My name is Huge Ma and I'm a software engineer, activist and problem solver. I'm running to use technology for good, demand real climate action and fight for world-class transit.
I was raised by immigrants. My mom gave up a career in Hong Kong and worked at LIC garment factories to put herself through studies at LaGuardia Community College, eventually becoming a 1199SEIU union nurse; my dad was a small business owner who often worked 7 days a week. We spent days off at Astoria Park and watched movies on $3 Tuesdays at Center Cinemas in Sunnyside.
I’m a proud graduate of public schools. I attended schools like I.S. 5 in Elmhurst, where 77% of students face economic hardship, with classmates whose families came from all corners of the earth. Growing up alongside children of taxi drivers, nurses and cooks, I learned the importance of a quality education for upward mobility to working-class families.
In my sophomore year of high school, my dad passed away from a sudden stroke. I learned how to solve problems because there were bills to pay, a small business to keep afloat, college to figure out. I still carry that same spirit with me today and will fight for families who today face the same challenges.
Remember what it was like to get a vaccine in January? Like many of you, I spent hours refreshing websites and exchanging tips with friends to find an appointment for my mom. I knew that—for working people and those with difficulties accessing the internet—finding a vaccine would be an impossible task. I built TurboVax because the system was broken. When the Mayor and Governor couldn’t come together to deliver a single website to find a vaccine, I used my technology background to deliver a platform that helped hundreds of thousands of teachers, grocery store workers and other regular New Yorkers get the vaccine.
But with the eyes of New York on TurboVax, I decided to use its moment to bring attention to another epidemic: the wave of anti-Asian hate. I raised $200,000 for Welcome to Chinatown, a non-profit that manages the only small business relief program for Manhattan Chinatown. I even suspended TurboVax to raise awareness about anti-Asian violence, a decision that I deeply struggled with. In the end, I wanted to underscore that if we as a society did not listen to the concerns of Asian-Americans, we risked losing the contributions of Asian-Americans too.
I took action when the needs of my neighbors weren’t being addressed.
I’m taking action now because we need a representative who will address our needs in District 37. I am running for the Queensbridge tenant who lives with lead paint, for the Sunnyside resident facing a rent hike and for the frustrated Ridgewood commuter waiting for their bus to arrive.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I will take on the challenges of today with creativity and urgency. Let’s work together and build a New York that works for all of us.