Moving NYC Forward

April: Driving Sustainability in NYC

Congratulations to the ABNY Young Professionals April Spotlight of the Month, Jessica Cruz, Deputy Director, Living Streets & Public Spaces, NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice who’s highlighted for her work to improve sustainability and climate change resiliency in New York City. 

Jessica Cruz

Deputy Director, Living Streets & Public Spaces
NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice
How did you get to where you are today?

I am where I am today because of the love and support I’ve received from my family, friends, mentors, and colleagues. I am a first-generation graduate and eldest daughter; at every major life chapter, I’ve relied on my community for guidance. This guidance has helped me bring my lived experience to my work and advocate for communities like the one I grew up in. I believe decisions made for every community should include representatives from that community and that belief has helped me make difficult decisions in my career.

What are you most proud of?

I could easily point to some career or biking moments, but I am truly most proud of my parents and the work they’ve put in to make a home in the United States. They both arrived as teenagers from Guatemala and El Salvador and my drive and passion are rooted in their sacrifices. I am proud of being first generation and providing that perspective to this space. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in your field?

The work of climate and environmental justice is growing and constantly evolving. If you are interested, take the leap, meet with policy makers, researchers, advocates and learn more about the work and how it connects to your interest. This work impacts so many fields, including public health, transportation, technology, etc. and we could need more people dedicated to this work. 

When did you realize that you are a New Yorker?

This is a tough question. I’ve now lived in NYC for 12 years by some standards I would be considered a New Yorker but I felt most like a New Yorker and NOT like a New Yorker during my time working and serving the people of The Bronx. Bronx politics are unmatched!

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