The LINC Advocacy Team roamed the hallways of the New York State Capitol building on January 29th and 30th. We met with a number of Assemblymembers and Senators who represent LINC neighborhoods to share a message about the importance of early literacy programming and the effectiveness of LINC’s work.
Our state elected officials are key. Education advocates championing many issues and views are active at the capital this season. The Albany legislature holds sway over many education decisions for New York City that are made locally throughout the rest of the state - including even its governance structure (Mayoral Control vs an elected school board). LINC stays focused on a non-partisan, evidence-based platform - start early with the experiences that open a child's senses and empower parents to support their children on their journey to reading proficiency.
It was a busy couple of days. LINC dropped in for scheduled meetings with the offices of Assemblymembers George Alvarez, Michael Benedetto, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Edward Gibbs, Yudelka Tapia, and Al Taylor. We visited with the offices of several Senators as well: Shelley Mayer, Roxanne Persaud, Gustavo Rivera, and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton. And there were hallway conversations with Senators LeRoy Comrie, John Liu and Assemblymembers Chantal Jackson, Karines Reyes, Manny De Los Santos, and John Zaccaro. We didn’t get pictures with everyone but are happy to share these.
From left to right: LINC's Community Engagement Specialist, Arisbel Villa, Director of Community Mobilization, Corey Saxton, and Senior Director of Family & Community Mobilization, Albania Jimenez with Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia.
LINC's Senior Director of Family & Community Mobilization, Albania Jimenez with Senator Mayer.
LINC's Senior Director of Family & Community Mobilization, Albania Jimenez with Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton.
From left to right: LINC's Community Engagement Specialist, Arisbel Villa, Director of Community Mobilization, Corey Saxton, Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia, Assemblymember Al Taylor, and LINC's Senior Director of Family & Community Mobilization, Albania Jimenez.
There is no substitute for one one-on-one conversation but to share our vision we followed up with written testimony at the February 1st combined legislative budget hearing on elementary and secondary education. And our message there was pointed: we must reframe our notion of education to recognize that reading begins long before a child walks through a school door.
“....children begin learning to read at birth, long before they enter a classroom. Their capacity to do so extends even further back, shaped by maternal and prenatal health. It is widely recognized that the building blocks for literacy are part of a recipe for well-being that includes nutrition, shelter, emotional stability, medical care, and less quantifiable ingredients such as a secure sense of belonging for both children and the adults involved in raising them. We are long overdue in acknowledging this and aligning our public resources to the realities behind reading success.
Until all children have universal access to the positive pre-reading experiences that are the foundation of literacy, achieving grade level proficiency will remain an inequitable struggle and unattainable challenge.” Read the full transcript here.
We were in good company in trumpeting our message about the importance of early childhood education and delighted to see several long time partner organizations represented on the steps of an Ed Trust coalition advocacy event. Andre Eaton, of ParentChild+ has worked with LINC as part of two collaborative initiatives City’s First Readers and NYC Reads for a decade.
From left to right: The Interim Executive Director for The Education Trust - New York, Jeff Smink, New York State Director of ParentChild+, Andre Eaton, and LINC's Director of Community Mobilization, Corey Saxton.
Also present were Elisabeth Renikoff and Primo Lasana from Reading Partners, part of the NYC Reads collaboration.
LINC values the strength that comes from partnership - from working with other organizations and individuals who agree that all children deserve the opportunity to become readers. We hope you will join us.
To learn more about partnering with LINC, please contact LINC's Director of Community Mobilization, Corey Saxton at firstname.lastname@example.org.