Dear Mayor Eric Adams,

As New York City faith and religious leaders representing many different spiritual and religious communities, we are calling on you to immediately restore a minimum of the $469 million cut from public schools.

First and foremost, public schools have always been underfunded, a disinvestment that has impacted Black and Brown students in particular, a fact we have seen as leaders in our communities. We have seen it in our religious communities as parents and guardians struggle to support their children with school supplies; as families seek to find adequate behavioral, mental health, and language services; and as hospital chaplains who have met these same students in intensive care units following suicide attempts because of the lack of care and resources given to our young people.

We adamantly oppose these cuts because we have seen firsthand the detrimental effects disinvestment in public education already has in our communities — including the literal lives of our young Black and Brown people. These cuts threaten the already inadequately-funded education that young people in this city receive, and consequently underfund the education of Black and Brown students at disproportionate rates.

Mayor Adams, you have recently told students, parents, and educators time and time again to “pray” for the restoration of cuts, obscuring the power you have to act and stop the pain to our schools. As faith leaders, we recognize your deployment of this language as “spiritual bypassing,” a term originally used by a Buddhist teacher and to which we apply here as you use spiritual rhetoric to avoid your responsibilities to the people of this city. While many of our traditions do value prayer, a more holistic understanding of prayer does not shirk the responsibilities we owe to our communities, especially as people in positions of power.

In fact, many of our faith traditions demand action from us, in addition to prayer, especially when it comes to education. A few examples of this from our different traditions are listed below:

  • The Christian Testament contains story after story about how Jesus resisted the people in positions of power and advocated for the most marginalized among him. The Christian Testament tells us that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26), and God calls upon us to love our neighbors lavishly.

  • In the Talmud, one of the central texts of the Jewish tradition, we find the story of the Sage Yehoshua ben Gamla, who decreed “that teachers of children should be established in each and every province and in each and every town,” starting at six years old, and that this responsibility falls on the entire community (Bava Batra 21a).

  • The Qur’an in the Islamic tradition, states “‘Take action! Allah will see [it]…and [when] you will be returned to Him...He will tell you what you’ve done.” (At-Tawbah 9:105) and “Blessed is the reward of the doer” (The Family of Imran 4:136). The Prophet (PBUH) said of importance of education; “Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.”

  • In the Buddhist sutras, the Buddha encouraged an endless, life-long pursuit of knowledge. He also emphasized that students should develop their own critical thinking: " Nay, Kālāma, do not be led by revelation, or by tradition, or by hearsay, not by authority of the secret scriptures, or by mere reasoning, not by seeming logical, not by mere believing in the person who spoke it.." (Kesamutti sutta, AN).

  • In the Hindu tradition, the Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 17, Verse 19- BG 17.19 states: “Austerity that is performed by those with confused notions, and which involves torturing the self or harming others, is described to be in the mode of ignorance.”

  • One of the three core pillars of Sikhism is Vand Chakhna, which means to share and to consume. The wisdom of this pillar calls upon us to distribute wealth among our larger community. In other words, we are obligated as faithful people to distribute resources generously in service of our community, especially if we already have the funds to do so.

Mayor Adams, as a man who says he is guided by his faith, you must act now. The Comptroller has identified $1.3 billion in available funding, and your office can simply negotiate with the City Council and use your powers to restore the cuts now, before school starts and the damage done by these cuts is irreversible.

Education is a human right, one recognized by many faith traditions, and you must restore all the cuts immediately in order to serve our students, especially those in greatest need. If you are indeed a prayerful person, we believe you’ll join us in prayer AND action to support our most marginalized students, and use the power you have to adequately fund their education by restoring the cuts.

The undersigned,

Group Endorsements

Advent Lutheran Church

Bangladesh Buddhist Vihara of NY


The Center for Jubilee Practice

Christ Church UCC

The Community Church of New York City

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

Congregation Tehillah

Cross Street Community of NYC

Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk

First Corinthian Baptist Church

First Spanish United Methodist Church: The People’s Church

Free Synagogue of Flushing

Grace Baptist Church

Jews For Racial & Economic Justice

Latino Pastoral Action Center, Inc., Sanctuary Church

Malkhut: progressive Jewish spirituality in Queens

Masjid Al Ikhlas

Middle Collegiate Church

Mott Haven Reformed Church

New York Finnish Lutheran Congregation

Nurudeen Islamic Charity Organization of New York Inc.

NYC-DSA Religion Socialism Working Group

NYC Movement Chaplain Collective

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

The Shul of New York

St. Michael’s Church

St. Peter’s Chelsea


UFT Jewish Heritage Committee

Zangdokpalri Foundation for Great Compassion

Individual Endorsements

Acharya Arun Gossai, The Queens Branch of the Bhuvaneshwar Mandir

Dr. Ahmet Atlig, Imam, Chaplain and Spiritual Counselor, NEICC (North East Islamic Community Center)

Cantor Alan J Brava, Free Synagogue of Flushing

Rev. Alexis Lillie, Church of the Village

Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Middle Collegiate Church

Rev. Ann M. Kansfield, Greenpoint Reformed Church

Rev. Antoinnette R. Donegan, First Central Baptist Church

Rev. Ashley Amber Birt, The Center for Jubilee Practice

Rabbi Dr. Barat Ellman, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

The Rev. Dr. Barbara E. Davis, Executive Minister, The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York

