Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz joined City Council candidate Shekar Krishnan, union representatives and members of the New York State Nurses Association at Elmhurst Hospital to protest Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $600 million budget cuts to public hospitals.
“Our community suffered so much during the pandemic. Our essential and frontline workers were put in harm’s way every day. Elmhurst Hospital was overrun and undersupplied, and our communities lost so many loved ones,” Cruz said. “For the executive branch to now propose cutting more than $20 million from Elmhurst Hospital’s budget is both dangerous and cruel. These cuts have been rejected by the Assembly as they will be fatal to our healthcare workers and they will be fatal to the many patients in their care. Our hospitals need more funding, not less.”
Krishnan, a community activist and civil rights lawyer specializing in fighting housing discrimination and preventing community displacement, co-founded Communities Resist, a legal services organization that addresses housing and racial justice in Queens and Brooklyn.
“It is unbelievable and irresponsible that in the midst of a global pandemic there are proposals to cut funding for our public hospitals. Elmhurst Hospital serves nearly a million residents and was the epicenter of the epicenter of the pandemic,” Krishnan said. “We cannot stand by and let our community be deprioritized and disinvested in again and again. We demand full funding for our public hospitals, expansion of the new York Cares Act, and greater support for community-based healthcare services.”
Nefritte Larkin spoke on behalf of the New York State Nursing Association which represents more than 9,000 workers in the city’s public hospital system.
“We are the frontline workers. We were here every single day and we’re still here,” Larkin said. “For Governor Cuomo to even suggest that there will be budget cuts to our safety net hospitals is a gross insult not just to the communities of color but also to the workers.”