Juneteenth Protest June 19 in Poughkeepsie

JOIN US FOR A JUNETEENTH STATEWIDE PROTEST TO #FREEnewyork. On June 19th, at jails and courthouses across the state, we will lift up the voices of directly impacted people and call out urgent injustice: Mass pretrial incarceration. Guilty until proven innocent. A price on our freedom. With Juneteenth actions in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, NYC, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island, we will shift the landscape in New York State and win real change. The time is now.

In Poughkeepsie, join us at the 236 Main Street (office of Dutchess County District Attorney Bill Grady)at 5:30 PM. From there we will march to Poughkeepsie City Court. With music, performance, and the power of collective voice, we will: 
  • Demand accountability from Governor Cuomo and NYS’s elected leaders.
  • Demand emancipation from a racist and discriminatory pretrial system.
  • Demand complete overhaul of bail, discovery and speedy trial laws.
  • Date: June 19th, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: 236 Main Street, Poughkeepsie 

June 19th, also known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day, commemorates the abolition of slavery. But as directly impacted communities know, we are not yet free.

Police Chief Thomas Pape to speak

City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Thomas Pape is scheduled to speak on the topic of procedural justice for 20 minutes tomorrow evening, June 6, at the Catherine Street Center, 152 Mansion St., Poughkeepsie during an open meeting of the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission. The meeting takes place from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Chief Pape's presentation is scheduled to begin at 6:20 PM. The full agenda of the meeting is here.

Thanks to Earl for calling Chief Pape's presentation to my attention,

Poor People's Campaign Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action Training

I'm sending out a reminder for Tuesday's event. Please join us!

Poor People's Campaign Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action Training
Tuesday, June 5
Family Partnership Center
29 N. Hamilton St. Poughkeepsie
Dinner & childcare provided

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP so we can have enough food on hand: bit.ly/hvppc6-5
If you can't attend, please consider a small donation here: http://bit.ly/BHAJustice
(BHA has generously offered to help offset the cost of providing dinner, through their Social Justice Fund).

And PLEASE SHARE! Forward this email to your network and print out the flyer to hand out.
More information about the campaign is on the flyer!

Beth Poague
9 West Church Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Beacon Prison Action events:

 * "Photo Requests from Solitary" at Beacon Library, June 9th-July 7th with opening reception Saturday the 9th, 5-7

  * Talk/Discussion in the gallery space, Thursday June 14th 6pm 

A combined flyer is attached. And the event is on FB at:https://www.facebook.com/events/1521352904641380/

I'd love your help in spreading the word, or to see you there!

Community Involvement Committee

The Community Involvement Committee of the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council is sponsoring a forum to provide an update on the Justice & Transition Center (the new jail), the recent Stabilization Center, the CJC's annual report for 2017, and more.

The forum will take place on Thursday, May 24, at 1 pm at the Catharine Street Community Center.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Shirly Adams by sending an e-mail to sadams@catharinecenter.org or calling 845-437-2272.

I hope that many folks from ENJAN can turn out to learn what's happening and to express our concerns!

“Bethlehem to Brooklyn: Breaking the Surface”

Protest for Fabian Marshall in Kingston, NY
-Friday, May 4, 7-8:30 PM. Film “Bethlehem to Brooklyn: Breaking the Surface” at the Holy Cross Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, 30 Pine Grove Ave, Kingston. Free Documentary spotlights the world of Latinx, African- American, and Palestinian teenagers struggling with the circumstances of their daily lives. They don’t resort to violence, but find a way to resist through activism. SPECIAL GUEST: Fabian Marshall, who was tased 21 times times by the Kingston Police, will talk about efforts to bring racial justice to our local communities. Sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response mideastcrisis.org, Hudson Valley BDS hudsonvalleybds.org, Jewish Voice for Peace - HV jvphudsonvalley.org, and Veterans for Peace. Contact: mecr@mideastcrisis.org or 845 876-7906

Samuel Harrell

Justice for Samuel Harrell

On April 21, 2015, correctional officers at our local prison beat to death Samuel Harrell.  Three years later, those same officers are not only free from criminal prosecution but are still on the job.

