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Katal New York Update- June 15, 2023

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Tuesday, June 13: Action to Close Rikers and Movement on Receivership

Katal’s Lead Organizer Melanie Dominguez leading the rally to Close Rikers, 6.13.23

On Tuesday, we held an action at Foley Square with community groups and elected officials in support of the federal courts immediately appointing a receiver to take over Rikers to improve conditions for the people detained there and those who work there until it’s finally shut down.

The rally took place before an emergency special conference about Rikers, called by U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain. The emergency conference was prompted by several recent federal monitor special reports detailing the deteriorating conditions at the Rikers Island Jail Complex, the rampant violence under the DOC, and efforts by the Adams administration to restrict the monitor’s access to information.

Our action on Tuesday, along with the two previous actions we held in November and April  helped make a difference: at the emergency special conference of the federal court, Judge Swain stated that her confidence in the Department of Correction leadership “has been shaken by the incidents of the past few weeks.” Judge Swain opened the door for a federal receivership. A receiver would be someone appointed by the federal court to take control of Rikers — and they would be tasked with immediately improving conditions for people incarcerated in city jails, and for those who work there. We welcome this move — under Mayor Adams, violence has skyrocketed, 22 incarcerated people have died, and the Department of Correction is as scandal-ridden as ever.

Katal member Luke Steele discusses his experience at Rikers and the need to shut it down

Check out some more details and information about Tuesday’s action here:

  • Press release: Check out the press release from the action yesterday, with quotes from a number of groups as well as elected officials.
  • News: See coverage of action by News12, ABC7, and CBS New York.
  • For more information about federal receivership: Check out this great article in THE CITY which provides a detailed summary of what a receiver is and the next steps in the court case.
  • Photos and videos from the day: Check out some very powerful photos and videos from the action. Also, check out recent TikTok. Feel free to share and tag us!

With support for receivership growing, we’re demanding that the New York City Council pass a resolution submitted by the NYC Public Advocate calling on the federal courts to immediately appoint a receiver to improve the conditions at Rikers. Take action here to contact your Councilmember and ask them to co-sponsor this resolution. 

Let’s keep the momentum going! Katal’s outreach and canvassing team are hitting the streets every day. If you’d like to get involved, or if you have any questions, please reach out to Melanie@katalcenter.or  or by phone at (516)-588-0127.


June New York Criminal Justice Statewide Call Recap

Last Thursday, we held our last NY Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call before the end of the legislative session. On the call, we received updates from our lobbyists about the end of the session. We also heard from organizers and advocates working to pass legislation like Fair & Timely Parole and Elder Parole, Treatment Not Jails, Challenging Wrongful Convictions, and Clean Slate in the final days of the session.

Although many much-needed reforms did not make it across the finish line, we were glad to see Clean Slate pass the Senate and Assembly in the final stretch of the session. Big congratulations to all the organizers who made it possible! To learn more about the passage and the next steps to getting it signed, click here.

If you would like to present on the Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Call, or you have any questions, please contact Yonah Zeitz, at yonah@katalcenter.org


Intro to Katal–Get to Know Us!

Join us on Thursday, July 6th from 5-6 pm for our Monthly Intro to Katal Meeting! Since our founding, we have remained steadfast in our mission to build leadership and organizing capacity in our work to end mass incarceration, mass criminalization, and the war on drugs. In New York, we have worked on legislation to advance efforts to decarcerate and shut down Rikers.

Join us to learn more about our history, and current campaigns, and to discuss ways you can get involved! If you know any friends, colleagues, or family members who would like to get to know us, please share our flyer and registration link with them.

Got questions? Reach out to Melanie@katalcenter.org  or phone (516) 588-0127


Katal Quotes of the Week

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

“Today on Juneteenth, the day we celebrate the end of slavery, the day we memorialize those who offered us hope for the future and the day when we renew our commitment to the struggle for freedom.” —Angela Davis

“If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.” — James Baldwin

“Hope doesn’t come from words. Hope only comes from actions.”― Greta Thunberg


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

We can’t do this without you. Please support our work to build leadership and organizing capacity in Connecticut, New York, and beyond. Join us: web, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
Email: info@katalcenter.org • Phone: 646.875.8822

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