The parents of New York City have made their voices heard, and the leadership listened.
After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on November 18, 2020, that New York schools would close the next day in a response to rising Covid numbers, parents showed up at City Hall to protest the decision.
They were angry that restaurants and gyms, which seem more likely to spread the virus than schools, were still open.
They were angry that the back-and-forth of opening and closing schools has been harmful to the students.
They were angry because remote education has been difficult at best, and impossible in some cases.
They were angry that four government leaders have the power to decide whether they can return to their normal lives and their careers.
So they did something about it. They showed up at City Hall to register their disapproval of the leadership’s decision.
And then, in a stunning reversal, the mayor reversed his decision and announced that the schools would reopen on December 7.
“One of the things that’s been very clear is folks wanted school to keep moving forward and be open so long as it could be done safely,” de Blasio said. “A lot of people have been saying, rightfully, a lot of parents, we’ve heard your voices loud and clear: you wanted schools back open…”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a Nov. 29 press conference
In the face of families who registered their protest, the leadership listened. Coupled with data that showed that the virus isn’t spreading as rapidly among young students, the leadership altered its approach.
It’s a noteworthy development that could move us in the right direction
If you happen to know the families who showed up at city hall, commend them for their efforts. Send a message to Mayor de Blasio or call his office to let him know that you appreciate his willingness to listen and pivot. Or use Twitter or another platform if you prefer.
Most of all, be encouraged.
This is exactly the kind of civic engagement that Americans should embrace in the face of government overreach and political strong-arming. Small steps like this will incrementally remind government officials that this government operates according to the consent of the governed.