VOCAL Guide to Your Week: Victory! Fair Chance Act Passes City Council

This Week

  • Thursday, 6/18: We are hosting our annual fundrasier to celebrate another year of building power and winning at our She's so VOCAL 2015 gala. Tickets start at $100. Buy a ticket here.

Week in Review

"Marilyn Scales, 52, said after the vote that her 1995 drug conviction had haunted her for 20 years. A Bronx activist with Vocal-NY, a social services group, Ms. Scales said she had just recently started a part-time job and had not had full-time work since she returned from prison. “That question,” she said, referring to a box to check for arrests and convictions on applications, “is discriminatory.” New
York Times

"Marijuana arrests are a gateway to mass incarceration," says Alyssa Aguilera, the political director of VOCAL-NY, a group that advocates for vulnerable New Yorkers, including those affected by the drug war. "The scale and racial disparity tell a story that marijuana is just a way that we can criminalize black and brown folks." Rolling Stone.

  • We responded to the tragic news of the death of Kalief Browder in the Huffington Post.

"Matt Curtis, policy director at the group Voices of Community Activists & Leaders New York, which opposes mass incarceration, said in a statement Monday that Browder’s death is “a tragedy that should have never happened, especially in a city that boasts its commitment to progressive values. The violence and injustice Kalief endured at the hands of the criminal justice system is inexcusable, and we should be ashamed of the rampant and unchecked violence in our jails and prisons,” said Curtis. “The system we have is designed to dehumanize people of color, people suffering from mental illness, innocent
people like Kalief Browder.” Huffington Post.

  • We got coverage in Capital New York, along with allies, calling for an end to big tax breaks for developers who don't build enough affordable housing, or pay a living wage.

What We're Reading

  • NYPD chief Bratton says hiring black officers is difficult: 'So many have spent time in jail'. (The Guardian) "Hiring more non-white officers is difficult because so many would-be recruits have criminal records, the New York police commissioner, Bill Bratton, has said. “We have a significant population gap among African American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as
    such, we can’t hire them,” Bratton said in an interview with the Guardian."
  • Correction Commissioner Calls Overhauling Rikers a ‘Long, Heavy Lift’. (New York Times) "A little over a year after hiring one of the country’s leading correction professionals to be commissioner, allotting tens of millions of dollars in additional funding and making jail reform a top political priority, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio can say with confidence that its plan to
    reduce violence at one of the island’s many jails, housing 179 adolescents, has worked. For five months now. That leaves 13 jails, with 10,000 inmates, to go.

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