Rev. Bertram Johnson, Interfaith Minister, Union Theological Seminary

Chaplain Brandon Roiger, NYC Movement Chaplain Collective

Rabbi Brian Denker, International Federation of Rabbis

Rev. Dr. Bruce C. Rivera, Christ Church UCC & Bronx Multi-Faith Advisory Group

Elder Bryan Simmons-Scie, The Community Church of New York City

Chaplain-in-Training Caleb Huffman, Union Theological Seminary

Sister Dr. Celia Deutsch, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion

The Rev. Christine Lee, St. Peter’s Chelsea

Dr. Cornel West, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Philosophy & Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary

Bishop D. A. Sherron, Global Fire International Church

Dan DeBrucker-Cota, Community Leader, Cross Street Community of NYC

Rev. Danielle Miller, Advent Lutheran Church

Donal Cogdell, Director of Justice, Hope Astoria Church

Rev. Doyeon Park, Won Buddhism of Manhattan

Rev. Eleanor Harrison Bregman

Eli Valentin, Adjunct Lecturer, Union Theological Seminary

Rabbi Emerita Ellen Lippmann, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives

Rabbi Emily Cohen, West End Synagogue

Rev. Emmie Arnold, Queens Hospital Center

Rev. Dr. Eric A. Thomas, Siloam Presbyterian Church

Rev. Erica Poellot, Faith in Harm Reduction

F A Sardar, President, Darul Uloom New York

Mx. Flourish Klink, St. Mark’s in the Bowery

Dr. Geshe Tashi Dorje, Shi-De Kunkyabling (Center for Universal Peace) & NYNJ Dolchok Tsokpa

Gregory Smith, No Traces Sangha

Rabbi Guy Austrian, Fort Tryon Jewish Center

Chaplain Hannah Ervin, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Hannah Griggs, Theology Instructor and PhD Student, Fordham University

The Rev. Heidi Neumark, Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan

Dr. Helen Meltzer-Krim, Riverdale Temple

Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Middle Collegiate Church

Chaplain Jennifer Kent, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Jessica Baker, Diploma in Theology (‘05), Life Christian University

Pastor Joshua Spears, Grace Baptist Church

Rabbi Joshua Stanton, East End Temple

Rabbi Emerita Judith Lewis, Riverdale Temple

Rev. Julie Johnson Staples, J.D., Judson Memorial Church

Rev. Julie Hoplamazian, St. Michael’s Church

Lama Justin von Bujdoss, Bhumisparsha

The Rev. Katharine Flexer, St. Michael’s Church

Rev. Fr. Kelly, St. Thomas Catholic Church

The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary

Imam Khalid Latif, The Islamic Center at NYU

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk

Rev. Lea A. Matthews, St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn, Congregation Tehillah

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign; Director of the Kairos Center at Union Theological Seminary; Pastor, Freedom Church of the Poor

Loyalty JeanAimé, Union Theological Seminary (M.A., ‘22)

Rev. Lynn Casteel Harper, The Riverside Church

Rabbi Margo Hughes-Robinson, T’ruah

Rabbi Miriam Grossman, Kolot Chayeinu

Pastor Martin Hauser, Grace & St. Paul’s Church

The Rev. Matthew Gordon Dimick, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital @ NYU Langone

The Rev. Matthew Heyd, Church of the Heavenly Rest

Meagan Henry, First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn

Rabbi Mia Simring

Rev. Micah Bucey, Judson Memorial Church

Rev. Michael Livingston, Interim Senior Minister, The Riverside Church

Sr. Pastor Michael Walrond, First Corinthian Baptist Church

Miguel Escobar, Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary

Ms. Monica Hakoola, Interim Coordinator for Children’s and Youth Ministries, St. Michael’s Church

Rev. Natalie R. Perkins, Middle Collegiate Church

Chaplain Navin Ramlogan, Servanthood Int.

Chaplain Oriana Mayorga, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Rev. Dr. Patricia Sealy, Mott Haven Reformed Church

The Rev. Bishop Paul Egensteiner, Metropolitan New York, Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Rev. Peter Simmons-Scie, The Community Church of New York City

The Rev. Peter Thompson, St. Bartholomew’s Church in the City of New York

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, Malkhut: progressive Jewish spirituality in Queens

Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim

Pastor Rebecca Seely, Lutheran Ministries in Higher Education of New York City

Robina Niaz, Turning Point for Women and Families

Rev. Dr. Sanayi Beckles Canton, Emanuel AME Church

Dr. Sarah Azaransky, Associate Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary

Sarah Hill, LCSW, Adjunct Professor, Union Theological Seminary

Shanaz Deen, Union Theological Seminary

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

Rev. Shinga Takikawa, NST Myosetsuji Temple

Simarjeet Singh, Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Sikh Center, Inc.

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, Sikh Spiritual Life Adviser, NYU

Rev. Stefanie Bennett, John Street United Methodist Church

The Rev. Stephanie Kendell, Executive Minister, Park Avenue Christian Church, NYC

The Rev. Canon Dr. Stephanie Spellers, The Episcopal Church (national) and St. Bartholomew's Church (NYC)

Rabbi Susan Falk, The Shul of New York

Sister Susan Wilcox, Sisters of St. Joseph

Swami Satyanandji, Spiritual Leader, Geeta Temple Ashram

Tara McManus, Union Theological Seminary

Rabbi Thomas Gardner, Riverdale Temple

Rev. Tiina Talvitie, New York Finnish Lutheran Congregation

The Rev. Timothy Weisman, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity

Vickram Deonarain, President, New York Hindu Milan Mandir, Inc.

Yarilynne Esther Regalado, Union Theological Seminary (M.Div., ‘24)

The Rev. Zack Nyein, St. Bartholomew’s Church in the City of New York