FORM INSTRUCTIONS - Please read carefully and follow the simple instructions!

NOTE: You will complete this Form 2 times in order to complete your contribution to the New York State Black Acceleration Network Letter Writing Campaign.

Click the link below in order to find out who your NYS Senator is. webiste will open on a separate tab. Click the tab which should open to the right of this tab and fill in form on the page to identity who your NYS State Senator is.

Return to this tab in order to complete the form below and click the button at the bottom of the page to send the letter to your State Senator.

Once the NYS Senator letter is sent you will be re-directed to the NYS Assembly Person letter to complete the same process for your NYS Assembly Person. For the second letter you will be directed to the site which will also open in a new tab.

The Letter Reads ...

Dear New York State Senator,

As we approach this consequential time of passing a budget designed to alleviate the economic and social pains of COVID-19 – one of the greatest public health crises of our time – please know that we, a group of faith leaders who represent congregations across New York State, have you in our thoughts and our prayers as you lead us through these unprecedented times.

In the absence of federal funding and direction we commend the leadership that Governor Andrew Cuomo has shown – but the levels of anxiety still remain great.

The level of anxiety, pressure, and sense of urgency to come up with a passable budget is by no means overlooked, but we write to urge you have the vision to consider not just the ramifications of today, but the far reaching consequences that today’s decision will have on our collective future.

1. HOUSES OF WORSHIP RELIEF: The wise, yet challenging, social distancing mandate will greatly impact the backbone of our Black communities—houses of worship. This is a necessary measure, but as businesses will be afforded relief to ensure their survival, we urge you to not forget the houses of worship that are facing similar challenges will absolutely be essential for state moral and even more so during the recovery stages across New York State.

2. BLACK WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT FUNDING: The economic outlook for the disadvantaged members of our communities is of great concern. The US Treasury Department has suggested a possible 20% unemployment rate as the consequence of COVID-19. History has taught us that the Black unemployment rate is consistently double the national unemployment rate and could reach 40% or greater. We need to advance the Black Acceleration agenda to ensure that the skill training is available post COVID-19 for the men and women who will not recover from the loss of jobs and careers.

3. YES TO DATA DISCLOSURE BILL S6456 and A8285 AND NO TO EXPANDING THE PUBLIC WORKS DEFINITION: The current budget includes an expansion of prevailing wage, which IS deeply problematic and unwise in these unstable economic times. We are concerned that there is no data demonstrating that among the higher skilled construction unions, Black people are participating and advancing to journeymen and journeywomen positions at equitable levels. To further extend prevailing wage disproportionately hurts Black workers and will frustrate our Black Acceleration Skills agenda and further frustrate the recovery for Black communities. We urge you to not expand prevailing wage and include the Date Disclosure Bill for demographic and hiring data for existing state funded construction projects. This will help ensure Black communities will participate in post COVID-19 recovery.

There’s no denying that the budget will impact every aspect of the state’s economy and daily lives, and with that in mind, we question the need to include a mandate that would drive up construction costs and lead to fewer projects and jobs in New York State.

It’s rather regressive to include policies that would hinder job prospects for thousands of construction workers and exclude workforce development spending in New York State during this economic downturn. Not only will it affect the lives of Black construction workers, Black businesses, but also the families they care for and communities they live in.

Your Constituent,