To Maintain English Classes & More
City Council Members Daniel Dromm, Ruben Wills and Eric Ulrich were joined by community leaders and other advocates at a press conference last Tuesday, May 29, in Richmond Hill to urge the city to protect the Immigrant Opportunities Initiative (IOI) and adult literacy funding which provides essential services to immigrant New Yorkers.
“The people that have the least are the ones affected the most in difficult economic times and they are always the last ones to recover,” said Dromm, who chairs the NYC Council’s
Committee on Immigration. “Our immigrant communities simply cannot afford these cuts proposed by Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg. We need to ensure that they are given the opportunities and the resources necessary to become fully integrated in our society and to pursue the American dream. IOI and adult literacy funding have to be top priorities and current levels of funding must be preserved.”
“New York City is home to a large, vibrant and growing immigrant community that depends on the support services made possible through the Immigrant Opportunity Initiative,” said Wills. “It is imperative that we continue this initiative and maintain accessibility to ESL services, cultural support and much needed legal advocacy.”
The rally was held at the South Queens Boys & Girls Club in Richmond Hill. which serves a growing immigrant community in Queens.
“I am very pleased that the South Queens Boys & Girls has been selected as the site for this rally,” said Carol Simon, executive director of the South Queens Boys & Girls Club. “The immigration funding that we receive from City Council is instrumental in allowing us to serve the new immigrants who have settled in our community. The people who we are providing free legal assistance to are the least able to afford to pay private attorneys for this kind of work. I am very grateful to Councilman Dromm and the entire Queens delegation for their support on this invaluable funding.”
“When immigrants learn the English language, they become more active members of their communities,” said KC Williams, director of adult education at Queens Community House. “They become more involved in their children’s education. They get better jobs, and contribute more to the tax base. ESOL classes are a short term investment in the quality of life of our city.”
Queens Community House is a multi-service settlement house that serves nearly 25,000 children, youth, adults and older adults at 22 different sites in 11 neighborhoods throughout Queens.