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katal newsletter – october 4, 2018

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In this issue…

Katal Speaks in NYC on the Mass Bail Out

Katal on the Harlem Stage

Updates from the Field: Bail Reform

katal speaks in nyc on the mass bail out

Last night, Trinity Church Wall Street hosted a training and teach-in for the Mass Bail Out action, held at St. Paul’s Chapel. Katal’s Senior Policy Manager, Marie Ndiaye, was one of the trainers and speakers on the panel.

Rikers has been historically known for corruption, inhumane conditions, and violence that affects not only the people detained there, but also the correction officers. The event included a panel discussion to address questions and concerns around the Mass Bail Out, and updates from activists on the ground. “I wish someone was there for me. You have the ability. Be there for them,” said Davon Woodley, who spoke from the heart as a formerly incarcerated person to the group of volunteers and activists gathered to take action with the Mass Bail Out.

We were grateful to be there with our colleagues from other orgs working on the bail out, including Wesley Caines, Thais Saunders, Katie Schaffer, Davon Woodley, and Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye (all listed, with Marie, in the above photo).

katal on the harlem stage

Last night, our Senior Justice Fellow for the Women and Girls Project, Donna Hylton, was on the Harlem Stage for a special event called Antigone in Ferguson. Conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson in 2014, the project fuses a dramatic reading by leading actors of excerpts from Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, with live choral music performed by a choir of activists, police officers, youth, and concerned citizens from Ferguson and New York City.

For the panel discussion, Ms. Hylton connected her experience as a formerly incarcerated woman of color to the underlying themes within the Antigone in Ferguson performance. She remarked afterward, “If we treat people inhumanely because of the color of their skin, what does that say about us?”

The performance is the catalyst for panel and audience-driven discussions on race and social justice, the core component of the event. The production offered a glimpse not only into the effects of the tragedy in Brown’s local community, but also the trauma of police violence and racial injustice in communities of color in New York and across the nation.

Presented by Harlem Stage and Theater of War Productions, Antigone in Ferguson was created through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, MO; it was translated and directed by Bryan Doerries and composed by Phil Woodmore. If you’d like to go see this performance, the show will run daily through October 13th (except Sundays and Mondays).

Performance Times:
Tuesdays–Fridays: 7:30PM
Saturdays: 3PM & 7:30PM
Free with RSVP

updates from the field: bail reform

Earlier this week, Ford Foundation hosted a discussion called Mass Incarceration: Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice. Our Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, gabriel sayegh, was invited to join, along with JustLeadershipUSA’s Lex Steppling and Vera Institute’s Insha Rahman to discuss bail reform and the Mass Bail Out that is currently underway.

As the action moves into the close of its first week of bail outs, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the network of grassroots groups have seen success in the first four days of bailing out women from Rikers Island. The Mass Bail Out has garnered the support of influential artists and cultural influencers, including Hip-Hop artist, Common, film director Ava DuVernay, Australian musician Sia, comedian Cristela Alonzo, and others.

At Rikers Island, on any given day, over 8,000 people are detained before conviction simply because they cannot afford their bail; 87 percent of them are Black or Latino. This action is an opportunity for New York to create real change. Individual freedom is a critical part of public safety, and it is imperative that our criminal justice system acknowledges that fact. If you’d like to become a partner of this action, sign on here and be sure to follow the action on twitter for updates.


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