You’ve heard me talk a lot about “Fund Our Future.” But I probably don’t talk often enough about the second part of our multi-year campaign tag line. It’s “Fund Our Future for a Thriving New York.”
Two recent events drove that word “thriving” home for me. First, the PEF Wellness Fair & AFT Book Giveaway held the last Saturday in April at the Armory in downtown Albany. It was a resounding success, with 50 vendors from across the capital region and the state sharing their services with members of the community, who could also select up to 10 free books per family and 40 per teacher. I saw so many smiles that day on the faces of kids and received thanks from so many folks who were able to visit. From what was originally conceived as a small gathering in the parking lot of PEF headquarters, we created an inspiring event that I hope helped many area families access the community resources they need to thrive.
“Thrive” is also the motivation behind the priorities PEF pushed for in the State budget. From civil service reform to SUNY hospital funding, the governor and legislators heard this union when we talked about funding our future so New Yorkers can thrive. The PEF Legislative Department has finished its budget analysis and created end-of-session letter writing campaigns to push additional PEF priorities. Please take a moment soon to send a letter to your local lawmakers expressing your support.
May is also Nurses Month and Mental Health Awareness month. We’ve featured a few of PEF’s healthcare heroes in this update and have been posting photos all month long from appreciation events held around the state. Thank you, nurses, for everything you do every day for New Yorkers! As for mental health, PEF social workers play a key role in helping New Yorkers in that regard, and we have an update in this issue about what’s being done to get them the pay equity they deserve. PEF social workers have been very engaged on the issue and we’re making progress.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate PEF member Dr. Jennifer May, who was honored by the American Red Cross for her work leading an Individual Disaster Care Team in the aftermath of the May 14, 2022, mass shooting at the Tops market in Buffalo. Dr. May used her skills as a psychologist to provide vital mental health support to victims’ families, Tops staff, and the greater community. She is a true healthcare hero!