Speakers at Wednesday night’s Islip Town NAACP rally urged residents to communicate their concerns with one another to find ways to solve problems in their communities.
The event, held in Brentwood Public Library’s auditorium, focused on workers’ rights, education and immigration. It was designed to “begin strategic planning” on how residents can deal with problems related to each issue, organizers said.
About 40 people listened for two hours as panelists took questions and discussed such topics as the power of unionizing, the fiscal crisis faced by such communities as Brentwood and Central Islip and what some see as the continued criminalization of immigrants.
Margarita Espada, a panelist who addressed concerns about immigration, said residents must begin to share their concerns and educate others about their rights.
“We have issues, and we need to talk,” she said.
Another panelist, Brenda Joyce, president of the Long Island Black Educators Association, focused on the needs of students and the impact upcoming budget cuts are expected to have on learning. She encouraged residents to vote in school elections so their opinions are heard.
“We’ve got to bring all our talents, experiences and cultural resources together so we can combat assaults on labor, education, and immigration,” said Roderick Pearson, president of the Islip NAACP and the night’s emcee.