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Katal New York Update — January 18, 2024

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Care Not Criminalization Rally

On Wednesday, January 24th, Mayor Eric Adams will deliver his third Mayoral State of the City address at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. During this address, the Mayor will outline his priorities for the year. We know what the Mayor must do: Shut Down Rikers! Ahead of the speech, we’re joining the Care Not Criminalization rally at 11:30 am to demand that the Mayor shut down Rikers and invest in our communities. RSVP here to join us.

Earlier this week, we got a glimpse of what Mayor Adams’ priorities are for this upcoming fiscal year when he announced that the city would be reversing proposed budget cuts to NYPD while continuing to cut funding to essential services like education, libraries, re-entry programs, and more. Instead of working to address the crisis and close Rikers, Adams is working overtime to make it worse. It’s clear the city must cut the jail population, shut down Rikers, and invest in true public safety: housing, health care, education, and jobs. Can you join us on Wednesday at 11:30 am to demand that Mayor Adams shut down Rikers?

For more information about the rally or our Shut Rikers campaign, please reach out to Melanie at or by phone at (516) 588-0127.

We’re hiring – NYC Community Organizer 

We’re hiring for a community organizer in New York City. This is a great opportunity for organizers who want to join a stellar organizing team focused on:

  • Building collective power
  • Advancing racial justice
  • Developing the leadership of neighborhood residents

Click here for more info and to apply for the New York Community Organizer Position!

Katal in Albany for Treatment Not Jail Advocacy Day 

Yesterday, we joined the Treatment Not Jail campaign for an advocacy day in Albany. We held a rally on the Million Dollar Staircase where we demanded that the legislature pass the Treatment Not Jail Act this legislative session. After the rally, our members, interns, and canvassers spoke to legislators about this bill and the impact it will have in the fight to shut down Rikers. 

For decades, New Yorkers dealing with mental health and substance use issues have been funneled into deadly jails like Rikers Island instead of getting the support and treatment they need. Currently, Rikers is the largest psychiatric facility in the city and incarceration only leaves people more traumatized and destabilized. 

This bill will provide off-ramps from the revolving door of jail and prison for those who are brought into the criminal legal system due to underlying mental health and substance use issues. Passing this bill will reduce the number of people being sent to Rikers and get us one step closer to shutting it down. Click here to learn more about the campaign and bill. 

Katal in the News

  • Yesterday, our co-founder and co-executive director Lorenzo Jones spoke with The Hill about President Biden’s record on criminal justice and how local organizing has largely been shut out of the national conversation. Check out the full interview here.
  • On January 4, Chima Williams passed away at Rikers Island. Mr. Willaims was the first incarcerated person to die this year. Our lead organizer Melanie Dominguez spoke to NYC 1010 WINs about the scandal unfolding at Rikers and the need to shut it down. Check out the full interview here. 

Katal Quotes of the Week

These are some of the quotes we’re thinking about this week.

“Never forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over.” —Fannie Lou Hamer

“I have always felt it was a handicap for oppressed peoples to depend so largely upon a leader, because unfortunately in our culture, the charismatic leader usually becomes a leader because he has found a spot in the public limelight…” —Ella Baker

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

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