From the Grand Concourse in New York – 15 and the Bronx to Running for Congress for All of Our People.
Frangell’s story is an American story and truly the story of New York – 15 and the Bronx.
Frangell was born and raised on the Grand Concourse, in the Bronx, to a mother, a father, and a family who had immigrated to New York from the Dominican Republic in the 1990’s.
His father had moved to New York as a US permanent resident after joining his mother, Frangell’s grandmother, in Puerto Rico, and travelling between Puerto Rico and his native Dominican Republic. He returned to the Dominican Republic, married Frangell’s mother in Santo Domingo, and then settled on the Grand Concourse, in the Bronx. Educated as a lawyer in his native country, he joined our nation’s most vulnerable workers in New York, working as a cab driver and in other lower-income roles, but also as a substitute teacher, to provide for his family abroad.
His mother, Marilanda Fortuna, joined Frangell’s father in the Bronx a few years after his arrival, taking an incredible chance by leaving everything that she had worked for in the pursuit of better lives for her children and her family.
Because of social and economic difficulties that first-generation and immigrant families encounter upon their arrival to America, Frangell’s father returned to the Dominican Republic, leaving his recently-arrived mother to raise her children in New York as a single parent. Frangell’s mother worked incredibly hard to provide for her three children, navigating through the incredible challenges that single, Spanish-speaking mothers face in New York and in our country. After many lower-income jobs, she eventually dedicated herself to the Bronx’ small business, immigrant sector, working in and helping establish and run beauty salons and other entrepreneurial efforts throughout the borough and New York – 15.
The Grand Concourse, by the Yankee Stadium, is where Frangell had one of the most amazing and morally and culturally-rich upbringings. He attended PS 156 in the Concourse Village neighborhood, a walk from his childhood home in 790 Grand Concourse, until the age of eleven, between the years of ’96 and ‘03. Although Frangell had dedicated educators who provided him with a great elementary school education, his enrollment in New York’s public school system exposed him at an early age how systemic social and economic inequality affects our public education and how it limits our young people’s potential – how our children in New York – 15 receive less in resources than students in other schools throughout other congressional districts and how where they are from greatly impacts their trajectories. Frangell learned at an early age that education is not made a possible path for all people in the United States and that our communities are disproportionally affected, essentially sometimes not even giving our people a chance from the beginning. Frangell learned how incredibly important it was to acknowledge and empower the educators in New York – 15 and throughout the nation who, despite these great systemic challenges and odds, rise to the occasion and attempt to lift their students and, by doing so, giving them a fighting chance in our country.
At the age of eleven, in ’03, as he was finishing the fifth grade and after years of economic difficulties, Frangell and his family lost their home on the Grand Concourse and were forced to enter New York’s shelter and transitional housing system. They moved to various sites throughout the Bronx and Manhattan in New York, eventually settling in the Msgr. Robert Fox Memorial Shelter, in East Harlem, Manhattan, a shelter and transitional housing unit for women and their children. After a year in the system, Frangell and his family were placed at 220 Mount Hope Place, in the Bronx, again by East Tremont and the Grand Concourse, where Frangell spent the rest of his adolescence. His family has lived in Section 8 Housing since.
It was in East Harlem and then on Mount Hope Place, in New York – 15, that Frangell learned about reasons that families lose their homes. He met families who had been affected by domestic violence, who were recovering from a loss of employment, whose relatives were struggling with substance abuse, and other reasons that continue to affect the families of the Bronx and New York – 15. Enrolled in PS 96 at the time, Frangell learned about the power that education holds to lift even the most vulnerable members of our communities: the time allowed him to refocus, work hard, and take advantage of the resources
Frangell eventually attended Cardinal Hayes Memorial High School for Boys, the all-boys, independent Catholic high school on the Grand Concourse that also count Martin Scorsese and Regis Philbin, among other American pioneers, as alumni. Influenced by the promises of an education and greatly aided by the generosity of so many, he worked hard and gained admission to Columbia University in the City of New York, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science, and specialties in International Relations and Political Theory.
At Columbia, in addition to receiving an incredible education, Frangell was fortunate enough to have travelled and worked in low-income communities in Xi’an, China, work as an organizing fellow at Organizing for America – New York, the grassroots arm of President Barack Obama’s reelection, work for the people in New York – 15 through the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and have worked at the Office of Rep. Jose Serrano in Washington, DC, through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
At graduation, after a period in the private sector, Frangell returned to New York – 15 and has served New York – 15 through various roles in New York City government, currently residing in New York – 15.
Our time is a time of change: never have New York – 15 and the Bronx had as much of a chance to lead in our nation’s capital than today. Our strength, our triumph, and our resilience have led us to this moment, to the day when we, the people of the Bronx, may choose ourselves and lead this nation. Frangell is running for Congress because, in 2020, we cannot afford to remain forgotten any longer. For the first time in thirty years, the people of the Bronx have a choice: do we revert to the people and the circumstances that have held us back, or do we stand, live through our triumph and our progress, and fight for our right to be, for our respect, for ourselves? Frangell believes that if we are going to see Congress address and pass real immigration reform that acknowledges our people’s dignities, grant healthcare for all of our people in New York – 15, make affordable and dignified housing a human right, make education a viable path for especially the most low-income and our most vulnerable, and bring jobs and real opportunities to our neighborhoods; if we are going to see an overhaul of our nation’s most fundamental policies and break through systemic barriers that have kept our most low-income and vulnerable down, then it has to done and led by
the very people who continue to be forgotten about by our current lawmakers and their policies – it is the single mothers and fathers who struggle to raise their children in one of the most economically underserved districts in the country who should have a say; it is the educators who are fighting every day to save their students from the difficulties that our younger people encounter who should have a say; it is our immigrant Americans who, like all of us, understand what sacrifice and hard work look like, and who love and have contributed to our country as much as the rest of us; it is everyone who thought that his or her opinion does not count because of where he or she is from; it is New York – 15. Frangell’s campaign aims to strengthen all of our voices and it is a fundamental belief that real change in Washington will only happen when we all have a say; that one of the poorest congressional districts in all of our land may lead this great nation.
Frangell’s story – Our story – is the story of triumph, of resilience, of faith, and of rising through the odds to achieve remarkable things, and in 2020, Frangell looks forward to channeling everything that the people of New York – 15 have accomplished and overcome to allow all of our experiences to permanently change our great nation for the better.
“Join Us, And Let’s Bring Real Representation”