Black Westchester’s Latino Empowerment page is doing a series called 21 Questions with a Latino Leader where we’ll be highlighting several
Latino leaders and the extraordinary work they do in the Latino and overall community. Usually, an unsung (s)hero. Our second introduction to you is Jonathan Campozano, a County Attorney in the Appeals, Opinions, and Legislation Bureau. He also wears several hats including as newly elected Vice-Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Committee.
We’re also having guest Latino co-reporters as well. Our next co-reporter for this series is AP reporter Rehan Sabri. If you would like to nominate an unsung (s)hero or will like to be a co-reporter, please contact me at
Lorrainelopez700@gmail.com, Facebook, call or text me at (914) 223-3191
Pa’ lante, mi gente!!!
1. What’s your name?
2. What municipality in Westchester County do you reside in?
Hartsdale, which is located in the town of Greenburgh
3. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in White Plains and raised in Greenburgh. I graduated from Woodlands High School, Westchester Community College, Purchase College, and Pace Law School. You can tell that I love Westchester. I’m a first generation immigrant from Ecuador and Puerto Rico. I take great pride in my Hispanic heritage and have a profound appreciation for the various challenges we face. It’s what motivated me to become an immigration attorney.
4. What are some hobbies that you do for fun?
Before quarantine, I would go to the movies every weekend. Quarantine has really pushed everyone to explore the outdoors. Since then, I have been searching for places to hike almost every weekend.
5. What is your favorite latino dish and dessert?
This is a tough one. I will have to go with rabo con arroz blanco y habichuela roja (oxtail with white rice and red beans). Favorite dessert is easy – torta de tres leches (tres leches cake).
6. Best concert that you have ever been to?
Has to be Bad Bunny’s x100pre tour. I saw him in New Jersey last year and it was an amazing show. Everyone stood the entire time!
7. Daddy Yankee or Bad Bunny?
Wow. I definitely feel like you set me up for this one. I have to go with Daddy Yankee. While x100pre by Bad Bunny is my second favorite album ever, I have to respect Daddy Yankee’s longevity, releasing hit after hit. He put reggaetón on the map.
8. Bad Bunny’s x100pre is your second favorite album ever. Which is your favorite album ever?
This may be unexpected, but Usher’s Confessions album is my favorite ever. There isn’t one song you would skip on that album.
9. Soccer or Baseball?
This is the internal struggle of being half Ecuadorian and half Puerto Rican, but I have a clear favorite which is soccer. Go NYCFC!
10. What is your favorite book that you have ever read?
Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez. He’s also half Ecuadorian and Puerto Rican so it was exciting to read a book by an author with a similar background. It focuses on the Latinx experience in Spanish Harlem during the 1960s.
11. Earlier you mentioned you practice immigration law. Could you describe your experiences as an immigration attorney?
There are many I could get into, but the most impactful experience was when I volunteered with the CARA Pro Bono Project (“CARA”) in Dilley, Texas. CARA provides legal services to detained women and children who were caught crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. These women and children are fleeing violence, yet are detained as if they were the criminals. It’s inhumane. There is little to no medical care at the detention center. I volunteered in 2016, 2017, 2018, and cannot imagine how horrible the conditions must be today.
12. Do you still practice immigration law?
I don’t. It was hard leaving an area of law I continue to feel so passionate about, but an opportunity presented itself and I couldn’t pass it up. In 2019, I joined the recently elected New York State Senate Democratic Majority as Associate Counsel where I had the privilege to work on significant pieces of legislation including the Farm Laborers Fair Practices Act and the Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act (Green Light NY). Today, I work for the County Attorney’s Office in the Appeals, Opinions, and Legislation Bureau.
13. Tell us about the organizations you’re affiliated with.
There are quite a few! I do my best to pay it forward. To highlight some, I am currently the Secretary for the Hispanic Democrats of Westchester and Chairman of Latino U College Access’ Emerging Leaders Board. More recently, I was elected as Vice Chair for the Westchester County Democratic Committee!
14. Do you find it important to be politically involved?
Absolutely. Unfortunately, many decisions that affect the general population are influenced or motivated by politics. It’s important we not only get involved, but push towards being included in the decision making process. Too many times the interests of the Hispanic community are ignored because there is no one at the table to express our interests. This connects to a deeper issue which is the lack of Hispanic representation among our elected officials in Westchester and beyond.
15. What are your thoughts on absentee voting this upcoming election?
If you don’t feel comfortable voting in person, you should definitely feel confident about requesting an absentee ballot. The sooner you request it, the better! The deadline to request an absentee ballot in New York is October 27. Remember, in New York we have the option to vote early as well! Early voting starts on October 24, and runs until November 1.
16. Do you feel either party has adequately reached out to Latinos to secure their vote in November?
While there is no question that I will be voting for Joe Biden in the upcoming election, moving forward I hope we, the Democratic Party, can expand the public’s idea of what issues concern the Hispanic community. Yes, immigration is a significant issue for us and needs to be addressed beyond repeatedly expressing the need for “comprehensive immigration reform.” That aside, Hispanics care about many other issues including property and school taxes, access to healthcare, civil rights, education, and much more.
17. Do you believe Black Lives Matter?
Absolutely. To support Black Lives Matter and its significance does not mean that the lives of others matter any more or less than Black lives. Recent events including the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubery, Breonna Taylor, and unfortunately many more have amplified the suffering within the Black community. As a white-passing Latino male, I have lived my life with certain privileges not afforded to Black people based on skin color. To not support Black Lives Matter and turning a blind eye would be from a position of privilege which I will not do.
18. You mentioned a lack of Hispanic representation among elected officials. Why is that important to you?
Take a look at Westchester County. According to the last census in 2010, Hispanic individuals make up 25% of the County’s population, which I’m sure has increased since then. Yet, of our 13 current State Senate and Assembly representatives, not one is Hispanic and only three are Black. I understand that the political world can appear uninteresting to some or discouraging to others, but it’s critical we increase political participation throughout our communities. Now more than ever, we not only need our voices to be heard, but our needs to be met.
19. What motivates you to remain involved in politics?
I hope to one day run for elected office. For many years, while in college, law school, and beyond, I have done my best to serve as a resource to my community. Whether it’s showing up at a rally or protest, or providing legal information, I seek to help however possible. There is a greater responsibility and platform for elected officials. We expect them to be visible within their community, regardless of the political capital to be gained. It’s a commitment that I hope to one day have the privilege to make and continue to serve as a resource to my community on a larger scale.
20. What were some of the toughest challenges you faced growing up?
I can’t complain. My parents provided me with the best life possible growing up. I’d say perhaps a challenge for them was affordable childcare. For a period of time, my parents each worked two jobs, one of which was delivering newspapers which required them to start working around 4 or 5 AM. There was no one to take care of me so I would have to ride along with them every day. I also remember during a few summers as a child, my father drove a school bus for summer camps. At that time, I didn’t know that my parents couldn’t afford to send me to summer camp, but it killed me not being able to go. As I look back, spending those summer days with my dad are memories I cherish the most. I’ll always remember him telling me that even though I couldn’t go to summer camp that I was at “Camp-Ozano.”
21. On a personal and fun note, if you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
Batman. He isn’t a metahuman, but his tactical skills are ridiculous. Also, who wouldn’t want to drive the batmobile?
About The Author: Rehan Sabri is an AP Reporter that hails from White Plains, NY.
He likes to do it all: produce, write, report, and tell stories in front of a camera or on a column in your favorite newspaper.
Rehan reports, unapologetically, on everything that is happening in the world of sports, politics and entertainment. He is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).