Thousands join ‘Save Our City’ rally to protest budget cuts

UFT President Michael Mulgrew emceed the rally that drew thousands.

UFTers were out in force on June 16, joining thousands of parents, community members and fellow city workers at City Hall to fight for the critical services that New Yorkers depend on.

With state lawmakers threatening to cut as much as $500 million in city school aid, Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget for next year slashes more than $1 billion. The city would lose firehouses and senior centers, while libraries would have their hours and days chopped. After-school programs and tutoring for students would be lost, while class sizes would soar.

“If we don’t make education a priority, we are lost,” said Alice O’Neil, chapter leader of Food and Finance HS, who came to stand up for her school and her students.

“If you stretch the rubber band too far, it will break,” said Isabel Abreu, a GED teacher in Manhattan, who added that “a lot of services we take for granted will be gone” if we don’t stop these cuts.

“Who’s going to save this city?” asked UFT President Michael Mulgrew, leading a chant from the stage as he emceed the event. “We are!” came the response from the crowd. “Are we going to fight? Are we going to push back? Are we going to win?” he asked rhetorically. Loud cries of “Yes!” came thundering back from the spirited crowd that stretched all the way from City Hall Park down past Federal Plaza.

Mulgrew introduced labor leaders and politicians who all promised to stand together and prevent the devastation these cuts would create.

When 9/11 happened, “New York police officers ran toward the Trade Towers, firefighters went into the building and sanitation workers backed us up with equipment,” Pat Lynch, president of the New York City police union, told the crowd. “New York needs every one of you. They say they don’t need us, I say they’re wrong.

“We have fewer police officers today then we did on Sept. 10, 2001 — and that’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

Perhaps the show-stopper of the event came last, as 9-year old Kassandra Rivera of PS 234 in Queens came up to the stage to speak just before 6 p.m. “The mayor has all this money to make stadiums, but he doesn’t have money for schools,” she said. “That’s not fair. The children are the future!”

Nine-year old Kassandra Rivera of PS 234 in Queens said, “The mayor has all this money to make stadiums, but he doesn’t have money for schools. That’s not fair.”

Posted via web from Street_Visuals


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