by Summer Brennan
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall to protest the proposed closing of 16 Child Care Centers in New York City, District 27 Councilman Leroy Comrie urged Mayor Bloomberg not to make the cuts.
“This administration is doing what it can to eliminate safe child care by focusing on homecare providers in unsafe homes,” Mr. Comrie said. “Whereas these centers offer safe environments and well-trained staff that have been properly vetted.”
Executive Director of CD 1707 Raglan George called the move to close the centers “nothing but union busting”.
“This move is geared to destroy unions, but workers will continue to fight,” he said.
District 18 Council Member Annabel Palma urged that the city could not afford to lose even one more day care slot.
“Some communities have changed,” she said, “but the needs of the children in those communities have not changed. When making budget cuts, we need to make sure we are not doing them on the backs of working families.”
Other speakers stressed the benefits of the centers themselves, which were “not simply babysitting facilities” as one parent said, but hubs for quality early childhood education.
District 10 Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said that many black and Latino children were not exposed to the recommended one million words before they turn five-years-old, thus setting them up for a disadvantage in their development and later education.
“For many young children, their only source of learning is in day care,” he said.
Speaking of the modest protest and much larger Brooklyn Bridge march planned for Wednesday, April 21st, President of Local 205 Mabel Everett said, “We may be small in numbers today, but we will be large in numbers coming across that bridge.”
Thousands are set to march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday, April 21st to protest the Child Care Center closings and subsequent displacement of 2000 children. The march will start at 8:45 a.m. at Cadman Plaza and end with a demonstration in City Hall Park at 11:00 a.m.