Puerto Rican tenants’ rights advocate's work spans four decades

This Puerto Rican heritage month, News 12 is introducing you to a Puerto Rican man who has been working for decades to make sure the people in his community have a voice.
For 40 years, David Lopez has worked as an advocate for the organization Los Sures, which focuses on creating and maintaining affordable housing.
“Los Sures is an amazing amalgamation of great people who found themselves in the early 70s without representation,” says Lopez.
Growing up as part of the Puerto Rican community in New York City, he says he learned early on they were underrepresented.
"We had no access to representation or power. Naturally, we had to wonder why as young people growing up and we had to try and strive,” says Lopez.
It was something he wanted to change. In the 70s, he began advocating for tenants’ rights by organizing groups and writing for Habitatntes Unidos, a community paper detailing the struggles of tenants.
“We had families literally freezing, living through winters without heat and hot water,” says Lopez.
Today his work continues to help his community. Recently, he was a part of a fight in state supreme court to secure affordable housing and other community initiatives like this food pantry.
“If it weren’t for Los Sures there wouldn't be many Latinos in the Williamsburg neighborhood right now. You become active, you meet people that are thinking like you that want to make some positive change,” says Lopez.
Lopez says he is proud of his heritage and hoping to help his community thrive.