Secretary Cardona Meets with Faith Leaders in New York to Highlight Importance of Community and Faith-based Organizations to Education

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona participated in a roundtable discussion with faith leaders in New York City to highlight the contributions of faith-based organizations during the pandemic and in ongoing recovery efforts that support young people and their communities.

During today’s conversation, Secretary Cardona told the leaders: “We have the opportunity to ensure our nation moves closer to realizing its highest ideals as a place where anyone—no matter their background or circumstance—can make of their lives whatever they dream. Faith-based communities are critical partners in our efforts to rebuild and recover from the pandemic. Now is our moment to provide every student with the support and resources they need to thrive, and to ensure that education truly becomes the great equalizer. The task before us is not only to improve our education system from where it was before the pandemic, but also to take bold and unapologetic action to elevate it to lead the world.”

The roundtable included leaders who shared reflections about hearing the call to lead their communities during the pandemic and continuing to answer that call by supporting children and communities during recovery. Secretary Cardona credited the faith leaders for bringing hope and healing where needed.

Faith leaders discussed the importance of diversity, uplifting student voices and the challenges of mental health for students, educators, and the community. The group also talked about ways to disrupt hate, especially geared towards children, educators, and schools. One leader noted, “We must find the place to be exemplars of diversity and decency.”

Several participants also shared insights about the conversation:

“The Interfaith Center of New York welcomes Secretary Cardona to New York and commends his outreach to faith leaders of different traditions who share a common commitment to the flourishing of youth and young adults in a post-pandemic world,” said Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer of the Interfaith Center of New York.

“Members of our community have gone through so much over the last two years,” said Pastor Gilford Monrose, faith advisor and executive director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships in New York. “We are glad to have the opportunity to speak with the U.S. Secretary of Education about some of the hardships we’ve faced and ways the faith leaders can partner with the Department to ensure a cohesive and successful recovery.”

February 2022 marked one year since President Biden signed the Executive Order on the Establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.The Department of Education’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships works alongside the White House office to build partnerships that promote student achievement and equitable outcomes.

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