Discriminatory policy will evict Houses of Worship from Public Schools on Feb. 12th, 2012
WHO: NYC Council Member Fernando Cabrera, City Religious Leaders, City Council Members, and Elected Officials
WHAT: Thousands attended mass march opposing Mayor Bloomberg's eviction of houses of worship from public schools
WHEN: Monday January 30, 2012
WHERE: New York, NY
NEW YORK — Council Member Fernando Cabrera, elected officials and city religious leaders lead a mass march across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday, Sunday, January 29th, 2012. Marchers urged Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education (DOE) to reverse the discriminatory policy that will evict Houses of Worship from public schools on February 12th.
The march began at Cadman Plaza, continued over the Brooklyn Bridge and ended in front of City Hall on Broadway. New York City Police Department Community Affairs personnel escorted the marchers throughout as marchers sang prayer songs and chanted motivational words.
“Communities turned out in mass to show their support,” said Council Member Cabrera “Black, White, Latino and Asian, young and old. Our momentum is growing.” He continued “Our constitution has an anti-establishment clause and we respect that, but it also has a free exercise clause. This policy restricts the right to free exercise by discriminating against religious groups. Our stance against this policy does not ask for special treatment, but for fair treatment.”
Marchers are also urged legislative action. The City Council should pass Resolution 1155 which calls upon the New York State legislature to pass and the Governor to sign legislation amending the New York State Education Law to afford houses of worship maximum access to school property. The State legislation includes NYS Assembly Bill A8800 and NYS Senate Bill S6087 that would amend NYS Education Law 414 to allow Houses of Worship to meet in schools regardless of the “worship” component of their activities.
After the Supreme Court declined to hear Bronx Household of Faith vs. New York City Department of Education on December 5th, 2011, the New York City Department of Education announced it would ban Houses of Worship wishing to rent vacant spaces from Public Schools during non-school hours.
Following the announcement, Council Member Fernando Cabrera and Religious Leaders have organized several protests. These include a Prayerful Protest on Thursday January 5th, where Council Member Fernando Cabrera, pastors and congregants were arrested for kneeling in front of the New York City Law Department in prayer during a display of civil disobedience, and a Prayer Rally during Mayor Bloomberg’s State of the City address on Thursday January 12th, where approximately 500 pastors and congregants gathered for prayer and song and over 40 were arrested while approaching the entrance of Morris High School in another display of civil disobedience. A press conference was also convened in front of the Tweed Court House on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, where 50 pastors, congregants and elected officials participated before marching to City Hall for the New York City Council Stated Meeting.
The January 29th March on the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest planned demonstration to date.
Speakers: Elected Officials
New York City Council, 14th District
Ruben Diaz Sr.
New York State Senate, 32nd District
New York State Assembly, 85th District
New York State Assembly, 57th District
New York City Council, 10th District
New York City Council, 7th District
New York City Council, 45th District
New York City Council, 35th District
Bill De Blasio
New York City Public Advocate
New York City Comptroller
Pastor Bill Devlin -
Manhattan Bible Church
Pastor Rick del Rio (affected pastor)
Abounding Grace Ministries
Pastor Gabriel Salguero
National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Pastor Seungho Yang
Korean Council of Churches
Pastor Inhyun Ryu (affected pastor)
New Frontier Church
Minister Kirsten Foy
Office of the NYC Public Advocate
Pastor Dimas Salaberrios
Infinity New York Church
Pastor Salvador Sabino (affected pastor)
Bishop Fernando Rodriguez
Latin/African American Chaplains Association
Bishop Lillian Robinson –Wiltshire
Cathedral of Christ Community Ministries
Rev. Dr. Sheryl Anthony
Judah International Christian Center