Please join Beacon Prison Action as we mourn Sam's death, call for accountability for this heinous crime, and organize toward systemic reform:

Three-Year Vigil Saturday, April 21st 6pm Polhill Park, Beacon (corner of Main St & 9D near Bank Square Cafe) Please come early to sign a letter to Cuomo.

White people as outraged?

A Starbucks arrest shows black Americans are robbed of their power

Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

Men arrested for ‘loitering’ had no choice but to keep their heads down, out of fear for their lives. For black people, it’s a familiar situation

Faith and Ee-Entry April 12

Thursday, April 12

6:00-9:00 p.m.
Catharine Street Community Center 

(69 Catharine Street, Poughkeepsie
(This event is being sponsored by

Dutchess County Interfaith Council, Inc. and
Dutchess County African American Clergy Association.) 

The Intersecton of Faith and Re-Entry:

The Role of Faith Communies in Helping
Formerly Incarcerated Through Faith-Based Initiatives

Inequities of mass incarceration are true in Dutchess too

Inequities of mass incarceration are true in Dutchess too

Geri Willmott, Valley Views
Published 1:29 p.m. ET April 4, 2018

More and more concerned citizens in this county and beyond believe our criminal justice practices need to align more closely with our constitutional rights. Recently in Poughkeepsie, Just Leadership USA (JLUSA) and #FREEnewyork co-sponsored a town hall along with our End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) and the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie. The event featured formerly incarcerated men and women who highlighted the inequities of mass incarceration for: Blacks, Latinos, women, the poor, the mentally ill, and addicts.

Picked up in a neighborhood sweep when she was a 20-year-old mother, Rasonia Squire explained through her tears why she gave up her right to a trial, and pled guilty to a felony, although innocent. “I had to get back to my daughter,” she repeated emotionally. Besides, ”I knew my family could not afford a lawyer,” she noted. Along with others on the panel, she revealed the shame of being arrested and having to tell her mother.

Full article:


MLK Visit to Cold War Berlin

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Visit to Cold War Berlin (1964)
Martin Klimke
Professor of History at NYU
Abu Dhabi
April 8, 2018 5:00 pm Aula,
Ely Hall, Vassar College

In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Professor Klimke will discuss the impact of Dr. King’s visit to Cold War Berlin in 1964. Klimke is the author of numerous books on transnational protest movements, processes of cultural transfer, and global networks of dissent. His most recent book is: Handbook of the Global Sixties.

Poughkeepsie poet Gold Wilkerson will recite one of her poems she wrote in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, March 22

The criminal justice reform committee of the Dutchess County Progressive Action Alliance (DCPAA) will meet on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 6:30  PM at the Boardman Road Library in the Town of Poughkeepsie. Agenda: Discussion with Steve Micchio, Executive Director of PEOPLE, Inc. about alternatives to incarceration for individuals suffering with mental health issues.

Right to Know Act

Voting Behavior and Punitive Policies

Prof. Ariel White, assistant professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver a lecture "Voting Behavior and Punitive Policies"  on Thursday, March 15, at 5:00 PM at SUNY New Paltz in Lecture Center, Room 102. Prof. White will discuss her research into two headline-generating trends that may at first glance seem unrelated: U.S. incarceration rates that are among the highest of any developed nation, and disaffection from government leading to low voter participation, including in New York State, which has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country. 

For more details, see here.



The public is invited to bear witness as the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship honors the graduates of its Coming Home Program on Tuesday, March 13 at 6 p.m. at the Fellowship, 67 South Randolph Avenue, Poughkeepsie. This is the third Coming Home class to graduate in as many years.

The Coming Home Life Skills Empowerment Program seeks to empower men and women who are returning from incarceration and is based on a well-established model carrying a track record of success and over a thousand graduates in the New York metropolitan area in the past two decades. Participants work with facilitators and mentors to support personal healing and growth, life skills development and reintegration into the community. It is sponsored by the UU Fellowship of Poughkeepsie, The Beck Institute on Religion and Poverty, and The Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.

