By Gabe Falsetta
From 2016 up until the present there have been six deaths, in NYC, reported in various news outlets. In the overall scheme of things that number is perhaps small. However, the six deaths are of children under six years old and caused from abuse.
Back in October of 2016 after the death of Zymere Perkins an article appeared in the Chief Leader, a NYC civil service employee newspaper. At that time several employees of the Association for Children’s Services (ACS) were reprimanded and some suspended. Gladys Carrion who dedicated her career to ACS resigned.
Three year old Jaden Jordan, the latest death to be reported, died under similar circumstances as the death of Zymere. He was beaten to death by the boyfriend of the child’s mother. In the case of Zymere, his mother suffered from severe depression and was diagnosed bi-polar. After Zymere was terribly abused and lay dying on his bed, his mother Geraldine Perkins was reciting biblical passages to him before calling 911.
Stu Eber, of the New York City Managerial Employees Association came to the defense of the ACS staff, as did Anthony Wells, president of Social Services Employees Union Local 371. Both advocated for increased training and staffing. Wells said, “working for ACS and ECS are some of the hardest jobs in the city.”
And while potential candidates for mayor criticize ACS and the mayor’s handling of the department, neither are willing to confront the problem head on. An example of their turning a blind eye; when Jaden Jordan was beaten to death over a weekend, the Emergency Child Services department investigating the case laid responsibility on weekend caseworkers saying that weekend staff were not “adequately” trained to handle these severe cases.
No amount of training will stop these heart wrenching deaths until the system that creates inhuman conditions, including cycles of poverty and abuse, is replaced. Capitalism breeds poverty and deprives humanity of reaching its full potential. Without living wages, a return to real affordable housing, integrated public education across racial and income lines, and especially health care that is responsive and accessible to people suffering from mental illness, these tragedies will continue.
Mayor de Blasio ran and won the New York City mayoral race for the most part running on the idea of the “two cities” – the 1% versus the rest of us. The Mayor needs to let Governor Cuomo know that this is a situation that cannot be resolved as long as the 1% gets away with murder. The governor and the mayor must stop the giveaways to the 1%, Wall Street millionaires, Real Estate tycoons and the multi-media owners, many of whom don’t live in the city.
Keeping in mind that cuts to cities like New York may be happening now that a right wing cabal of billionaires and millionaires control the three branches of government, it is imperative to tax the 1% at rates that were in force in the 1950’s and ‘60’s to enable this great muti-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational city to really eradicate these tragedies.