Diana Ayala has worked for nearly two decades serving the people of the 8th District in social service agencies and government, and is a passionate advocate on issues including housing, gun violence, and senior services.
Diana was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, and moved to New York City with her family as a child. Growing up in public housing after a time in the shelter system, she experienced numerous challenges that would help give her a unique voice and perspective in government and politics, and drive her passion for public service.
As a teenage mom-to-be, the father of Diana’s son was shot and killed in a senseless shooting, after which she returned to shelter. She later entered into a new relationship that proved abusive. In the face of these challenges, she found the personal strength to start her life over, enrolling in school and receiving her associate’s degree in Human Services from Bronx Community College.
She worked as a senior center director in East Harlem for seven years, and later joined the team for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as Constituent Services Director, ultimately becoming Deputy Chief of Staff.
In her current capacity, Diana has been instrumental in crafting legislation that has become law, from expanding tenants’ rights to cracking down on the sale of synthetic marijuana (K2). Diana has worked hand-in-hand with constituents to address issues ranging from housing, homelessness and mental health, to schools, immigration, and gun violence. She is a partner with the people, and a strong voice and aggressive champion for what she believes in.
Diana lives in East Harlem with her life partner, Frankie. She has four children and three grandchildren, and also lives with two rescued dogs and three cats.