The New York City Council passes laws and approves the city budget. But as important as their role is, few people know how the City Council actually works. How does it make decisions? And how can you interact with it?

In this latest Urban InvestigationCUP and teaching artist Dillon de Give tackled these questions with a group of public high school students from International Community High School in Mott Haven. To find out how the City Council works, the students interviewed City Council staff and members—including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—as well as staff from city agencies. They created a short video that gets into the nitty gritty of how decisions about your neighborhood are actually made. This is a second in a CUP video series on local government. Be sure to check out the first in the series on Community Boards.

Who Rules? debuted at Anthology Film Archives, where students presented the video and discussed their creative process.

Check out the video below!

What People Are Saying

I’m new in the country, and I didn’t know anything about how this country works. If it wasn’t for CUP, I maybe wouldn’t have known anything about how it works. — Shaffiou Assoumanou, student, Who Rules?

Resources & Links

International Community High School is a progressive public high school in the South Bronx for English Language Learners.

New York City Council is the law-making body of New York City. 

Funding Support

Major support for this program is provided by Deutsche Bank. Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Faiza Ali, Lila Barrett, Annie Decker, Marie-Fatima Hyacinthe, Sadar Omar, Mireille Pilloud, Ian Reilly, Jesse Solomon, Lee Wellington; and to our interviewees: Nisha Agarwal, Annie Decker and Faizah Malik, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Thomas McMahon, Carlos Menchaca


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Dillon de Give
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Project Support
  • Jenn Williams
  • Oscar Nuñez 
  • Christine Gaspar
  • International Community High School 
  • Students
  • Rafi Ahmed
  • Shaffiou Assoumanou
  • Abdel Baba
  • John Bole Kalisa
  • Kulsuma Dulon
  • Katherine Garcia
  • Mohamed Gueye
  • Cheikh Kebe
  • Francisco Martinez
  • Aichatou Meite
  • Project Support
  • Mousumi Akhter
  • Yadira Echevarria
  • Berena Cabarcas
  • John E. Sims

Nick Cregor

Original Music