping up with current events, I quickly started to notice a trend of anti-law enforcement rhetoric within mainstream media. There were no positive stories shining light on what law enforcement truly does on a daily basis.
In an initiative to change the smearing narrative campaign against the NYPD I decided to take to social media. In August 2013 I founded the first major pro-law enforcement Facebook page run by a civilian called called "Thank you NYPD". Soon after publishing I began receiving death threats. I had to make a choice to either take the page down and keep my family safe, or continue and not be silenced. It was not an easy choice, but it was most certainly one I will forever stand by.
By September of 2013, The city was pinning teachers vs. cops with Union leaders and our own Mayor taking orders from outside voices claiming teachers should not wear NYPD logos on their clothing to work. They claimed it would scare and intimidate students, when the NYPD school saftey are the very people the students looked up to and feel safest with in the building. In that moment I needed to let people know that teachers and police officers are brothers and sisters in service and we need to look out for each other when the politicians say otherwise. I rebelled and challenged the mayor to change his stance, and within hours of this movement I began, the mayor backtracked and gave the "OK" to teachers and school staff to once again wear NYPD logos on their clothing to work.
During the summer riots of 2020, during an election year in which the rhetoric always begins to heat up, I decided that I was going to elevate my voice even further and bring my support to the next level. I started a "Gofundme" in which people from around the country donated money in support of the NYPD. Using this platform I was able to connect the police with the community to show support at a time when the environment was hostile towards our officers. We raised close to $30,000 while delivering food and drinks to over 5,000 officers. The focal point of our mission was to offer words of encouragement and we did so in collaboration with the Line of Duty families, politicians, and current and retired NYPD executives.
In the early stages of the visits we started to see a direct response to the riots in the form of peaceful marches in support of the NYPD. The Bay Ridge community had a "Back the Blue" rally to show their support for the 68th precinct. During this rally, Tatyana Timoshenko, mother to a fallen officer who was killed in the line of duty, her only child Russel Timoshenko, confronted a protestor. The protestor was belligerent, arrogant, and disconnected from reality. My husband approached the protestor and calmly explained who Mrs. Timoshenko is and what she has suffered in life, and immediately the sharing of this information took an unexpected effect with this young man. The protestor's body language transformed. He softened his posture, and then proceeded to apologize sincerely. This is the REAL narrative. This is what people need to see and understand. We are all human, and this is proof most of us want to live peacefully and harmoniously. I was fortune enough to capture this interaction on video. That in turn created the opportunity for me to connect to other line of duty families and I am forever grateful.
Something that became more obvious along the way was that no one wanted the NYPD presence more than the people of NYC.
Where did this agenda stem from? The catalyst was subtly introduced through the education system. The "system" is claiming to actively level the playing field under the guise of fairness, yet it has created nothing but a cycle of failure. Most teachers are against this forced narrative, but have their hands tied and cannot speak out. Children, as well as adults, function at different levels and have different strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the fundamentals taught when studying to become a teacher. Yet, we are now seeing students being lumped into one big gray area. The model of heterogeneous grouping in classrooms needs to be reevaluated. Students need to work with other students who have similar learning styles in order for the teacher to efficiently target their needs and gear the lesson accordingly. Gifted and talented programs, in which I was fortunate enough to participate, need to be secured and expanded. Special needs children are lacking services. The DOE's response to all this is by pushing more budget cuts. We are seeing significant cuts consistently and that leads to removal of important programs which create safe and thriving environments for students. We are already beginning to see the fall out of lost educational time during COVID, and now children on every level are suffering.
It's obvious that politicians, with tremendous help from the media, are inflicting emotional rather than logical responses on the people and as a result they have created an atmosphere of hostility and chaos. The politicians have failed us over and over again, but they continually insist on provoking until they have broken us all down into complacency. The reality is, it's starting to work. We are 10 years into this living with crime, chaos, and even further into failed school systems, since the DeBlasio reign. So many city council members still side with the "defund the police" narrative. Where has it gotten us? The most obvious evidence of complacency is in our elections with the dangerously low turn out numbers. The common sense voters have been disenfranchised, and deflated.
Now that we are entering an election year we see political strategies start to emerge and politicians are exposing their pandering in full force. Some of the members of city council who have aligned themselves in the progressive caucus, who once voted to defund the police and publicly promoted disdain and hate for the NYPD, are now stepping out of that very group and claiming defuding the police is a bad idea. Anyone with common sense and in touch with the communities most being affected by crime will easily recognize no one wants the NYPD defunded except for those who are untocuhed by crime. Ask a real New Yorker how they feel about the NYPD. These politicians follow the trends. Supporting law enforcment and public saftey isn't a trend. It's a deeply embeded moral compass. If politicians can change with trends, then we can never know what they truly stand for. That has been the destruction of our city.
It is an incredible privilege to have the right to vote. The only way to change course in what is happening is to vote in candidates that not only make sense when they speak, but have a proven track record that proves they believe in what they say. We cannot afford to appoint anymore representatives that have selfish ambition. Voting is our right. We must and will make a change.
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