The Root 100 - The Most Influential African Americans in 2020 - 39: Ritchie Torres

Oleg Dyachenko
·1 min read

A Bronx native who grew up in what he describes as slum conditions in New York City's public housing, Ritchie Torres made a name for himself at age 25 as the youngest person to be elected to public office in NYC and who has worked tirelessly on behalf of marginalized people in the city. Since then, the outspoken Afro-Latino politician has gotten closer to his goal of elevating the needs of South Bronx residents by working to ensure that they have a visible and vocal advocate in Washington, D.C. He secured a win in the Democratic primary earlier this year for New York's 15th Congressional District-which happens to be one of the nation's poorest-and is now on track to be part of the new guard of young leaders in Congress fighting for working-class communities like the ones they hail from. If Torres wins in November, he will also break another barrier by becoming one of the first openly gay Black members of Congress.