Dear Senator Flanagan, Senator Stewart-Cousins, Senator Klein, and all New York Senators, as well as Speaker Heastie and all New York Assembly Members:
WESPAC is writing to urge the New York Senate and the New York Assembly to pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, S.4784A/A.3080B, immediately. WESPAC recently invited Cynthia Williams to speak to our membership about solitary confinement. As an educational non-profit, we support the United Nations definition of solitary confinement as a form of torture.
The Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act, S.4784A/A.3080B, is a critical bill to remedy the harm of solitary confinement. It would end the torture of solitary confinement for all people in New York prisons and jails, and create more humane and effective alternatives.
Solitary confinement is torture. Thousands of people, disproportionately Black and Latinx people, remain in solitary in New York each day: 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs. People continue to spend months, years, and decades in solitary (including upwards of 30+ years) in New York. These conditions cause devastating physical, mental, and behavioral impacts. The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person, because it otherwise would amount to torture.
While Governor Cuomo has touted reforms to solitary, New York still has a higher percentage of people in solitary (5.8%) than the national average (4.4%) and much higher than states that have significantly limited solitary (less than 1% to 2%). HALT is the only legislation in NY that would address this problem, place total time limits on solitary, and end the torture of solitary for all people. Sincerely,
Nada Khader. WESPAC Foundation Director Executive Director WESPAC Foundation ... See MoreSee Less
On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, I was honored to be asked to speak at Riverside Church in Harlem, the church where 51 years ago to the day MLK Jr. spoke out...
It is with great pleasure and thanks to the efforts of Tracy Basile that I announce that we will have two Native American Elders open the social forum on April 22nd and lead the opening march:
Lakota elder, Lessert Moore, has been a "Sundance Chief for 45 years with extensive teaching experience at University of Arizona & New Mexico, UCLA and Aspen Institute. He is an indigenous rights activist and frontline activist of Wounded Knee and Standing Rock. He is very traditional in Lakota ways and welcomes everyone to his circle."
Owl (Steven Smith) of the Ramapough Nation is outspoken on issues currently confronting the Ramapough Nation. He has spoken widely on the importance of maintaining the Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp (called Standing Rock East) in Mahwah, New Jersey.
These two gentlemen from different Nations (Ramapough and Lakota) are representative of the coalition between Standing Rock and Split Rock, both working towards stopping the 'black snake' that propels oil production and pollution and drives climate change. They will also be presenting at the 4:15pm panel on Climate Justice at the social forum.
There are only five tabling space remaining for any group that would like to table at the social forum. Those who plan to attend are strongly requested to register ahead of April 22nd to avoid long lines at the registration table and can do so here: www.westchestersocialforum.org/register It is essential for all to register, especially if you have child care needs so that we can plan accordingly.
Please plan to arrive on campus by 12:15pm latest at 78 North Broadway in White Plains, NY 10603. We will have volunteers guiding you where to park. Lessert Moore will open up the forum at 12:45pm on the front lawn in front of the Good Counsel Chapel before we begin the opening march at 1pm. The planning committee has secured a permit with the local police department for this march that is under one mile and will make a loop in downtown White Plains. We will return to campus by 1:45pm in time for the opening plenary session in the Moot Court Room at Pace Law School which will start promptly at 2pm. At 2:40pm, we will segue to the workshops being offered in Ottinger Hall and listed here (please note the added description for the Climate Change panel): www.westchestersocialforum.org/workshops
We will close out the social forum with a sustainable fashion show and collective folkloric dance with Lisa Genn at 5:30pm in Tudor Hall.
Please help us share information about this largest social justice convergence in Westchester County by forwarding this email to your lists and by sharing our facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/826655807515066/
On behalf of the planning committee, we are all very much looking forward to welcoming you there. ... See MoreSee Less