On May 12: Why We March

We march because we care. Human services are part of the fabric of New York City. They give a homebound senior a hot meal, give a victim of domestic violence a new start, help children graduate, and offer shelter to a family in need. Nonprofit human service providers are also an economic engine in NYC, providing local jobs, buying goods and services, and training the next generation of workers. The programs we run help millions of New Yorkers get on their feet, find a better future, or just make it through the day.  But, we have said all this before.

In the end, the federal, State, and City government have made the decision to cut human services, along with education, jobs, and infrastructure in the name of balancing the budget. We have heard from all our elected officials that there is no other way; no money, no new taxes, only a big deficit to be filled on the backs of those in need. There is another way.

While human services are being cut, President Obama agreed to extend Bush era tax breaks for the wealthy, and Governor Cuomo refused to continue the personal income surcharge on top earners, resulting in a loss of $5 billion in revenue next year – more than enough to make up the over $300 million in cuts to human services. Mayor Bloomberg released his budget earlier today,  with drastic cuts to human services as well as schools, firehouses, and hospitals. The City has over $600 million in contracts with six big banks, but none of those contracts are being reduced. On top of that, there are the number of subsidies and tax loopholes, totaling over $1.5 billion dollars, that the banking industry receives in New York City.

Executive Director of HSC, Michael Stoller, said at a press conference for On May 12 this past Wednesday that “Mayor Bloomberg has already proposed to cut $500 million in human services funding for next year and has given every indication that he has no choice but further cuts to services for the poor and middle class in NYC. Well there is a choice; the banking industry and the wealthy can pay their fair share too by giving back $1.5 billion in subsidies, sweetheart deals and tax loopholes. Nonprofits and the clients they serve have paid more than their share for long enough.”

We will be working together in the coming weeks to demand that Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council, and all of our elected officials require accountability and real contributions from big banks and rich taxpayers to prevent the worst of the cuts proposed in Mayor Bloomberg’s executive budget, and to not sit idly while the six largest banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley – are now making over $199 million PER day in profits (to read our full report on the greed of the Big Banks and the devastating impact Bloomberg’s cuts will have, click here).

May 12 will not be just a march, a rally, or a “flash mob”, but thousands of New Yorkers taking to the streets of Downtown Manhattan to create the country’s largest teach-in:  educating the City about the depths of Wall Street greed and the breadth of devastation that Bloomberg’s cuts will create.  At 4PM – We will assemble at multiple sites around Wall Street, each with a specific theme –   Housing, Education, Jobs, Immigration, Human Services, Peace, and Transportation & Energy – and then set up teach-ins at targets that directly relate to each of these themes. Human Services will be assembling at South Street Seaport. After the teach-ins, all the groups will unite in a solidarity march, and create the largest teach-in this City’s ever seen.  This isn’t just about sending a message to Wall Street – this is about reaching out to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to educate them on why we can no longer stand for the tearing of the safety net.

Nor is this just about New York.  Over the coming weeks, citizens throughout the country, from California to Ohio to North Carolina, will be delivering the same message.  We the people have sacrificed enough.

The question is:  Where will YOU be On May 12?

(Can’t be in NY on May 12?  Be a part of the virtual campaign on facebook:  facebook.com/onmay12 and on twitter: @onmay12)


About Human Services Council

The Human Services Council strengthens New York's nonprofit human services sector, ensuring all New Yorkers across diverse neighborhoods, cultures, and generations reach their full potential.
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