Numerous Lower East Side Elected Officials Speak at Rally
May 4, 2012 - By Henry Street Settlement
A raucous crowd of students and parents filled the P.S. 134/P.S. 137 auditorium Thursday night, hours after the Mayor's executive budget revealed no restoration of funds to the after-school programs slated for closure by the City.
Among the speakers were children and their parents, school officials and nearly every Lower East Side elected official: State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, City Council Members Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh. State Senator Daniel Squadron was en route but was delayed.
David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street, and Michael Zisser, Chief Executive Officer of University Settlement, emceed the meeting, which featured cheers, chants and homemade signs — all highlighting the importance of after-school programs to neighborhood working families.
Ten-year-old Alexandria, a participant in a Henry Street after-school program, told the audience how after-school helps students use and understand the knowledge they learn in school. She also said, "I am frightened about what will happen to me if my after-school program ends. My mother and father work and cannot pick me up. I will go home alone, and I'm afraid of some of the people in my neighborhood.
"I want a bright future. Don't take it away."