© 2020 by Erica for New York

A NEW VOICE FOR A NEW GENERATION

Erica (she/her) is a licensed attorney and member of the New York Bar Association, who has spent more than a decade as an advocate and public servant

 

Over the past three years, Erica worked as an education policy analyst for New York City’s Independent Budget Office, evaluating federal and state policies that affect the lives of students and their families. The same skills that Erica used to study the inequities across the nation’s largest school system bridged her ability to also advocate for stronger workplace protections for all New Yorkers.

 

Prior to joining the Independent Budget Office, Erica worked as counsel in the New York State Senate. In this role, Erica partnered with advocates to develop comprehensive education policies, drafted legislation, and represented their interests at the budget negotiation tables. 

 

Erica’s beliefs on progressive, people-focused governing stems from her time at Touro Law Center. In addition to her legal studies, Erica relished working alongside peers, faculty and administration in amending school policies, and sought every opportunity to take part in the process that would enhance the quality of life for Touro students.

 

Although Erica initially saw herself remaining in government services for her career, she resigned in 2015 after believing sexual harassment was an unspoken but mandatory part of her job description. It would take almost three years before she recognized the power in telling her story; the reigniting of Tarana Burke’s “Me, Too” movement propelled Erica to speak out about her experience and the systemic culture of harassment that allowed it to happen. She believed that if speaking out could help bring change to an unjust system that shunned victims, it was worth the risk.

 

In the months that followed, Erica co-founded the Sexual Harassment Working Group (SHWG) along with six other former state legislative staffers who experienced sexual harassment, assault, or retaliation at the hands of elected and appointed officials. Erica and the Working Group connected with experts, advocates, and other victims to learn more about the gaping holes that exist in New York employee protections.

Using this knowledge and their own experiences, the SHWG released a set of policy recommendations in June 2018, and successfully advocated for the first New York State hearing on sexual harassment in the workplace in 27 years. In August 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Harassment Free New York agenda, a package of reforms championed by the SHWG and other advocates that have long fought for stronger workplace protections.

Erica’s efforts with the SHWG helped reshape state-wide conversations on workplace protections so that survivors have a seat at the table to ensure these reforms are victim-centered and trauma informed.

They also helped Erica reclaim her voice as an advocate, and rediscover the path she was on prior to the harassment she experienced -- a path created by her belief that government is a force for societal change and the greater good.

Recognizing the need for a critical mass of representatives focused on advancing this sea change, Erica chose to step down from her roles in the SHWG and IBO in order to pursue becoming a member of congress herself, and help drive the demand for new voices to have a much-needed say in our federal government.

Even before law school, Erica knew she wanted to dedicate her life to public service. As an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, Erica first discovered her passion for children’s advocacy and education policy reform, serving as a Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters program director.

Upon graduation, she joined Public Allies Connecticut – an AmeriCorps nonprofit leadership training program where she worked as a Youth Program Director for the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

 

Erica was raised in New Jersey along with her twin sister, Jillian, by their Bronxite parents, Randie and Howie.

She currently resides on the Upper East Side and is a member of Four Freedoms Democratic Club. 

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