Press Statements

VOCAL-NY Responds to President Biden Visiting NYC to Discuss Violence Prevention With Mayor Adams

February 3, 2022


Thursday, February 3, 2022


Mariah McGough,, 203 470 9979


This Evening, VOCAL-NY Members Will Gather With Allies From New York City Social Justice Groups to Call for Community Funding, Not Cops

NEW YORK — Today, President Biden arrived in New York City to discuss gun violence prevention with Mayor Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, and other elected officials, after he announced his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” which included a renewal of the anti-crime unit – a unit that played a role in the deaths of Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Saheed Vassell. In response to the discussion, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Alyssa Aguilera, Co-Executive Director:

“We can’t address violence with more violence — and that’s what police and jails bring to our communities every day. If President Biden and Mayor Adams are serious about public safety, they’ll quit with the fear mongering and make massive investments in the things that actually keep us safe: affordable housing, quality education, good jobs, and a robust social safety net. 

Reversing critical bail and discovery reforms and further bloating the NYPD will not make us more safe. President Biden should visit homeless shelters and Rikers to learn about the problems our communities face, and take the lead from directly impacted people on how to solve them.”

In 2019, the state legislature passed bail reform, which eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges. It also requires judges to consider a person’s ability to pay in cases where bail is set. Before its passage, thousands of New Yorkers languished in jail without being convicted of a crime simply because they could not afford to pay bail. Overall, bail reform lessened the role of cash bail in New York’s criminal legal system and led to significantly fewer people behind bars.

Bail reform caused an immediate—and significant—decrease in jail populations across New York State; numbers fell by nearly one-third in a matter of months. This means that people who, in the past, would have been in jail because they couldn’t afford bail were able to return to their families and their jobs while awaiting trial. These positive impacts were most heavily felt by Black New Yorkers and people living outside of New York City, who were most likely to be jailed before the reforms took effect. 

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