In this episode, we talk with Mahfazul Islam, Founder of JhalNYC and candidate for State Assembly.

Excerpt: “The incumbent has been in office for 10 years. Before that it was his brother. Before that was his dad. There are community board meetings that are supposed to be direct engagement with the government, like town hall meetings; the members of which are appointed and there are no term limits. I’ve spoken to people who want simple things to be passed like bike lanes that have support of the majority of the community, but the members would rather listen to their friends in government that they’ve known forever. That’s not how democracy should work.

I think the problem with politics is that we celebritize politicians and deify them, and we only pay attention to presidential candidates and not the local issues that affect us daily. There is a human tendency to want a figure that can lead us, but I think it’s time in this day age that we go back to local basic participatory democracy where we are engaging directly with our government rather than expecting one person to solve all of our problems. That’s what causes extreme figures to come out because these days, attention is the biggest currency.”

To hear more about Mahfazul Islam’s story and what he stands for, tune into the podcast above.