Bishop Diamond’s Testimony: We Can’t Break The Promise To Our Children

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Good afternoon. My name is Bishop John Diamond, I’m the Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Bridgeport and a co-founder of FaithActs for Education. I am here to voice my support for H.B. 5212.

We began this work at FaithActs nine years ago, with the dream of making sure every child receives a world-class education. Every child should grow up with the tools they need to be gainfully employed, take care of their family, and fulfill their God-given potential. And so we fight; we fight for equitable opportunities. We fight against systems not built to help us and we fight for our children and for necessary change. That fight has been going on across years and decades. 

Last year FaithActs brought the weight of our 100 congregations, 11,000 parishioners and more than 6,000 committed voters across Connecticut to this building when we fought for – and won – the $150 million funding increase our kids need and demand. And we were not alone. 

The funding approved just eight months ago was implemented after overwhelming bipartisan support and sustained advocacy from the broadest coalition ever assembled on behalf of an education issue. 

We fought for a decade for an increase in funding that would partially close the more than $700 million racial funding gap between white students and students of color in Connecticut. We agreed on a landmark funding package that moves us toward funding one Connecticut education system that equitably educates all children.

And now the governor is threatening to strip this money away. 

The proposed $60+ million in cuts cannot stand. This promise to our children must not be broken.

To suggest that this money should be scaled back in order to fund Early Childhood Education – itself a vital service in need of full funding – is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. We can’t pit children against children and balance the budget on their backs.

I pray that this body uses its power to preserve the increases to the education budget as agreed upon just eight months ago. Fund one Connecticut education system and fully fund our children. Please vote “yes” on H.B. 5212.

Bishop Diamond gave this testimony to the Education Committee on February 28, 2024.

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