Julia Salazar

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Julia Salazar
Personal details
Born (1990-12-31) December 31, 1990 (age 30)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (2017–present)

Julia Salazar (born December 31, 1990) is an American community organizer, political activist, politician, member of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Socialists of America. She is running for selection as the Democratic Party candidate in the September 13, 2018 primary election in the 18th district of the New York State Senate.

Early life and education[edit]

Salazar was born in Miami in 1990.[1][2] Her maternal grandmother was Italian, her mother is a naturalized American citizen, her father was an immigrant to the United States from Colombia.[3][4] When she turned 18, Salazar registered as a Republican in December 2008.[5]

Salazar attended but did not graduate from Columbia University.[6] During her time there, she became "class-conscious" in part due to working as a nanny and house cleaner.[7] According to her campaign spokesperson, she registered with the Independence Party of New York in March 2010, mistakenly believing that it was meant she was an unaffiliated voter.[5] She has written articles for Mondoweiss.

2018 New York State Senate campaign[edit]

In April 2018, Salazar announced her candidacy for the 18th district of the New York State Senate.[8] She is running against Senator Martin Malave Dilan in the Democratic primary, scheduled to take place September 13, 2018.[9][8] Her campaign gained significant attention after the primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York's 14th congressional district.[9]

She has been endorsed by Our Revolution,[10] the DSA,[11] Cynthia Nixon,[12] and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,[2][13] among others.

Controversy over birthplace and family religion[edit]

According to the political news site City & State, Salazar was "a candidate on the rise," until the "surge" in media coverage focused attention on contradictions in statements she has made about her personal life and family background.[4][14][15] According to the newsite, the "most potentially damaging" statement for Salazar's chances of carrying a "heavily Latino district" is her claim to be an immigrant when, in fact, she was born in a United States citizen in Florida.[15]

A profile of Salazar in The Intercept described Salazar "as a Colombian immigrant, based on claims she made to The Intercept and elsewhere, but while Salazar said she emigrated from Colombia, she was in fact born in Miami."[9] Other interviews quoted Salazar as saying that she was born in Colombia.[3][4][16][10] She blamed the error on on her website on a campaign staffer, and said that she had “made it crystal clear that I had been born in Miami.”[17][18][14][19][20][21]

In college Salazar studied Jewish texts and observed kosher food rules.[4][14][20] Journalists understood from statements made by Salazar that her father was a Colombian Sephardic Jew, descended from the medieval community that was expelled from Spain, and that she started to explore Judaism in college.[3] She has self-described or been cited by interviewers as saying that she is Jewish, or that she had converted to Judaism and that her father was Jewish.[4][14][18][17]

According to Haaretz, there is a community in Colombia of descendants of Spanish Marranos, who concealed their Jewish identity when they emigrated from Spain. They assimilated as Catholics, but kept some Jewish practices. Some of them are named Salazar.[22]

Salazar responded by accusing journalist Armin Rosen of engaging in “race science,” and accused him of having “threatened to publish her mother’s personal information if she didn’t cooperate.”[19] The Salazar campaign has largely dismissed the story and leaned on other instances where she did correctly identify herself as being born in Miami.[13]

Political positions[edit]

Salazar is a self-described democratic socialist,[16] a member of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America,[10] and a staff organizer for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.[8] During her undergraduate years at Columbia University, Salazar was once pro-life and a member of pro-Israel Christian student groups.[23] However, she now supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that advocates boycotting Israel.[1] She supports universal rent control in New York City.[24]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dunst, Charles (23 August 2018). "In Brooklyn, a Jewish Latina democratic socialist rallies for a State Senate seat". JTA. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yadin, Daniel (4 July 2018). "Running for State Senate, Julia Salazar Attempts Progressive Primary Upset". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named forward
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Rosen, Armin (23 August 2018). "Who Is Julia Salazar? Brooklyn State Senate Candidate's Complex Personal History and Views". Tablet Magazine.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lovett, Kenneth (23 July 2018). "LOVETT: Self-proclaimed democratic socialist Salazar was first a registered Republican". Albany: New York Daily News. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. McKinley, Jesse (5 August 2018). "Want to Be the Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Be Careful What You Wish". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  7. Lorentzen, Christian (9 July 2018). "Knocking on Doors With Julia Salazar". New York Magazine. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Katinas, Paula (17 April 2018). "Salazar to challenge Dilan in Democratic Primary". Brooklyn Eagle. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Adler-Bell, Sam (3 July 2018). "Julia Salazar Is Looking to Land the Next Blow Against the New York Democratic Machine". The Intercept. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Julia Salazar". Our Revolution. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  11. "Our Endorsements". dsausa.org. Democratic Socialists of America. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  12. Kossov, Igor (2 July 2018). "Nixon swaps endorsements with state Senate candidate". New York Post. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Jilani, Zaid; Chávez, Aída (30 August 2018). "NYC DSA, Ocasio-Cortez Stand by State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar, Despite Story Disputing Her Biography". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Dunst, Charles (24 August 2018). "Amid controversy, NY State Senate candidate aims to clarify her Jewish identity". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Williams, Zach; Adler, Ben (27 August 2018). "There are many Julia Salazars. Which one is running for state Senate? A rundown of all the candidate's misleading claims about her personal history". City & State New York. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Day, Meagan (6 July 2018). ""It Really Comes Down to Empowering the Working Class"". Jacobin. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Mikeliones, Lukas (27 August 2018). "Socialist NY Senate candidate challenged over claims of being an immigrant, Jewish". Fox News. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Editorial Board (26 August 2016). "State Senate candidate Julia Salazar seems to keep making up her past (ex cathedra editorial)". New York Post. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Sommer, Allison Kaplan (2018-08-26). "Fake Jews or Fake News? State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar Claims Racism After Jewish Identity Questioned". Haaretz. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Statement from Julia on Tablet Magazine". 24 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  21. Whitford, Emma [@emma_a_whitford] (24 August 2018). "Throwing my hat in the ring here: On May 5th I interviewed Salazar for the @villagevoice at Sunrise/Sunset on Evergreen Ave in Bushwick. 80+ min interview, which I turned into a Q+A that didn't end up running. My first q was about where she was from. Transcript below...i share this simply because these details shared in an on-the-record conversation w/ a reporter, so early in her campaign, challenge the notion that she crafted some sort of alternative narrative about herself (just listened back to the tape to be sure)" (Tweet). Retrieved 28 August 2018 – via Twitter.
  22. N.Y. State Senate Hopeful Julia Salazar ‘Lied About Being Jewish’; Brooklyn candidate says her Jewishness is based largely on family lore, while ex-friend says she admitted she couldn’t go on Birthright trip because she wasn’t Jewish. Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz, Aug 28, 2018
  23. John-Paul Pagano (2018-08-23), Julia Salazar, "Socialist" "Jewish" Candidate for NYS Senate, Defends Israel on Glenn Beck's TV Show, retrieved 2018-08-27
  24. Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (2 August 2018). "How the Democratic Socialists of America Learned to Love Cynthia Nixon". The New Yorker. Retrieved 28 August 2018.

External links[edit]

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