BY JOE MARVILLI
Hundreds of protestors headed to Albany on Tuesday to rally for education equality, including many from the Queens branch of New York Communities for Change.
The “No More Excuses” rally was planned by the Alliance for Quality Education, a coalition that NYCC is a part of. The purpose of the trek was to fight for resources for public school children, especially those in underserved communities.
The various groups of students, teachers, parents and education advocates headed to Albany to demand that Gov. Andrew Cuomo add $1.9 billion to his budget in new school aid, which would reduce the opportunity gap between wealthy and poor school districts in the State. The rally was also a call for the State government to support Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pre-K proposal, which would increase the City’s income tax on the wealthy to support expanded early education programs.
According to Ondrea Harris, more than 1,500 parents and students from throughout the State took part in the rally. Harris is a mother of three and a grandmother of four children who are attending public school in Queens. She lives in Baisley Park Houses in Jamaica and is the head of the NYCC Youth Division.
“NYCC youth division joins parent leaders from NYCC and other groups in the Alliance for quality education on this trip in support of students,” she said. “The rally was about securing additional funding for our schools instead of giving tax breaks to banks and corporations.”
While they were in the State capital, the parents and students met with various elected officials to make their case for increased education funding. Among the people they spoke to was State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Jamaica), who invited them up to his Albany office.
“No school supplies, no books, no resources. New York Community for Change plans to get our children and parents together to continue the fight,” Harris said.
Harris added that meeting with Sanders, who represents her community, was the highlight of the trip.
“The best part was the Senator hearing it from the youth’s mouths,” she said.
The alliance and NYCC is planning to return to Albany on March 12 for another rally on education.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.