Progressive Pastors Rally in Brooklyn to Support Education Tax Credit

Call on State Assembly to pass bill before session ends next week

Brooklyn, NY (June 11, 2015) – Brooklyn religious leaders rallied in Crown Heights today to urge the state Assembly, particularly Assembly members from Brooklyn, to approve the Education Tax Credit before the legislative session ends next week and lawmakers go home for summer vacation.The rally, held at St. Mark’s Day School in Crown Heights, showed the State Assembly that the beneficiaries of the Education Tax Credit are poor and middle class families struggling to provide a better education for their children.

The Act is proposed by the Governor and has strong bipartisan support in the state Senate, but the Assembly has refused to approve it.


Reverend Alfred Cockfield II, Executive Director of Battalion Christian Academy, said: “Many of our local Assembly members assert that only the rich will benefit from this bill. That’s wrong. There are no millionaires on the waiting list for better schools – only children yearning for a chance to get an education. Our needs are so great, but our request is so small! We are asking for people who have so much that they want to give back, to help us help them by investing in the education of our children. Please call our Assembly member today and tell them you support education, and they need to support the education tax credit.”

Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Chairman of New Hope Academy Charter School, Senior Pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship, said: “If we were all the millionaires we are rumored to be, our children would get tax credits for their yachts or a private jet. Instead, we are forced to beg for basic educational opportunities for our children. We call on the New York State Assembly to pass the education tax credit and set a place at the table for their constituents who struggle every day to provide a quality education for their children. Not one more child should be trapped in the cycle of poverty that goes hand-in-hand with a lack of educational opportunity because the State Assembly refuses to act.”

Joy Jones, Principal of Ebenezer Preparatory School, said: “Our children have the same dreams as any other children. Now they need a chance to have a small part of the opportunity available to the other families of New York. Please allow our children to realize their full potential so that they can rise above the odds. We are all equal in the eyes of God, but the state Assembly needs to remember there is no equality on this Earth for our children without an opportunity for a quality education.”

Dr. Joan H. Grant-Boyd, Trustee of St. Mark’s Day School, said: “One of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, had this to say about the power of education and the mandate to ensure equity in access: ‘Let us in education dream of an aristocracy of achievement arising out of a democracy of opportunity.’ I implore our political leaders and representatives of both parties to extend this opportunity to our religious schools whose mission is to educate our students in all facets of their being — spiritual, moral, and intellectual.

Bishop Sylveta Hamilton Gonzalez, Principal of MACADEMY School of Science & Technology, CEO of QKingdom Ministries Inc., said: “We are gathered here today to say: Enough! Our children live in poverty and are trapped in a system that has failed our families, generation after generation. You can give tax breaks to the rich for yachts and private jets, but not scholarships for the poor and the needy? Dear Lord, please expand our elected officials understanding of the needs of our suffering children and their families. Please ask our Assembly Members to vote in the interest of our children. We pray that our children will not be disappointed again. The Education Tax Credit will give our children the opportunity to make their dreams real.”

Rabbi Zalman Schneuer, of the Menachem Education Foundation, said: “Education is integral to the Jewish faith and New York has long been a place to raise the next generation in that tradition. But the financial struggle is becoming a crisis in our communities. We ask our state lawmakers to remember the educational needs of all their constituents and pass the Education Tax Credit into law in the coming days.”

Religious leaders of Thursday’s rally were backed by a diverse coalition of more than 140 organizations throughout New York State in favor of the Education Tax Credit. To see the full list of supporters and to find more information about the bill, please visit

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