Uptown Council Member Rodriguez Introduces Bill To Create Office Of Sports & Recreation

Today, Thursday, May 28th, 2020, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez held a press conference, alongside Nzingha Prescod, Two-time Foil Fencing Olympian Medalist, community members and activists, to announce the introduction of a bill to create the New York City Office of Sports & Recreation.

Across the City, underserved, Latino, Black, and Asian communities continue to suffer disproportionate rates of heart disease, asthma, obesity, and other chronic illnesses. This health disparity has been made more evident than ever through the severe impact of the novel coronavirus on predominantly low-income neighborhoods. In addition to limited or no access to quality food programs, many low-income neighborhoods have little to no access to open areas like parks, fields, and recreational centers. The Office of Sports & Recreation will seek to develop strategies and provide access to sports-related opportunities for students and the youth and to promote the role of sports in education and recreation.

The Bill will seek to establish an office of sports recreation that “would consult with the city’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization to promote the city as a base for professional sports teams, make recommendations for the growth of professional, amateur and scholastic sports recreation and coordinate sports initiatives with other city agencies, including but not limited to the Department of Education and the Department of Parks and Recreation.”

Additionally, the Office will:

  • Provide access to sports-related opportunities for students, promote the role of sports in education and recreation, and develop a plan for providing sports recreation,
  • Promote a robust sports recreation program and perform other relevant duties as the Mayor may assign and,
  • Submit an annual report advising the Mayor and various agencies on sports recreation and make policy recommendations on an ongoing basis.

“This is about bringing equity into sports for all underserved, Latino, Black, and Asian Communities. Everyone saw the devastating impact COVID-19 had on low-income communities who suffer from disproportionate rates of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Lack of healthy food options and quality sports and recreational opportunities have all contributed to this health disparity that’s impacting Latino, Black, and Asian communities,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “This Office will develop strategies and provide access to sports-related programs that will help create a pipeline for disadvantaged athletes into professional sports fields. I will continue working alongside my colleagues, advocates, and two-time Foil Fencing Olympian Medalist, Nzingha Prescod to ensure we create equitable opportunities for all communities of color.”

“I was born and raised in Brooklyn by my mother and experienced lack of access to sport in my community, especially to non-traditional sports that are less saturated and most fruitful in its return. Organized sport substantially develops socio-emotional learning, discipline, confidence, resiliency, leadership, and teaming skills. By chance, I was afforded the opportunity to the fence because of the Peter Westbrook Foundation but I firmly believe this offering is a responsibility of the city. I was only one of the thousands in the public school system that had this access to a high-quality sports education, which carried me to more than 30 countries, to the White House, to the Olympics, twice, Columbia University, and more. Fencing opened those doors for me. And ultimately, this sports education allowed me to fulfill my potential and become World Champion,” said Nzingha Prescod, Two-time Foil Fencing Olympian Medalist. “Every child should have the opportunity to become balanced, well-rounded and capable individuals through sport. And the chance to become a champion, if that is their will. That’s sadly not the case in the privatized sport system we now operate in. Sport is a social right every youth should have access to and it is largely recognized as that for the rest of the world. Now more than ever, in the midst of Covid-19 and a divisive climate that costs too many black and brown people their lives, children need outlets for fun and a structure to become their best selves. Sports, especially non-traditional sports, can provide that. I am a testament to that. In the greatest city it the world, there is no excuse for why our youth have limited access to the benefits of sport and the opportunity for athletic success.”

“After serving 12 years as the city’s Sports Commissioner, I have seen firsthand how sports and recreation can transform the lives of our most vulnerable New Yorkers”, said Ken Podziba, President & CEO of Bike New York. “Leveling the playing field by providing real opportunities for underserved youth to engage in activities that will improve their physical, mental and emotional health is simply good public policy, especially now when the health disparity of low-income communities is more apparent than ever. All New Yorkers should commend Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez for his leadership in introducing a bill to create the Office of Sports & Recreation.”

Amanda Kraus, Row New York Founder & CEO said, “As the founder and CEO of a non-profit that provides academic support and sports and recreation opportunities for NYC youth, I applaud Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez for his visionary response to our health crisis with a long-term solution like the proposed Office of Sports & Recreation. Row New York has long understood that providing equal access to sports for youth from communities with the largest opportunity gaps helps to improve their mental and physical health and provides them with educational opportunities. We are in total support of this project and are looking forward to working with Council Member Rodriguez to help realize his goal.”

Robert Burke, Hudson River Sailing, Executive Director said, “HRCS applauds Councilmember Rodriguez for his persistent call to bring NYC recreational and sports resources to all of its communities. His vision and legislative action makes inclusiveness a top priority. Thank you.”

Spanish

Hoy, el jueves 28 de Mayo, el Concejal Ydanis Rodríguez sostuvo una conferencia de prensa junto a activistas y miembros de la comunidad, para anunciar la presentación de un proyecto de ley que creará la Oficina de Deportes & Recreación en la Ciudad de Nueva York.

Por toda la ciudad, las comunidades marginadas, latinas, negras y asiáticas continúan sufriendo desproporcionadas tasas de enfermedades cardíacas, asma, obesidad y otras enfermedades crónicas. Esta disparidad en el área de salud se ha hecho más evidente que nunca a través del grave impacto del nuevo coronavirus en vecindarios predominantemente de bajos ingresos. Además del acceso limitado o inexistente a programas de alimentos de calidad, muchos vecindarios de bajos ingresos tienen poco o ningún acceso a áreas abiertas como parques, campos y centros recreativos. La Oficina de Deportes y Recreación buscará desarrollar estrategias y proporcionar acceso a oportunidades relacionadas con los deportes para los estudiantes y los jóvenes y promover el papel de los deportes en la educación y la recreación.

El proyecto de ley buscará el establecimiento de una oficina de recreación deportiva y “consultaría con la organización oficial de marketing, turismo y asociaciones de la ciudad para promover la ciudad como base para equipos deportivos profesionales, hacer recomendaciones para el crecimiento de la recreación deportiva profesional, amateur y escolar y coordinar iniciativas deportivas con otras agencias de la ciudad, incluyendo pero no limitado al Departamento de Educación y al Departamento de Parques y Recreación”.

Además, la Oficina busca:

  • Proporcionar acceso a oportunidades relacionadas con el deporte para los estudiantes, promover el papel de los deportes en la educación y la recreación y desarrollar un plan para proporcionar recreación deportiva,
  • Promover un programa sólido de recreación deportiva y realizar otras tareas relevantes que el Alcalde pueda asignar y,
  • Presentar un informe anual asesorando al Alcalde y varias agencias sobre recreación deportiva y hacer recomendaciones de política de manera continua.

“Como líder deportivo respaldamos que en la ciudad de Nueva York haya una oficina de deportes que vele y promueva las diversas disciplinas”, dijo, José “Quemaito” Reyes, Presidente de la Fundacion Dominicana de Deportes. “Sería de gran impacto que en esta ciudad funcione está oficina que esté responsabilizada de traer el apoyo financiero a todas las ligas deportivas de la ciudad que trabajan en el desarrollo de talentos de niños y jóvenes. Esta oficina además debería vigilar para que todos los parques y estructuras deportivas estén con el acondicionamiento necesario para que los jóvenes tengan seguridades cuando practican sus deportes”.

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