Released at: March 15, 2020
Contact: Anthony Beckford989-964-8713
Statement from Black Lives Matter President and City Council Candidate, Anthony Beckford, regarding the continued call for school closures and health safety of students and workers.
"For over two weeks, myself, other advocates, Teachers and Parents have been calling on Mayor De'Blasio, Chancellor Carranza and the Department of Education to close all schools in New York City. This call was done to help curve the increase in the infection rate of COVID-19 or Coronavirus. The Mayor, Chancellor and DOE have failed to implement the proposals that were communicated to them, by myself and Councilman Mark Treyger. We called for the implementation of the Summer Meal Program layout as well as my demand for emergency paid leave for all Teachers, School Staff and School Crossing Guards. The paid leave would jot count against any sick days and future paid leave requests. The closure of the schools would not be penalized by the taken away from summer break or any other school calendar break. This will allow the children who depend on school meals to be serviced as well as help when it comes to necessary childcare. I am proud to be joined by UFT and CSA in demanding for the school closures to prioritize the health and safety of students, teachers, staff and their families.
Along with school closures, we must make sure that those who work in the Gig / Entertainment field are able to receive adequate unemployment benefits and necessary social services. In regards to our nurses who are on the front lines, I join with National Nurses United and other Health Professional Unions in calling for more staffing, adequate health and protocol protections and the necessary equipment to be able to do their jobs effectively and safely. As our TWU Local 100 members are on the front lines with transportation and the cleaning of the trains and buses, they too, must be protected and kept safe. I will continue to stand with them to push for safer work conditions and better health coverage. I cannot forget our EMS workers, who are out there day in and day out. We must provide them with adequate wages and adequate protections as well.
I am also calling on City, State and Federal Legislators to implement a moratorium on evictions, mortgage payments, school loan payments and utility shut offs.
We must be vigilant in our handling of this pandemic and take it very seriously. The best way to minimize panic and fear, is to be proactive in taking the steps to ensure safety and control. We must learn from Italy and other countries and what to do and not to do. Myself and others will continue our work on the ground to check on those who are elderly and are immunocompromised, while doing our part in helping to put a stop to the spread of the Coronavirus. While some of our Elected Officials remain silent, we continue to answer to call of the people. Updates and Communications for the community regarding the Coronavirus and Next steps will be provided at https://anthonybeckford.nationbuilder.com/coronavirus_updates" - Anthony Beckford
*Anthony Beckford is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Community Leader and President of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn.
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