Watch CBS News

New York City Poised To Welcome Most Diverse City Council Class, With First-Time Female Majority

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Votes are still coming this Election Day, but one historic outcome is already being celebrated.

The New York City Council will be the most diverse ever, and with a first-time female majority.

"Every time I talk about it, I get goosebumps," Melissa Mark-Viverito, co-founder of 21 in 21, told CBS2's Christina Fan.

The former council speaker led the effort to change the makeup of the City Council after the number of women dwindled down to 11 when she left office in 2017. Her organization, 21 in 21, has been providing support to women contenders, and those candidates are set to surpass the group's goal.

"We have the potential here of getting up to 30 women in the City Council, a City Council that has 51 members, so it is pretty amazing," Mark-Viverito said.

The new, incoming class is also expected to include the first Black lesbian woman, a record-breaking number of Asian Americans, and the first representatives from South Asia.

Shahana Hanif, who is Bangladeshi, will also likely be the first Muslim woman elected.

"To tangibly show what representation looks like or what it's going to continue to look like feels especially powerful to me and really signals why I'm in office," Hanif told Fan.

Experts believe a combination of ranked choice voting and the city's matching funds program spurred newcomers into the race.

Advocates, like Sonia Ossori with the National Organization for Women, are hopeful the new council will bring attention to previously marginalized populations and issues.

"Like affordable quality child care. We feel the women who are going to be at the table are going to understand these issues," she said.

New members say after the election, they plan to continue leveraging their power and elect another female council speaker.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.