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Katal New York Update- January 26, 2023

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Today: Close Rikers Protest Outside of the Mayor’s State of the City Address

Katal members, staff and allies Rally Outside of the Mayor’s State of the City Address in Queens.

Today, we held a protest at Mayor Adam’s State of the City address to demand immediate action on the city’s jail crisis. In the face of inaction by Mayor Adams and a proposed austerity budget, we demanded that Adams cut the city’s jail population, shut down Rikers, and invest in real community safety: housing, health care, education, and jobs.

Under Mayor Adams, the crisis at Rikers has only gotten worse. In 2022 – Adams’ first year as mayor – 19 people died on Rikers – the most since 2013 when the jail population was twice as large. Violence on Rikers has escalated to record levels. Vulnerable populations are increasingly under threat – this week, news broke that Mayor Adams’ Department of Correction (DOC) has completely gutted the LGBTQ+ Affairs Unit at Rikers, exposing LGBQ+ and trans people in particular to greater harm. The DOC under Adams is working to stymie transparency – a few weeks ago, they blocked the Board of Correction from accessing video footage from Rikers, and this week, they rejected a request from the congressional representatives from the Committee on Oversight and Accountability for data on the crisis at Rikers. 

As Adams works to defund our public schools, homeless and housing services, libraries, mental health services, services for the aging, and other critical programs, impacted New Yorkers and community groups turned out today to reject the mayors austerity budget and to demand a budget for a just an equitable City and that Rikers be shut down once and for all. Check out the press release from the rally

Thank you to everyone who stood out in the freezing cold to demand the closure of Rikers. Below are more details about the rally and action steps you can take to support closing Rikers:

  • Statement: We issued a statement earlier this week responding to Mayor Adams removing safeguards to protect trans women & skirting efforts for transparency and oversight at Rikers. 
  • Photos from the day: There are a bunch of very powerful photos and videos from the action, check them out, and please share them!
  • Phone Banking Session: Join us next Thursday, February 2nd from 5:00-6:00 pm for our Close Rikers Phone Banking Session! Register for the session here!
  • Take & Share Our Riker Petition: Sign this petition to demand that Mayor Adams shuts down Rikers. Please also share it with 3 friends or family members.

For more information about the effort to shut down Rikers and to learn how to get involved, reach out to Melanie at 

Rally to Disband the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group

On Monday, we joined the New York Civil Liberties Union and other community groups on the steps of City Hall to demand that the city disband the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (SRG). The NYPD’s SRG is a violent and unaccountable unit that is notorious for its abuse of protesters, particularly those standing up for racial justice. At the rally, we called for the city to fully disband the SRG unit and reinvest their $90 million in city funds to housing, healthcare, education, and jobs. Our senior community organizer, Melanie Dominguez is quoted in the press release saying:

“The NYPD’s Strategic Response Group has a history of inflicting violence on non-violent Black and Brown protestors. Instead of de-escalating and protecting New Yorkers, their main objective is to terrorize our most vulnerable communities who are simply exercising their first amendment rights. It is time to fully disband the NYPD’s SRG unit and reinvest their $90 million in city funds to housing, healthcare, education, and jobs. This is what our communities deserve!

Katal Quotes of the Week

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

For printing and distribution, download the Katal Weekly Update PDF version.

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

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