March for NYC Churches Scheduled for Sunday

This Sunday at 3.30 p.m. the battle for churches to meet in NYC public schools moves to the Brooklyn Bridge. From the office of Fernando Cabrera, NYC city councilman:

Council Member Fernando Cabrera, city religious leaders of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds, and elected officials are organizing a mass march across the Brooklyn Bridge to take place Sunday, January 29th, 2012. Marchers will urge Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education to reverse the discriminatory policy that will evict Houses of Worship from public schools on February 12th.

“We stand firm on our position,” said Council Member Cabrera “Equal access for Houses of Worship makes New York City communities better. Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education need to see just how many people are on this side of the debate.” He continued, “We will be meeting at Cadman Plaza Park and then marching across the Brooklyn Bridge, ending in City Hall Park for a mass prayer vigil and remarks by religious and political leaders.”

Marchers are also urging 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 S6047 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 will be the largest planned demonstration to date, as the movement gains national and international attention.

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