Issues & Political Concerns
Time for Change
Education & Youth
We all know that education is the great equalizer. In the greatest country in the world, the opportunity to learn is a right not a privilege. But, according to Dr. Pedro Noguera “too many children [in New York City] continue to languish in schools that lack the resources and capacity to meet their academic or social needs. Most of these children are located in the city’s poorest and most isolated neighborhoods.” (“Education Redlining in New York City, Schott Foundation Report, date). “The underfunding of schools in predominantly Black and Brown districts goes hand-in-hand with the criminalization and incarceration of our youth. New York state is engaging in a form of educational racism by denying our schools funding for guidance counselors, arts programs, librarians and social support services while allocating over $40 million for police officers in schools to arrest and incarcerate students. Fully funding our schools using the Foundation Aid Formula is necessary to address the inequity and discrimination that continues to impact our Black and Brown youth,” said Carmen Perez, CEO of The Gathering for Justice and Co-Founder of Justice League NYC. Our children deserve a quality education regardless of their socio-economic status. Also, educators deserve our support. They should have the resources necessary to educate our youth and operate in an environment where learning can take place. We are all stakeholders. Therefore, we must continue to work together and make our schools a safe, engaging, and learning-centered environment that prepares all of our children for the 21st century.
Our children are our greatest investment. They represent our present and our future. The greatest litmus test for the health of a community is the state of its children. We have to work together to ensure that all of our children have a quality education, services to meet their most basic needs, decent housing, a safe community to live and play, and the support they need to excel. So, we have to strengthen our partnerships by investing in our schools, volunteering in our community centers and establishing strong community programs that empower our children, so that they can thrive.
Our senior citizens deserve to live out their golden years with dignity and respect. According to a survey done by AARP, baby boomers are experiencing a great deal of anxiety related to the economy and fear that they will be unable to maintain a decent lifestyle when they retire. In order to alleviate those fears, we have to ensure that they have easy access to Medicare benefits. And, we have to support legislation that protects social security. We also have to establish and maintain programs that meet the needs of our senior residents.
Our city struggles to provide affordable housing for our low-income residents. According to the New York State Agency for Homes and Community renewal “The need for safe, decent and affordable housing remains a challenge for the State of New York. New York City's shortage of affordable housing has reached a crisis point. The crisis has many causes, starting with the erosion of New Yorkers' purchasing power in the housing marketplace. Wages for the City's renters have stagnated over the last 20 years, increasing by less than 15 percent, after adjusting for inflation. During the same period, the average monthly rent for an apartment in New York City increased by almost 40 percent. As a result, most New Yorkers now have limited options for housing and have to spend an unacceptably high share of their income just to put a roof over their heads, which means having too little left over for other basic needs. High rent-burden affects nearly every income group in every neighborhood across the five boroughs. (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/housing/problem/problem.page) We have to preserve the current stock of affordable housing and come up with creative ways to create more units of affordable housing so that all of our families have the opportunity to secure safe, decent, and affordable housing. We also need to look at affordable home ownership and make sure constituents are aware of the programs they qualify for and receive counseling and access to resources that will put them on a path toward ownership.
Access to quality health care is a basic human right, far too many New Yorkers are uninsured, and lack access to health care. Our hospitals have been ravaged entire departments shut down, hospitals shut down and sold to real estate developers. We must do a better job of providing access to preventive care and ensure our health care centers and health care workers are adequately resourced.