Carlina Rivera represents the 2nd Council District which includes the diverse neighborhoods of the East Village, Flatiron, Gramercy Park, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Murray Hill, and the Lower East Side. She was born and raised in the 2nd District of Lower Manhattan by a single mother who moved to New York City from Puerto Rico.
Carlina began her career in afterschool programming, working with children at some of New York City’s highest-needs schools. She went on to serve her local community, creating and organizing initiatives for older adults and homeless New Yorkers as Director of Programs and Services at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), a non-profit focused on social justice.
Carlina has a history of bringing people together to improve the lives, resources, and well-being of the residents of Manhattan’s East Side, whether as a community board member, as an organizer, or on a taskforce that secured funding for East River waterfront resiliency in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. After Sandy, Carlina helped coordinate thousands of volunteers to assist over 10,000 homebound residents as part of a recovery network that would go on to support families affected by the Second Avenue and Flatiron Explosions.
During her time in the Council, Carlina has introduced and passed legislation related to sexual harassment, reproductive health, immigration, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, small business survival, and transportation. While Chair of the Committee on Hospitals during the COVID crisis, Carlina worked collaboratively with healthcare providers and organizers to ensure that testing and tracing outreach was being run by credible organizations, pushed for vaccine equity, and delivered PPE and food to neighbors most in need.
To expand access to safe abortion and reproductive healthcare, in 2019, Council Member Rivera created and secured $250,000 in annual funding for the Abortion Access Fund. As a member of the Council’s Budget Negotiation Team, Carlina helped secure a $1 million allocation for the fund in FY2023, and expanded eligible expenses to include travel and childcare.
As a member of the Budget Negotiation Team, Carlina has also secured $900,000 to create a transgender navigator program in NYC Health + Hospitals to improve service delivery for transgender and gender nonconforming people and funding for Title IX coordinators in public schools. She has also prioritized increases to school programming both during the day and afterschool that includes parents and guardians, and has supported community fridges in our school spaces and houses of worship.
Additionally, Carlina has won $1.5 million to bolster the work of organizing efforts to establish and expand community land trusts through the five boroughs and allocated over $10 million in capital funding directly to the preservation and development of affordable housing in District 2. She has also introduced legislation to prioritize community-led development and end the warehousing of apartments across New York City.
As Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice, Council Member Rivera secured $63 million in savings in FY2023 through her advocacy for reform within our criminal legal system. Carlina is focused on expediting the plan to close Rikers by advocating for necessary actions, including but not limited to reducing the incarcerated population, recalibrating bloated City budgets, rightsizing Department of Correction’s staff, and investing in services and programs that build safe communities, all while centering our humanity.
She has secured millions of dollars for local improvements to services, programs, schools and cultural institutions. Working collaboratively with colleagues in government and local partners, Carlina established the Open Streets Program and has succeeded in protecting community space and cultural institutions through budget advocacy. With Open Streets, Carlina has put forward a vision for our open space using urban planning that creates safer streets, boosts our cultural and hospitality economy, and implements outdoor educational and holistic programming for New Yorkers of all ages.
Carlina is a champion of economic and workforce development and has partnered with the New York City Employment and Training Coalition and Goodwill Industries to support the Bridge to Technology pilot program, as well as supported the tech hub at Zero Irving to create a digital skills training center to increase the diversity in this growing industry.
Carlina lives with her husband and turtle. She graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Journalism, after attending local district schools her entire life.