Progressives from around New York City rallied outside Governor Kathy Hochul’s Midtown office Tuesday calling for billions of dollars in new investment in state childcare programs.
Bronx/Westchester Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Ana Maria Archila was joined by parents, providers, healthcare professionals and lawmakers at the March 1 rally to demand that Hochul work to allocate $5 billion for childcare initiatives.
The group spoke and visually demonstrated the strain so many New York families have been facing in regards to maintaining jobs while also having to care for children – an issue worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Families across New York are struggling to make ends meet, and for too many, child care is out of reach,” said Archila during the rally. “Meanwhile, the women who do this work earn too little to support their own families. The Governor has failed to support a comprehensive solution to this problem, so today we remind her: we need to put people first and include universal child care in the budget.”
On Jan 28, Hochul announced that her administration would be allocating $70 million in federal funding to assist families struggling with finding reliable and affordable childcare. However, those in attendance believed that money would help too few families when the childcare crisis continues to impact so many New Yorkers.
The burden of finding childcare during the pandemic has forced many caregivers, especially women and women of color to leave their jobs in order to care for their children — only further impacting the income needed to maintain a household.
“As the mother of two young children, I know how difficult it is to find and afford childcare, said Carmen Perez-Jordan, President & CEO of The Gathering for Justice. “Too many women are forced out of the workforce, simply because childcare is too unaffordable or unreliable for them to hold down a job. Single mothers are especially penalized by our inequitable system. At the same time, educators are leaving the child care industry in droves because they barely make enough money to survive on, despite their skill and the importance of their jobs.”
Other lawmakers agreed, saying that an exponential increase in investments in NYS childcare will not only help families get back on their feet financially but will also help increase educational enrichment in children.
“Our children are our future and setting them up for success means taking care of those who take care of them,” said Bowman, a former teacher. “In our communities, we see the benefits of child care and we must act to support our children and their families and caretakers. Child care helps to manifest the untapped potential of our children, their families, our communities, and quite frankly our future. It all starts with children who are provided with the quality care and resources they need to thrive.”
Archila, herself a mother of two children and running mate of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in his bid to become New York’s next governor, emphasized the importance of free and equitable access to childcare.
“New York’s families and economy will be transformed by an investment of $5 billion to put us on the path to universal childcare,” said Archila. “This investment will allow working mothers to make choices that benefit their families and educators to earn what they truly deserve.”
Gov. Hochul’s office did not respond to requests for comments at time of publication.