I know no one told you that you should have applied to dagmamma when your baby was born. You didn’t know that the city subsided the dagforeldrar system partially. You jump through the hoops trying to find your way around the system, I know. Most of the time, you don’t know how to make an appointment for a doctor. You didn’t know how to apply for a spot for your baby in leikskoli. Maybe you don’t have a car and need to use the transportation system for long distances, and you think there is room for improvement. I know that when your children finally made it to school, you struggled to understand what was happening at all times. Everything is much harder when you are not from here. I know all about that.
All of these issues are in one way or another, affected by politics and more particularly by the local government, which is elected democratically. If you have been living in Iceland for 3 years or more, regardless of where you are from, you are entitled to vote for who you want to be representing you where the decisions are made. This is what democracy is about, the residents of a city and members of each community have specific needs and they should be represented at the table where the resources are allocated and the future is shaped.
You live in this city and you are a valued member of the community. Your voice is important and should be heard, not only because you are paying taxes or because you are costing more or less financial resources to the taxpayers. You are contributing to our society, just like everyone else. Reykjavik is an intercultural city that values diversity because that is what drives change and moves us forward. Your voice should be heard and will be heard through your vote.
I never thought that I would take part in party politics in my life. I always have had opinions and ideas on how to improve the system, and I had never guessed that I would become an active member of a political party in Iceland, being from Chile. I did. I found a group of people that shares common values and ways of thinking with me and four years ago I decided to join. Today, I hold seat 13 in the list for Samfylkingin, the Social Democratic Alliance and I hope I can take part in the City Council as a Vice City Councilor at some point in the next 4 years.
I want to represent people that have similar struggles as mine. We are part of a society that was not designed to understand our needs. We need to conduct surveys and listen to all the population, especially those who have not been heard before. We were not born here, but our home is here. Our families and our future is here and we want the best for us and our communities. We are just like everyone else, but we have different needs. I want to hear from you and contribute to finding solutions to those problems.
I encourage you to consider Samfylkingin, the Social Democratic Alliance for your vote for the Reykjavik City Council. You will find representatives that look like you, that understand your struggles and want to advocate for you. The main issues of Samfylkingi’s policy are: 1) Housing for all, 2) Improvement of public transportation by developing Borgarlína, and 3) A better city for our children, building more leikskólar and ungbarnaleikskólar to bridge the gap between parental leave and the beginning of leikskóli. All of these are issues that impact households where one or more are non-Icelanders, especially women. My professional career (and my husbands’, to a lesser extent) was affected by this gap, for example, so I understand very well what improvements need to be made and I want to push for them.
You can find information about the policies here.
Today is the last day to vote. Polling stations will be open and information on where to vote can be found here.
See you at the polling place. X + S.
The author of this article is a woman from Chile, a resident of Reykjavik and holds seat 13 in the list for City Council of Samfylkingin, the Social Democratic Alliance.