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weekly update – april 4, 2019

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In this issue…

Major Victory in New York

Connecticut: Strengthening Community Ties with our Member Base

Join Us in Congratulating Donna Hylton: Ann Atwater Award for Social Change Honoree

Major Victory in New York

Katal members alongside Donna Hylton, Senators Bailey and Benjamin, Kerry Kennedy, and DeAnna Hoskins (JLUSA).

Katal members and staff are thrilled to announce today that the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo have finally passed comprehensive pretrial reform legislation that enact dramatically reforms to discovery, speedy trial, and bail practices. This is a major victory for the movement to end mass incarceration in New York  This is a major victory for the movement to end mass incarceration in New York.

From our founding and launch, Katal’s first policy target in New York was to close the Rikers Island jail complex. We knew closing Rikers would require passing a comprehensive and complicated policy agenda in Albany calling for a complete overhaul of the pretrial system—discovery, speedy trial, and bail. And now, movements throughout the state have helped make that happen, bringing the closure of Rikers Island one step closer to reality. Overall, the reforms passed this weekend are a major development and will make New York a national leader on criminal justice reform.

Now, we must immediately turn toward effective implementation, while continuing the fight to finally end mass incarceration and structural racism in New York.

Read our full statement here. And — if you’d like a copy of our bill analysis, please email Community Organizer Cedric Fulton at

Connecticut: Strengthening Community Ties with Our Member Base

The Katal team and members gathers around for a candid shot at the Capitol.

Yesterday, a handful of our members participated in the Second Annual Reentry Day in Connecticut alongside our Community Organizers Kenyatta Thompson and Dajuan Wiggins. The group attended the Hope for Success: Returning Home Panel — which was an update from the Commission on Equity and Opportunity.

Dajuan Wiggins asking questions to speakers at yesterday’s Hope For Success Panel.

Our team shared our work in Hartford and beyond — particularly within communities– as they walked through the Legislative Office Building and State House. It was a great opportunity to be in public as a unit! As we heard from the panel, “We know Katal is here. We see the blue shirts.”

Community Organizer Dajuan Wiggins, our Intern Alex, alongside our members at last night’s monthly member meeting.

In the evening, we held our Connecticut Monthly Member meeting. Our members and Organizers outlined their upcoming 1:1s with community members, outlined dates of our 1:1 trainings and set goals for themselves for the number of people at the next Katal monthly meeting.

To get involved in our work in Connecticut, contact Kenyatta Thompson at or 860.937.6094.

Join Us in Congratulating Donna Hylton:

Ann Atwater Award for Social Change Honoree

Congratulations are in order for our very own Donna Hylton! Yesterday evening Ms. Hylton was honored with the Ann Atwater Award for Social Change — an acknowledgement of her work in the community for women and girls. The award was granted as part of the release of the upcoming film, The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson.

Our team is so proud of all of the work you have done and continue to do within the fight for equal rights and justice for women and girls. For many, you are truly the embodiment of the little piece of light that you once looked to.

If you haven’t already, be sure to pick up a copy of Donna’s memoir A Little Piece of Light at your local bookstore or purchase it online here.

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