Participants begin each Tuesday evening in the 19-week program by enjoying a communal dinner, served each week by a different local congregation. This is followed by meetings in which participants are matched with a mentor and explore life skills development, goal-setting, and sharing their personal stories. The program culminates in a graduation ceremony, to which all members of the community are invited to celebrate the achievements of each of the graduates.

The graduation ceremony will begin with coffee, desserts and snacks. There will be music and (short) speeches; the graduates will be invited to speak about their experiences in the program; and their mentors will share their experience of mentoring these extraordinary individuals.

The Coming Home Program is made possible in part by generous grants from the New York State Convention of Universalists, the Unitarian Universalist Association and The  Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, including:

The Jeannette F. Schlobach Fund
The Jonah Sherman Family Fund The Richard S. & Harriet K. Fein Fund
The Stevens Family Fund
The William & Marcella Teahan Memorial Fund

For more information, contact Pat Lamanna at patla42@gmail.com or 845-309-3853.

Upcoming Events of Interest

Dear friends, 
I would like to invite you to take part in the following events. Please also help spread the word by forwarding this message, sharing the Facebook events (linked below), and telling your contacts.

Thursday, March 8, 7:00-9:00, The Living Roots of Civil Rights
Library at the AJ Williams-Myers African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street, Kingston
Angeline Butler and Muriel Tillinghast will visit Kingston’s African Roots Library to share their insights into effective organizing, movement building, and non-violent activism, each one with over fifty years of experience on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. Join us as we honor the 58th anniversary of the first mass sit-in arrests in the south, February 27th, 1960 and the subsequent collaboration with the Highlander School around March 8th, that same year. Angeline Butler and Muriel Tillinghast both rode with the Freedom Riders, as part of a broad effort to secure mass transit rights for African-Americans. Muriel was also part of “Mississippi Summer” in 1964 to increase black voter registration. Their remarkable stories were recently published in the inspiring new book Hands on the Freedom Plow (from Illinois University Press). Music will be included. 

Sunday, March 18, 3:00-5:00, Film Screening: Dolores
Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, 300 Wall Street, Kingston
Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87. With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change. Directed by Peter Bratt.  The film is in English with Spanish subtitles. The screening will be followed by a community discussion (Spanish-English interpretation will be available). Snacks will be provided at this event!

Thursday, March 22, 6:30-8:30, Film Screening: Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker
Library at the AJ Williams-Myers African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street, Kingston
“The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.” --Ella Baker. From the Young Negro Cooperative league in 1930 to the NAACP in 1940 to the Southern Christian Leadership Council in 1957 to the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and on into the 1970’s and 80’s Ella Baker walked the walk, talked the talk, and did the work for the Black Freedom Struggle in America. She was not someone who looked for the spotlight. She was an organizer and a teacher who devoted her life to building the grass-roots organizations and developing the local leaders without whom the movement could not have been sustained. This is how she earned her nickname – “Fundi”, a Swahili word for a person who passes skills from one generation to another.

Sunday, March 25, 3:00-5:00, Sign-Making Party for the Black Women's March
Library at the AJ Williams-Myers African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street, Kingston
Join Rise Up Kingston and the LGBTQ Community for Racial Justice for a sign-making party for the Black Women's March on April 7th. Bring your poster board, art supplies, and friends! About the March: Black Women’s March: Continuing the Legacy of Harriet Tubman, We March Out of Love, Care and Concern for Our People!!! April 7th, 2018: CVS parking lot, corner of Broadway and Route 119, Tarrytown, New York. You can support the efforts here: www.callblackline.com

March For Our Lives (March 24)

Giving Life - LGBTQ & Black Excellence

Please join us this Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00 for Giving Life - LGBTQ & Black Excellence. See below for more details about the event.


