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katal newsletter – november 8, 2018

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In this issue…

A Time to Talk: Poverty, Criminal Justice & Race

Organizing for Parole Reform

Voting Rights Victory in Florida

join katal in hartford for “a time to talk”



What does it mean to be poor in America when poverty is criminalized at every turn? 

Inspired by Peter Edelman’s book Not a Crime to Be PoorThe Poverty, Criminal Justice and Race Collaborative of Connecticut, spearheaded by Everyday Democracy, is attempting to answer this question by hosting “A Time To Talk: Poverty, Criminal Justice and Race.” As a member of this collaborative, the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice is working to bring awareness of this issue to Connecticut residents. By fostering community connection through dialogue, the event aims to address  difficult matters on race, criminal justice and poverty, and hopes to incite action once the event concludes.

The dialogue will be held Saturday, November 17th from 12:00 – 4:00 pm in Hartford, Connecticut. To attend the event, please register here.

For more information on how to register, please contact Kenyatta Thompson at or 860.937.6094.


organizing for parole reform


Members of our team in Brooklyn joined with Katal members, community residents, and local leaders for our Brooklyn parole meeting.


This week, immediately after the elections, we launched a series of meetings related to our parole reform campaign in NY — #LessIsMoreNY — which is focused on ending mass supervision and reincarceration for technical violations. We held simultaneous meetings in Albany and Brooklyn, and were joined by Katal members, community residents, and local leaders. Attendees shared testimonies and experiences of being on parole or probation, discussed the broken justice system and recent research on community supervision, and discussed ideas about working together for needed reform. It is imperative to break the cycle of incarceration, and that includes addressing the very real problems of mass supervision. Less mass supervision = more public safety. Read more about the issue in NY in this report.


Members of our team in Albany joined with Katal members, community residents, and local leaders for our Capital Region parole meeting.


To learn more about how you can get involved at an upcoming parole reform meeting in the Capital Region, contact Cedric Fulton ( For meetings in NYC, contact Valdez Heron (


voting rights victory in florida

People gather around the Ben & Jerry’s “Yes on 4” truck as they learn about Amendment 4 and eat free ice cream at Charles Hadley Park in Miami, FL. Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee


In a huge victory for voting rights, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative on Tuesday restoring voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people convicted of a felony in the state. It received about 64 percent of the vote with most votes counted, clearing the 60 percent threshold needed to pass.

Amendment 4 automatically restores voting rights to people with felony records who have completed their full sentences, except those convicted of murder or a sexual offense. Florida is one of only four states that prevent people that have been convicted of a felony from voting, even after they’ve paid their debt to society. This criminal disenfranchisement law, which dates back to the Jim Crow era, blocks 10 percent of Floridians from voting, including one in five African Americans. Amendment 4 repeals this law and could lead to the largest increase in new voters in the state since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

(L-R) Jarred Williams and Valdez Heron in Orlando, Florida doing education outreach.


Katal commends the organizers in Florida who worked so hard for this victory. And we’re happy to have been able to make a small contribution to this effort — this fall, our Community Organizer, Valdez Heron, and Soros Justice Fellow, Jarred Williams, joined the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in doing educational outreach in Orlando during the 2018 FICPFM National Conference. By creating space for participants like us to support the educational effort around Amendment 4, the local Florida organizers were utilizing the voting process not only to restore rights, but to build movement!



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