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United Federation of Teachers, the Alliance for Quality Education and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Draw Over 100,000 to City Hall to Protest Mayor Bloomberg's Proposed Budget Cuts On Education and to Secure a Teachers Contract.

Entertainment Editors

NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--June 4, 2002

Hip-Hop Summit Action Network

-- Russell Simmons, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, LL

Cool J, Erykah Badu, Doug E. Fresh, Reverend Run, Foxy Brown,

RZA, Raekwon, Rah Digga, Fab 5 Freddy, Baby Cham, Dead Prez,

Common, Damon Dash, Sway, Tigger, Styles P. and Noreaga All

Participated

In the largest public demonstration since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, over 100,000 parents, teachers, students, hip-hop artists and activists sent a clear message to the Mayor that they will not quietly accept his proposed budget cuts on education and his failure to negotiate a teacher's contract.

Those cuts will total about $1 billion, and Mayor Bloomberg will announce his proposed budget on June 5. The United Federation of Teachers, The Alliance for Quality Education and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network mobilized in front of City Hall and led a comprehensive program meant to educate and inspire young people about the issue.

Here's what the organizers had to say:

"I want to thank Cynthia Nixon for her leadership and dedication to this issue," said Russell Simmons, hip-hop mogul and Chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. "I think many of us have been asleep for too long and I feel this march was a wake up for some. This is the beginning of a long sustained effort on the part of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network for prioritizing education in our cities."

United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said, "Our kids deserve a well-qualified teacher in every classroom. New York City teachers have gone nearly 18 months without a contract and 2 years without a raise. Many of our best teachers are leaving just as our schools are facing serious budget cuts. New Yorkers need to come together to support our teachers and our schools so that all our kids receive the sound, basic education they need to succeed."

Added Minister Benjamin Muhammad, President of the HSAN, "The positive energy the hip-hop community has brought to the issue of opposing the budget cuts and getting the teachers a contract is phenomenal. It is important to understand that this is more than a one day protest. We will keep this coalition together and we will work hard to make the city and our world a better place."

"Today was a really exciting day," said Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon. "Public school kids, who have been feeling so much anxiety and anger about the de-funding of their schools, were given the opportunity to come together and express themselves. That, together with the tens of thousands of teachers in attendance, made this a monumental event. It was exciting to see teachers and students together in the crowd, and Alicia Keys and Jay-Z standing next to UFT President Randi Weingarten on the podium, all echoing the same sentiment that the Mayor must put kids and schools first."

Here's what the artists had to say:

Grammy winner Alicia Keys said onstage, "It is important that we're here for each other and make support for public education our priority" Keys relates to the issue on a personal level, as her younger brother's school has already discontinued some programs due to budget cuts.

LL Cool J said, "We're here about our future, your future, the city's future. Just like you need money to run a business, you need money to run schools. You need to care enough to pay the teachers so the teachers care enough to teach the students. When we're old, we want our youth to be educated enough to run this country."

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs said, "We've united with the teachers; we need our books, we need our teachers, we need our education and we're not going to settle for less."

RZA from the Wu Tang Clan said, "Mayor Bloomberg can say no one cares, but 100,000 people showed up today." RZA has been providing computers to schools in urban communities so they can be on par with the technology other schools have and be competitive in the world.
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Date:Jun 4, 2002
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