Hi All,

I’m writing to let you know we are so excited to be welcoming our friends from The Tenth Zine (“Black, Gay and Unbothered”) to present this Sunday at 3 pm at Giving Life - LGBTQ & Black Excellence at the Center. Taking its name from a W.E.B DuBois essay titled “The Talented Tenth,” The Tenth is a biannual publication that champions black LGTBQ voices via photographic essays, in-depth interviews, prose, and events. Since the magazine’s first edition was released in 2015, it has received widespread acclaim for its presentation of counternarratives of black gay and bisexual lives, and for its ability to push boundaries and offer stunning visual imagery of and by black LGBTQ artists.

Khary Septh, the Editor in Chief, will be joined by two of the magazine’s creative directors to speak about the intricacies of the black gay experience and creative responses in the face of complex challenges—from digital engagement to classism—and examples of modern day trailblazers of Black Queer cultural resistance.

We hope to see you there!

Jake Salt I Director, Programs & Services
300 Wall Street I Kingston, NY 12401

Dutchess County Jail: one of the worst in NY

State report on Dutchess County Jail shows reforms are needed now

Rebecca Edwards, Valley Views Published 1:39 p.m. ET Feb. 19, 2018

Dutchess County Jail one of the worst in the state. 

Few of us check the news nowadays without a sense of dread. The Poughkeepsie Journal’s Feb. 14 headline hit particularly hard: “Report says Dutchess County Jail one of the worst in the state.” Yes, the state Corrections Department identifies our jail as one of the five worst in New York.

Full article:

Whose Streets? to show at Vassar College

Screening of Whose Streets?, a film that seeks to capture the narratives of Ferguson, MO residents in response to the murder of Michael Brown in 2014. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has been nominated for several awards. Following the screening, there will be a discussion with the director, Sabaah Folayan.

What: Screening and Discussion with Sabaah Folayan, director of Whose Streets?

When: Monday, February 26, from 5:30-8:00 pm

Where: Rockefeller Hall, Room 200, at Vassar College

The screening and discussion is open to the public.

Free Ahed Tamimi and Black Lives Matter in New Paltz

Michelle Alexander at Marist

Michelle Alexander -- highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, social justice advocate, and legal scholar -- will discuss the topic of her acclaimed best-seller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, at the Marist College Student Center on Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 PM. In the book, Alexander peels back the curtain on systemic racism in the American prison system to reveal how mass incarceration has come to replace segregation. Alexander's talk, which will be moderated by Marist faculty members Tia Gaynor and Jocelyn Smith Lee, will explore the myths surrounding our criminal justice system from a racial and ethical standpoint, and offer solutions for combating this epidemic.  

Seating in the Theatre will be by ticket only, and only Marist students and staff can obtain tickets. Seating with live-feed viewing will be available in SC 3101, SC3102-05, and the Cabaret. No tickets are required for live-feed viewing, and the public is invited to attend.

First Presbyterian Church of Beacon


Fri., Feb. 23, 2018

Doors open at 7pm, film at 7:30pm
This powerful film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as his personal observations of American history.

First Presbyterian Church of Beacon,  
McKinley Hall,
50 Liberty St., Beacon, NY 12508
Free Admission
Info: 845 838-2415

SUNY New Paltz

Doris Butterfield
Department of Black Studies 
Scholar's Mentorship Program 
Phone: (845) 257-2760

Meeting at Adriance Library, Poughkeepsie, 1 pm Saturday, February 24th!

Current Resolution:


WHEREAS, Dutchess County should formally declare itself to be a Welcoming County to create a more inclusive, receptive county environment for all local populations, and

WHEREAS, Dutchess County commits itself to protect, respect, and fulfill the full range of inherent human rights for all, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as drafted by Dutchess County's own Eleanor Roosevelt and numerous other international human rights instruments, and

WHEREAS, Dutchess County residents should be completely free from discrimination because of race, creed, national origin or ancestry, color, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, marital status, age, physical condition or disability in connection with employment, housing, public accommodations, financial practices, and credit transactions; free to protect their interest in personal dignity and freedom from humiliation; free to make available to the County their full productive capacities in employment; to secure the County against domestic strife and unrest which would menace its democratic institutions; to preserve the public safety, health, and general welfare; and to further the interest, rights, and privileges within the County, and

