Buses are still unloading passengers well after the noon start of the “One Voice United” rally after a traffic jam — a sure sign of the rally’s success — snarls State Street. Members of the Yorktown Congress of Teachers, stuck in traffic earlier as a result of the backlog, make the most of the moment, setting up a picnic lunch amid the commotion.
The Rev. Charles A. Rogers Sr. of the “First” Israel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Albany opens the rally with an invocation as the crowd swells.
Rogers tells the crowd he is there as a reverend and “as a native of Brooklyn. I believe in public education,” he says, reciting the names of schools and educators who made it possible for him to eventually matriculate at the University of Albany 18 years later.
“Education is not only essential, it is the most important thing we do in New York state,” Rogers says.