Cultura y conciencia

Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez is Arrested for Defending Immigrant Rights

Nelson Santana

Written by Nelson Santana

May 20, 2010

New York -- This past Monday, May 17th Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez who represents the 10th district in Washington Heights – a predominantly Dominican community – was arrested for participating in a protest outside the principal immigration offices in New York City. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez joined thousands of fellow immigrants who voiced their concerns over Arizona’s SB 1070 Law. This law gives Arizona officials the right to randomly stop and question any person who they may believe to be an undocumented immigrant. Essentially, SB 1070 criminalizes people who do not have resident status in the United States.

This is not Rodríguez’s first arrest, as he has been taken into custody on previous occasions in human rights protests, which includes the time he marched for the welfare of residents in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

At the rally approximately sixteen people were arrested including Council Member Jumani Williams and Estela Vasquez, vice-president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a union that advocates for the welfare of its members to protect them in their respective workplace.

Those arrested were released two hours later. According to NY1, Rodríguez warned that from that day onward every Monday at least one council member shall be arrested until they are victorious and SB 1070 is withdrawn by the lawmakers of Arizona.

His first year in the council has been rather memorable for Rodríguez. Within a few weeks in office he was appointed Chairman of the Higher Education Committee. Fast forward to the present day and he is one among many others leading the fight against a law deemed “unconstitutional” by President Barrack Obama.

Rodríguez graduated from the City College of the City University of New York. As a student he demonstrated leadership prowess by organizing various university groups including Dominicans 2000 and the Dominican Youth Union among other groups. These groups achieved major accomplishments including the great student conference that took place in 1999 and attended by distinguished personalities including Dr. Silvio Torres-Saillant, founding Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute; the legendary merenguero and Mayor of Santo Domingo Johnny Ventura; and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Along with his university colleagues Rodríguez made significant contributions to the community. One of his most successful projects was an after-school program that he and his classmates established where they helped high school students with their English grammar and tutored them in other subjects.