WHEREAS, Dutchess County has pledged reward workplace diversity, promote local industry, protect the environment, and promote equity through compliance with civil rights, and

WHEREAS, consistent with its responsibilities to its residents, Dutchess County has social and ethical obligations to take steps to avoid contracting with or investing in corporations or banks whose practices egregiously contradict efforts to create a prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable society; many municipalities across our country have already done this, including Ithaca, Buffalo, Albany, and New York City here in our state, New Orleans, Raleigh, Albuquerque, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Davis, and both Portland and Ashland in Oregon, and therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature calls for Dutchess County to be a Welcoming County and encourages the creation of a process to review direct investments and contracts for inclusion on, or removal from, Dutchess County's list of corporate securities, contractual partners, and the banks with which Dutchess County does business, according to the values of Dutchess County as referenced in this resolution, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive and Dutchess County Finance Commissioner

Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month,  on Thursday night, February 15th, 6:30pm, Odell WinfieldThe Jewish Congregation of New Paltz and The New Paltz Historical Society will be co-hosting a special screening of I Am Not Your Negro at the Jewish Congregation of New Paltz

Community Center, 30 North Chestnut Street, New Paltz. The film is a 2016 documentary directed by Raoul Peck, based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar EversMalcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as his personal observations of American history. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.

Michelle Alexander will deliver a lecture on The New Jim Crow on Thursday, March 1, at 7:00 -- 8:30 PM, in the Nelly Goletti Theater in the Student Center, Marist College.

For futher information, contact Kate Donham, 575-3629, kate.donham@marist.edu.

Need for a Prosecutorial Conduct Commission

Thu, January 25, 2018
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST

Peekskill High School
1072 Elm Street

Peekskill, NY 10566

The Peekskill NAACP Criminal Justice Committee and the Peekskill High School Black Culture Club invite all to an evening of education and discussion on the need for a Prosecutorial Conduct Commission.

Our Voices Matter! Prosecutorial Misconduct is an Illegal Act: Make it the Law in New York will raise awareness and expand an ever growing coalition of individuals and organizations pressuring the NYS Legislature to act on two pending pieces of legislation that would create a Prosecutorial Conduct Commission similar to the State's Judicial Conduct Commission.

A panel of five distinguished guests will share their expertise and personal accounts related to this issue: Dr. Leroy Gadsden, Dr. Bennett Gershman, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., Bill Bastuk, and Jeffrey Deskovic. This panel discussion will include opportunities for questions and comments from the audience.

Continuing MKL's struggle

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, it is important to remember that African Americans continue to face many of the same inequalities today that Dr. King gave his life to fight for decades ago.

Click here to read EPI’s new report titled, “Racial inequalities in wages, income, and wealth show that MLK’s work remains unfinished.”

There are three major indicators by which we commonly measure racial economic inequality: median hourly wage, median household income and median family net worth or wealth.

In 2016, the most recent year for which all of these data are available:
  • the median black worker earned 75 percent of what the median white worker earned in an hour ($14.92 for black workers, $19.79 for white workers);
  • the median black household earned 61 percent of the income the median white household earned in a year ($39,490 for black households, $65,041 for white households);
  • and the value of net worth for the median black family was just 10 percent of the value for the median white family ($17,600 for black families, $171,000 for white families).
The differences in median household income and median family net worth are major indicators that we are a long way from remedying the vestiges of racism and the centuries of federal, state and local policies that created these disparities.

Click here to read the full report, “Racial inequalities in wages, income, and wealth show that MLK’s work remains unfinished.”

Together, let us continue Dr. King’s struggle for equality and demand an economy that works for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or social class.

Thank you,

Valerie Wilson
Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, EPI

Weekend visits reinstated

I have some wonderful news: The weekend visits at the Dutchess County Jail have been reinstated!

"Mission Accomplished," as stated by Pastor Bottoms.
Job well done ENJAN-Pok!  Thank you all. Thanks to the UU and all the churches,  leaders and Pastor Bottoms who supported our efforts.

Pass it on!!

Your sister in Solidarity,
Ray Ray