DETROIT, MI – On Tuesday April 20th, 2021, Detroit City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López sent out a letter to those who are on her message list along with posting the same online that she will not be seeking re-election.
For nearly 8 years she have served District 6 on the Detroit City Council. She was the first female person of latin heritage to be elected to the council. Her full announcement can be read below:
Dear District 6,
It is with a deep love and sorrow that I announce I will not be seeking re-election to Detroit City Council. If someone told me ten years ago that I would become a politician and the first Latina to be elected to the Detroit City Council, I would’ve laughed.
As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant I didn’t see the value of my story. Growing up in poverty, I couldn’t see the potential impact someone from my background could have on City Council. Yet here I am nearly eight years later
— having made history and, I hope, leaving a lasting legacy for Detroit residents.
To ensure you could live with dignity over the past seven years I have sought to lead with integrity and courage, rooted in the movements of racial, environmental and social justice. My team and I pushed the conversation forward about community benefits and equitable development. In partnership with the Immigration Task Force, we established the first ever Office of Immigrant Affairs and created a historic language access plan for city government. We passed a much-needed fugitive dust ordinance to protect residents’ public health and created a public health fund. Working with you we rezoned several areas from industry to residential, built new parks, fought for demolitions and safer neighborhoods.
Over the next eight months, we will continue to work alongside you on neighborhood studies, more rezonings and hopefully more new parks! Before my term ends, I am committed to passing the Detroit River Protection Ordinance and environmental justice legislation related to regulating trucks, industrial development design standards, and buffering.
From walking the district every year, to supporting community leaders through the District 6 leaderships series, to co-governing with you to write legislation, my team and I have worked tirelessly to help Detroiters cut through the red-tape and bureaucracy.
This work has always been the closest to my heart. I will miss sitting on your front porches, listening to your life stories and laughing together. You have been my greatest teachers, my constant motivation and never ending source of strength during my time on Council.
Serving my City and my home for the past seven years has been one of the greatest joys and highest honors of my life. But I know this: the movement for social justice and an inclusive democracy was never about me. It is not just about one person or one politician- it is about the we.
If the pandemic, civil uprising and elections in 2020 taught us anything about our democracy, it’s that we need more people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds at the table. To get there we must build broad coalitions from the bottom up to elect more people rooted in the values of racial equity and social justice. This is what I’m committed to doing this year and in future elections.
There are so many people to thank, but I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of my family who keeps me grounded and fed because I never have time to cook, lol. Thank you to all the members of Team Rocky, past and present, who give endlessly of themselves and pour their hearts into serving District 6 and the city. Thank you to those who believed in me and saw my potential before I even could and recruited me to run for office.
Most importantly, thank you to the District 6 residents who gave me the incredible honor of serving them on Detroit City Council. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity and remain a steadfast servant to my city and my home. Wherever my journey leads me next, my heart will always be with you and the city.