(August 7, 2023 at 10:55am)

QUEENS, NY – Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. today announced the release of his office’s 2023 Queens Community Board Demographic Report, providing both an overview of the current demographic profiles of Queens community boards and a detailed, multilayered breakdown of this year’s diverse class of community board appointees.

The report, publication of which is required by the New York City Charter, demonstrates how Borough President Richards has continued to build on his efforts to rectify long-standing demographic inequities in community board membership by implementing effective reforms to the application process and prioritizing appointees from underrepresented communities.

Borough President Richards’ initiative to digitize the community board application in 2021 continues to be a major success in generating a deeper and more diverse pool of candidates for appointment to Queens’ 14 community boards. Since 2021, over 2,700 applications were submitted — the vast majority of which came from individuals who had not previously served on a board.

“I’m deeply proud of the strides we’ve made since I took office to make the community boards in Queens look and feel more like the rich and diverse neighborhoods they represent,” said Borough President RICHARDS. “While we continue to set the standard for what community planning and engagement can look like, I know there is still much work to do to reach our full potential. I’m confident we will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

As detailed in the report, which can be found here, there were significant achievements across the community board appointment process in 2023. In total, the Queens Borough President’s Office received 938 applications, which was only three applications short of 2021’s record-breaking total of 941. Of this year’s 366 appointees, 116 are first-time members who were not previously serving on a board — the largest number of new members appointed during the Richards Administration so far.

In line with Borough President Richards’ efforts to appoint younger members to their local community boards, 50 percent of new appointees are under the age of 45 and nearly 25 percent are between the ages of 16 and 35. Prior to Borough President Richards taking office in December 2020, less than 12 percent of sitting community board members were under the age of 35, while nearly three-quarters of all members were over the age of 45.

Of the 116 new community board members, nearly 20 percent identify as Hispanic/Latinx, an increase of nearly three percent from 2022’s group of new appointees. Moreover, African Americans make up nearly 22 percent of new appointees in 2023, while East Asian/Pacific Islanders make up nearly 14 percent and South Asians make up nearly seven percent. Nearly two-thirds, or about 64 percent, of the new appointees do not identify as “White,” a demographic category that has been historically overrepresented on community boards.

In this year’s new appointee class, slightly over 10 percent identify as LGBTQIA+, which is nearly double from last year’s percentage. Over 11 percent identify as a person with a disability; over 16 percent are immigrants, and 31 percent are the parent or guardian of a school-aged child.

Mass transit users make up a significant chunk of the 2023 class of new members as well, with more than half of the 116 new appointees — about 51 percent — reporting they “mostly” or “often” navigate Queens by using the subway, while nearly 89 percent said they at least “sometimes” use the subway to get around. Additionally, nearly 76 percent of new appointees at least “sometimes” ride the bus, and nearly 32 percent at least “sometimes” use a bicycle or other micro-mobility vehicle for transportation.

Borough President Richards’ community board appointments are a product of the Queens Borough President’s Office’s modernization of the application process and sustained outreach to potential applicants, particularly those from underrepresented constituencies, earlier this year. Efforts to simplify the process included digitizing the application into an easily-fillable online form that no longer required notarization.

The heightened interest also stems from Borough President Richards’ 2021 announcement of a series of good-government reforms aimed at establishing a centralized code of conduct for all 14 community boards, as well as a call for a holistic review of each board’s bylaws, making boards more welcoming places for new members.

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