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new york update – june 4, 2021

May contain a group of people holding signs on street. One sign reads FREE THEM NOW.

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In this issue…

Demanding Parole Reform with #LessIsMoreNY

ICYMI: George Floyd and Racism in America: One Year Later

Save the Date: Katal at 5

Demanding Parole Reform with #LessIsMoreNY

Only one week remains in New York’s legislative session this year, and with lawmakers setting their final agendas, we’re making an all out push to make sure #LessIsMoreNY is passed now!

This morning, THE CITY published a new article about #LessIsMoreNY – Death of Two Men at Rikers — One Held on Shoplifting Rap — Amplifies Push to Overhaul Parole Rules.  The article underscores the urgent need to pass #LessIsMoreNY this year.

Last Wednesday, we joined members of the Black Freedom Project NY and State Legislators including #LessIsMoreNY bill sponsor Senator Brian Benjamin, and Assembly co-sponsors Assemblymembers Pamela HunterLatrice Walker and Khaleel Anderson to rally in support of #LessIsMoreNY at a virtual press conference.

Katal Member Avion highlighted how New York State’s parole system has a significant impact on Black people, families and communities:

“The fact remains that I could be re-incarcerated for a technical parole violation at any given time for any given reason by my parole officer. Something as simple as being late for curfew, police contact or even a false anonymous report with zero credibility could cause me to get violated. Even more, we see the racial disparity that exists in New York, people of color are incarcerated for technical parole violations at a much higher rate than others.”

If you were unable to join us,

Our Wednesday press conference was followed by a #LessIsMoreNY Town Hall on Thursday night, where our Director of Organizing Kenyatta moderated a discussion on how parole impacts communities of color and what #LessIsMoreNY will do to limit racial disparities in the parole process with Assemblymember Latrice Walker, Donna Hylton from A Little Piece of Light, Kenneth Edwards of the Center for Employment Opportunities, Jermaine Archer from the Westchester Legal Aid Society, and Katal Member Della L. Smith.

Watch the #LessIsMoreNY Town Hall with Assemblymember Walker here!

And, we’re not done yet!

We’re kicking off next week with an in-person #LessIsMoreNY Rally on Monday, June 7 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm at 250 Broadway–  the Senate and Assembly’s NYC offices- to demand that #LessIsMoreNY is passed now! RSVP to join us on Monday!

Following our Rally, we are holding a Calling Targeted Legislators #LessIsMore Day of Action on Wednesday, June 9 from 11:30 – 1:00 pmRegister here to join!

Stay tuned for more on #LessIsMoreNY and take action now using our online contact tools:

In Case You Missed It: Last week, Kenyatta Muzzanni, Director of Organizing, penned this op-ed:  George Floyd and Racism in America: One Year Later

It has been just over one year since we witnessed the public murder of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department. The murder of Floyd, along with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others, sparked the largest protests in United States history. People took to the streets, demanding justice, from Connecticut and New York to California and Mississippi and D.C. and Chicago and all parts in between. Organizers, activists, and policy makers across the country also pushed legislative and community-driven changes aimed at curtailing police violence, defunding the police, and strengthening police accountability.

Even as our collective protests and organizing have continued, the number of Black and brown people murdered by police continues to grow. Even more, many of the proposed changes of 2020 are being watered down to more palatable reforms.

The insidious nature of white supremacy and systemic racism makes it so that our fight will not be won in a year; that work is ongoing and ever-changing. As we reflect on the last year of Uprisings and set our sights on the next iteration of one of the largest movements in our country’s history, we must not waver. We must not lose hope.

Every single one of us has a role in this fight as our struggle for collective freedom continues.

It is up to us to believe that we can win. As our Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Lorenzo Jones wrote last year, “the time to act has passed. It is time to DO.”

The work continues to build towards a future where we can all live freely.

Save the Date: #Katal5 Dialogue with Black Organizers

This year marks Katal’s five-year anniversary, and on Wednesday, June 16th from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., we’re hosting our next event in our Dialogue Series – can you join us?


For our next Dialogue, we’ll be joined by an amazing group of veteran Black organizers to discuss community organizing and the fight for equity, health, and justice:

  • Dr. Charlene Sinclair, Founding director of the Center for Race, Religion, and Economic Democracy (C-RRED) and the program coordinator for the Interfaith Organizing Initiative;
  • DeAngelo Bester, Executive Director, Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ;
  • Afua Atta-Mensah, Executive Director, Community Voices Heard;

In a conversation with Katal Co-Executive Director, Lorenzo Jones.

We’d love for you to join us. If you joined us for our first Anniversary Dialogue, you know it was amazing. Don’t miss out on this! Register at

Sign up for the Katal Connecticut Update

We announced in March that, after nearly 5 years, we’re ending the Katal Weekly Update, and moving to two separate email updates — one for New York, another for Connecticut. If you’d also like to keep up what we’re doing in Connecticut, please click here to sign up for the Katal Connecticut Update!

Keep practicing social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands, and check in on your neighbors. If you want to get involved, learn more about our work, or just connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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

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