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weekly update – april 10, 2020

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In this issue…

In-Car Protest at Gov. Lamont’s House: Free Them Now

COVID-19 on Rikers: Albany Must Act

Monthly Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Calls

In-Car Protest at Gov. Lamont’s House: Free Them Now 

On Monday, we organized a big protest action at Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s house to demand he immediately release people incarcerated in jails and prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a 100 people turned out in more than 50 cars — loved ones of incarcerated people, impacted community members, and community groups. In our cars, we lined up outside of Lamont’s mansion honking horns, and waving signs to protest his dangerous reluctance to protect children and adults in Connecticut prisons and jails. For an hour, we circled Lamont’s mansion chanting demands for him to take swift and aggressive action to decarcerate and flatten the curve of COVID-19 within the Connecticut Department of Corrections.

Katal Leader Josh Frazier – who led chants on the megaphone – at Sunday’s in-car protest.

Lamont has responded by offering to talk, but we demand that he act to save lives. Throughout the country, public health experts have called for the release of incarcerated people to reduce the impact of COVID-19, including doctors in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Both New York and New Jersey, along with states across the country, have all begun releasing people from jails and prisons to mitigate the spread. Even the Trump Administration is planning to release some people incarcerated in federal facilities in Connecticut to limit the harm caused by COVID-19 — but Governor Lamont still refuses to release people.

Katal’s Lead Community Organizer and protest organizer, Kenyatta Thompson.

Kris Wraight (left) and Eliza Brown, (right) both of New London, chant, “Gov. Lamont! Free them all!” while participating in Sunday’s protest we organized front of the governor’s mansion demanding the release of incarcerated people to save lives. 


Take action now to demand Gov. Lamont address the health and safety of incarcerated people in CT. Use this link to email and tweet Governor Ned Lamont, Connecticut Corrections, and the Judiciary Branch demanding they urgently release as many people as possible to stop the spread and impact of #COVID19.

As COVID19 spreads in CT jails and prisons, it’s more important than ever that the governor act to save lives. We’ll keep you posted about progress in Connecticut.

Organizing an action during COVID19 is new and different. If you’re organizing in-car or other out-of-the-house actions in your community, let us know, we’d love to learn about it.

COVID-19 on Rikers: Albany Must Act

As you know, we’ve been demanding that NY Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio release more people from jails and prisons in the face of COVID19. They are not moving swiftly enough. And now there’s been the first COVID19 related death of someone detained on Rikers Island, where the disease is spreading like wildfire.

Michael Tyson, 53, died due to COVID-19. He’d been detained on Rikers Island since February for an alleged technical violation of parole — the very type of problem we’re seeking to fix with the #LessIsMoreNY Act. Mr. Tyson shouldn’t have been at Rikers. No one should be, it must be shut down. But with COVID19 spreading rapidly, it is more important than ever that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio take action to decarcerate.

Monthly Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Calls 

Throughout this period, we will continue holding our monthly Statewide Criminal Justice Reform Calls for Connecticut and New York. These calls are not strategy sessions; they bring together organizers and advocates to share updates and discuss ways to align, coordinate, and support each other’s work to end mass incarceration. And in the midst of this pandemic, we are connecting with each other to continue our collective movement work for freedom and justice. Join us on an upcoming call!

Upcoming Calls & Links to Registration

Next Connecticut Call: Thursday, May 7, 2020, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Next New York Call: Thursday, May 14, 2020 – 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

For more information about the Monthly calls, please reach out!

This is a hard, complicated time for so many. Please be safe out there and  take care of each other. Keep practicing social distancing, 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. 

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