Queens Immigrants Rally for Adult Literacy at City Hall
New York, NY (June 6, 2018) - On June 6, Magdalena Navarette and hundreds of other Adult Literacy advocates stormed City Hall to urge Mayor DeBlasio to restore 12 million dollars for Adult Literacy Education.
Navarette, originally from Mexico, started taking English classes at Queens Community House (QCH) in September of 2017.
“My daughter has special needs," she said, "and when she was younger, I would take her to three or four appointments per week. I couldn’t communicate with her doctors, so I would wait for a translator or my husband to go with me. It was very frustrating."
After just nine months in the class, her English has improved. “It’s such a relief to be able to understand my children’s teachers and doctors. I can express myself now.”
In May, Navarrete was selected to share her story at the Department of Youth and Community Development’s Literacy Program Celebration of Student Achievement.
The Navarettes immigrated to New York City in 2001; her husband is a 911 survivor who made it out of the North Tower just minutes before it collapsed. Magdalena spoke no English at the time and relied on her husband for translation. After raising three children she can now take the time to improve her English. “The classes are free and offered while my children are in school, so it’s very convenient for me and I am becoming much more confident.”
Navarrete, however, is among hundreds of students citywide who stand to lose this critical service if funding is not restored in this year's city budget. The prospect is disheartening enough to move her and her classmates to go to City Hall.
QCH Executive Director, Ben Thomases spoke at the event. "With well over one million immigrants in Queens, the demand for these services is overwhelming," he said to a crowd of hundreds. "QCH drew down a small part of the twelve million dollars allocated by the City Council last year, and we doubled the size of our English classes. And we still have hugewaiting lists. We added a new program site in Jackson Heights and overnight we had a huge waiting list there. This is a small drop in the bucket of what our city needs."
The rally was hosted by the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYCCAL).
About Queens Community House: Founded in 1975, Queens Community House, is a multi-site nonprofit organization that offers a wide network of comprehensive services to individuals, families, and communities throughout Queens. From 29 sites in 14 neighborhoods, QCH helps thousands of Queens residents to thrive in school, make healthy life choices, succeed in educating themselves, become engaged citizens, stabilize their housing situations, and make the most of their senior years. Learn more at www.qchnyc.org.
Communications Coordinator, Queens Community House
Office: (718) 592-5757 x 249
108-25 62nd Drive Queens, NY 11375