While the scale of these cuts is unlike anything we have seen before, the community rallies and marches to protest the Mayor's budget are also taking place on a scale we haven't seen before. It is an uplifting and inspiring response, and reminds me of the strength of the settlement house leaders, staff, and participants. The events that have taken place since the launch of the Campaign for Children in March have been well attended by elected officials, program staff, and parents. But most strikingly, there has been an outpouring of participation by children and youth.
These events culminated Wednesday in what has been the most coordinated City-wide activity to date: over 50 program cites in the UNH network across the City participated in "Lights Off After-School". During their regular after-school hours, children marched to demonstrated their personal feelings about the cuts. These fearless youth and child advocates held handmade signs and chanted. Throughout the Campaign, they have also shared their talents with performances, and their stories with personal testimony.
See photos and read about kids in action from UNH members CAMBA, Henry Street Settlement, and New Settlement Apartments. In the end, it is the next generation that will save this one.
Credits: Photos 1 & 2: Kate Shaffer