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connecticut update – september 2, 2021

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In this issue…

Connecticut Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call

Connecticut Apprentice Community Organizer Position

Remembering the Life of Jerry Smart Jr.

Today’s CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call

Today we hosted our CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform CallWe had a lively discussion with updates on what’s happening at the state capitol on criminal justice reform. Our speakers included:

  • John Bailey II, lobbyist discussed latest updates from the Capitol
  • Iliana Pujols, CT Justice Alliance spoke about their #InvestInMeCT campaign
  • Meghan Peterson, Institute for Municipal & Regional Policy on the Police Accountability and Transparency Task Forces work to limit Police interactions with people with mental illnesses
  • Jason Ortiz, CURE CT / MCBA discussed next steps now that cannabis has been legalized in CT
  • Kevnesha Boyd, Stop Solitary CT discussed next steps with the PROTECT Act
  • Kathy Flaherty, Connecticut Legal Rights on proposing changes to the PSRB this upcoming session.

The goals of the CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call are to:

  • Highlight issues, campaigns, and projects that groups are working on to advance statewide reform;
  • Identify ways to align, coordinate, and support each other in the work to end mass incarceration in Connecticut;
  • Strengthen community organizing and advocacy organizations to build movement in Connecticut.

Register for our next CT Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call, on Thursday, October 7 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. 

If you have any questions about the statewide call or would like to present on an upcoming call, please contact Kenyatta at

We’re hiring – CT Apprentice Community Organizer Position

We’re hiring for an apprentice community organizer in Connecticut through our flagship training program BLOC: Building Leadership and Organizing CapacityClick here to apply for the Connecticut Apprentice Community Organizer Position!

Through our BLOC programs individuals learn:

  • community organizing and harm reduction tools and strategies, and how to use them for systemic change;
  • how to build relationships that will increase participation in groups, coalitions, and campaigns; and
  • how to orient organizing and advocacy work toward undoing systemic racism and building movement.

We at Katal want to see more community organizing and more people using community organizing tools. Katal’s BLOC Apprenticeship creates entry-level opportunities for people looking to choose or change to a career as a community organizer. The Apprentice Community Organizer program is designed for people who want to learn the science and art of community organizing, and often have little to no community organizing experience.

The Apprenticeship is designed particularly for developing new organizers who are people of color—especially Black women—as well as young people and those impacted by systemic racism, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the consequences of a broken public safety net. Click here to learn more about the Apprentice Organizing Program.

Please share this posting in your networks or with anyone you think may be interested. Details about the position, including salary range and how to apply, are here!

Remembering the Life of Jerry Smart Jr.

Last week, we lost a champion in harm reduction and criminal justice reform with the passing of Jerry Smart Jr. Jerry was a senior community health worker with Transitions Clinic in New Haven. For those who knew Jerry, he was smart, passionate, and a fighter for his people. Words cannot express all of our feelings of loss at his sudden and unexpected passing – Jerry has left an impact on us all.

We had the privilege of working with Jerry during house parties, community conversations, statewide calls, and more. He was dedicated to improving the quality of life for all formerly incarcerated people in the state. That dedication showed up in both his professional and personal life.

We extend our deepest condolences to Jerry’s family, friends, colleagues at Transitions Clinic, and the larger New Haven community where he worked and lived. He leaves behind a son, Zion, who was the light of his life. A fundraiser has been set up for Zion’s education on behalf of Jerry. We ask that you share and donate generously.

Rest in power, Jerry.

Sign up for the Katal New York Update

We announced in March that, after nearly 5 years, we’re ending the Katal Weekly Update, and moving to two separate email updates — one for Connecticut, another for New York. If you’d also like to keep up what we’re doing in New York, click here to sign up for the Katal New York Update!

For printing and distribution, Katal Weekly Update PDF version.

Keep practicing social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands, and check in on your neighbors. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Katal works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance health, equity, and justice for everyone. Join us: web, Twitter, Facebook! Email: Phone: 646.875.8822.

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