Kyle Langan and Cynthia Torres are running for City Council to represent the 132nd District of Bridgeport.
Cynthia Torres is a Bridgeport native. Her maternal family immigrated from El Salvador to the United States when her mother was a teenager. Spending many summers in El Salvador and hearing her families’ story taught her the value of hard work and perseverance. Her family narrative sparked a passion for advocacy for the immigrant community.
Cynthia attended Bullard Havens Vo-technical high school where she was involved in multiple student organizations while maintaining high marks in her academics. Cynthia, along with a few of her peers, was encouraged to apply to the University of Connecticut when a recruiter was at her school. Although attending college was something Cynthia’s family always encouraged her to do, there hadn’t been much set to make it happen. It wasn’t until she got her early acceptance letter to UCONN-Storrs that she realized how much it meant to her and her family to be attending a four-year university.
Cynthia’s time at the University of Connecticut was well spent between social and academic activities. She joined a Latin sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha, who was known to be an academic sorority with heavy involvement in community service. Cynthia also founded an immigration advocacy group, Student Without Borders where they co-collaborated on a conference with CT 4 a Dream and hosted multiple events to combat miseducation regarding immigration in the United States. Cynthia’s time at UCONN taught her a lot. Most importantly, it made her recognize the value of her community and the importance of giving back. Cynthia graduated from UCONN in 2014, making her the first in her family to graduate from a four-year institution.
Cynthia started her teaching career at James J. Curiale school where she taught for four years. She spent her time in the classroom building meaningful relationships, advocating for student needs, and writing to authors to convince them to send her students’ signed copies of their favorite book. While teaching, she piloted a mentoring program between Bassick High School students and her fifth graders that she names the highlight of her time in the classroom. Additionally, for the last two summers Cynthia has spent working with Horizons Green Farms Academy, a summer program built to help Bridgeport students develop strong academic, social and emotional skills.
Cynthia says her time in the classroom will probably be the most meaningful work she will ever do, but it also made her recognize the systemic shortcomings of the public school education that existed even when she was a student. She knew that she wanted to do more for her community. She started looking at ways that she could have an impact beyond the classroom. Cynthia decided to apply for her Master of Social Work at Columbia University and just graduated last May. She hopes that she will be able to work with education policy, to lead the community-based change she feels has been missing from educational spaces.
Kyle Langan is a son of Bridgeport, CT. He is proud to be born and raised in Bridgeport and is often seen around town sporting Bridgeport gear. After excelling at High Horizons Magnet, Kyle accepted a scholarship to Fairfield Prep. This transition from the diverse environment of Bridgeport public schools to the homogeneous environment of Prep was a shock to his system and his first glimpse into the benefits of diversity and the reality of social inequity. While at Prep he earned high marks and maintained his connection to the Bridgeport community, volunteering at the Burroughs community center, senior living homes and playing for Bridgeport Legion baseball. He accepted the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. full scholarship for achievement and service to Boston University where he received his BA in English.
While at university, Kyle also founded a music event production, marketing and artist management company, The Brain Trust LLC, which still exists to this day. Kyle cherished the experience but decided the music industry wasn’t for him, desiring something that would allow him to give back to the community in a meaningful way. He worked for a time at a nonprofit in Newark, NJ and then became a teacher in Newark Public Schools. He taught high school special needs English for three years at East Side High School, achieving the status of ‘Highly Effective’ and being honored with the “Above and Beyond” Award. During this time he also earned his MA in Education Leadership Management and Policy from Seton Hall University.
As much as Newark reminded him of his home city, Kyle knew that he needed to come home which he did in June of 2016, accepting a teaching position at Achievement First Bridgeport Academy, a public state charter, as the 8th grade literature teacher. Almost immediately Kyle began to engage with the community seeking to advocate for his students and his city. Through this work he has made quick friends with many community based organizations and has been successful in channeling the young people with whom he works to positive activities outside of school. To continue to advocate for his students he became a regular at Board of Education, City Council and committee meetings. In attendance at these meetings he noticed the same small group of citizens and was discouraged by the difficulty in accessing information. So in 2017 he ran for City Council and won a seat.
For the past year and a half he has represented the people of the 132nd district and the city of Bridgeport. He has worked hard to be transparent, collaborative, and in constant dialogue with those he represents. He has written minimum wage increase policy and animal protection policy, while being a part of changing the WPCA foreclosure process in favor of citizens. Kyle streams every City Council meeting and maintains active e-mail lists and social media presence with the intention of spreading information as best as possible. To continue the dialogue with citizens, Kyle has hosted many community events including forums on minimum wage, housing, renters rights, a Coffee with a Cop.
Kyle is currently an English teacher at The Bridge Academy Middle School, a public state charter on the East Side of the city. He is humbled by the honor of serving the city he loves for the past year and a half and promises to continue to push for more sensible policy, more transparency, and increased dialogue with neighbors.