Prospect Heights

Prayer breakfast and forum for struggling SUNY Downstate

February 5, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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On Thursday, Feb. 6, faith leaders from Central Brooklyn will hold a forum and prayer breakfast to plan an interfaith fast and future actions to save health care services in Central Brooklyn.

The forum and prayer breakfast will be led by the SUNY Downstate Coalition of Faith, Labor and Community Leaders, comprised of Brooklyn-area religious and community organizations and unions representing SUNY Downstate employees.

The forum starts at 10 a.m. at Saint Lucia House, 438 East 49th Street in Brooklyn.

Several Brooklyn legislators will attend the meeting, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and state Assemblymen James Brennan and Karim Camara.

Speakers include Pastor Gilford Monrose of Mt. Zion Church of God, president, 67th Precinct Clergy Council; Bishop Orlando Findlayter of New Hope Christian Fellowship, chairman of Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH); Pastor Shane Vidal, Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church; and Rabbi Eli Cohen, executive director, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

Hundreds of SUNY Downstate employees, represented by United University Professions, have lost or may lose their jobs at the cash-strapped hospital in Prospect Heights. SUNY has been trying to raise money by shutting down Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill, but has been met by a wall of lawsuits, protests and civil actions by residents, elected officials and unions supporting LICH.

Members of the coalition say that the SUNY Board of Trustees members raised the possibility that SUNY Downstate may be closed or privatized.

Article VII legislation in the 2014-15 Executive Budget contains a pilot program that would allow up to five private corporations to control public hospitals in New York; one of them must affiliate with an academic medical institution or teaching hospital. SUNY Downstate operates Brooklyn’s sole state-operated public teaching hospital.

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