Campaign for Children to Mayor de Blasio: Combatting Racism Requires a Budget that Supports NYC Youth

The Campaign for Children has long fought to ensure that every child in every community has access to the early education, afterschool and summer programming needed to succeed in school and in life. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd have highlighted the obstacles families and communities of color face in their attempts just to live life, let alone thrive.

In recent days, the Mayor has spoken about dismantling the economic inequities and systemic racism that have long marginalized communities of color in the city. However, amidst our current health crisis and civil unrest the Mayor has continued to advance a budget that perpetuates systemic racism through cuts that defund critical services that support these communities.

The Mayor’s Executive Budget cuts $175 million dollars from summer youth programs, including the total elimination of summer services at COMPASS, SONYC, Beacons and Cornerstones, depriving nearly 100,000 school age children of summer programming and 75,000 teens of summer youth employment. Sadly, the children and families most impacted by these budget cuts are already disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in terms of positive cases and related deaths, in addition to increased housing instability, loss of income and heightened food insecurity. Youth programs not only keep kids engaged, but provide vital supports to children and their families, combatting learning loss, supporting social and emotional health, and helping families access food and economic supports, all during a time when they need it most.

Disrupting economic inequities, systemic racism and over policing of our youth requires more than promises for more police reform. The Campaign for Children calls on the Mayor to mark this pivotal moment in history by restoring funds for summer youth programs to give our youth, their families and communities of color the opportunity to thrive and dismantle the school to prison pipeline.

A budget is a record of priorities with moral consequences. The Mayor and the City Council must adopt an equitable and justice-focused budget that dismantles the pillars of systemic racism and fully restores youth programs, to support the educational, physical health, and social emotional well-being of children and families of color.

Download the press release here.

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