December 26, 2017

Dec 29

Odell asked me to announce that we are celebrating Kwanzaa on Friday, Dec. 29, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Library, 43 Gill St., Kingston. Everyone is invited. 

December 10, 2017

Dear SURJ members

Dear SURJ members,

There are three Citizen Action-sponsored events next week, which all take place in front of Kingston City Court at 1 Garraghan Drive. We need to show up for these young people! On Monday morning (Dec 11) we are standing with Aleesa, one of the two girls assaulted by KPD last month, from 8:15-9:15 a.m.

On Tuesday (Dec 12), we are standing with Aleesa's friend Antoinette, from 8:15-9:15 a.m.. and that same day, Tuesday (Dec 12) we are standing with Adrin Brodhead from 11:15-12:30.

Can you make one or more of these events? Can you tell a few friends? Also, if you are able to make reminder calls this weekend, please let me (Michelle) know. Each list is about 20 calls and it goes quick.


In solidarity,

November 29, 2017

Inviting members of ENJAN

Dear Colleagues at ENJAN,

I would like to invite members of ENJAN to two events at Vassar this week with Professor Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve.  Professor Van Cleve is author of Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court (Cook County, Illinois).  She did many hours of court observations in Chicago.  Considering ENJAN's court observation work, I believe members might find her lecture useful.  Her lecture is Thursday, November 30th at 5:30 p.m., in Sanders Classroom 212 Spitzer Auditorium.  I've attached the flyer.  All are welcome--no RSVP necessary.  

Second, you are also invited to a workshop with Professor Van Cleve in a smaller setting to discuss court watching and other strategies for community members, professors, and students, and anyone else hoping to reform and bring about changes in the justice system. The workshop is Friday, December 1st, 12:30-2p, in the ​Dome Room (212) in the Old Observatory. If anyone is interested in attending this event (lunch is provided), please RSVP to Patricia Mathis ( , 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Quincy Mills, Director of Africana Studies, Vassar College (

Thank you,

November 15, 2017

Haiti Action Committee

Activist Radio (5 - 6 pm) has the following guest on this Thursday:
GUEST: Leslie Mullin, social justice activist, member of the San Francisco-Bay Area based Haiti Action Committee and author of "How the U.S. Crippled Haiti’s Domestic Rice Industry," talks about the struggle against US imperialism in Central America and the implications of race and neoliberalism.
The interview can be heard this Thursday at 5 pm on 91.3 FM, or this Sunday at 5 pm from the Progressive Radio Network PRN.FM. You can also hear it streamed live from Each show is posted on the ClassWars website for the next ten weeks. Simply click on the date to listen.
Activist Radio

November 11, 2017

Racial Politics in the US

Activist Kamau Franklin on Why Black America Favors the Establishment

Wednesday Jul 19, 2017 · 4:01 PM EDT

Daniel Falcone: What do you think are the reasons and the implications for the Democratic establishment to so readily count on African-American votes? And what are your thoughts on the hopes and prospects that black people can abandon this wing of the party, like take say, supporting a more progressive Sanders type message?

Kamau Franklin: There has been a marriage of convenience between the Democratic Party and the collective voting bloc of Black people that long ago gave up on anything substantive. The historical shift of black people from the Republican Party of Lincoln to the lukewarm embrace of the Kennedy Democrats was one-hundred years in the making. 
Within the two parties, the amount of open hostility has determined which mainstream politic black people will engage in to find some expression of non-threatening acceptance. When Kennedy, Johnson and the elite black civil rights leaders [not MLK] began to strike bargains to open-up society, the tacit exchange was to bring black votes to the Democratic Party, where it’s now become the de-facto home for the vast majority of the participating black electorate.

Finally the black “liberal” leadership class of ministers, elected officials, pundits, public intellectuals, and moneyed black elites, who have the greatest interest in stability and the status quo, benefit the most from this arrangement with the Democratic Party. Most have no vision or interest in pushing a black agenda that does more than ask for acceptance or a lessoning of open racial hostility.

The flaw in the Sanders campaign is that he saw himself as a message candidate first and not an electable candidate. If he saw himself as an electable candidate he would have put more resources and spent more time cultivating black votes, while figuring out how to get around that black-leadership class that had a thirty year relationship with the Clintons and their brand of Democratic bargaining.

The two corporate parties won’t change and care for black majority interests. Black people have witnessed a black President having a limited ability to shape policy that advanced black majority interests replaced by someone openly hostile to those limited policy changes. This is an opening for black people to think about our relationship to America.

Full article at:

October 28, 2017

We're hiring for our next Campaigns

We're hiring for our next Campaigns Team Cohort building Black political power, and we're thinking you or someone you know might be the people to join us.  

So many of our staff, myself included, were Color Of Change members like you before we joined the team. So, if working with a passionate Black-led team to make a real impact in the world is your dream--don't be shy, apply! The deadline is Sunday! 

7 amazing positions are open in Oakland, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC! The deadline is approaching FAST! So spread the word quickly!
--Rashad and the rest of the Color Of Change team
Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

October 1, 2017

Whitewashing and erasing of the national anthem movement

The whitewashing and erasing of the national anthem movement began in earnest this week. While we saw many players take emotional stands for racial justice, many teams, owners, and media outlets began to erase Colin Kaepernick and racial justice from this protest movement in favor of vague statements about “unity.”

From Roger Goodell’s weak rebuke of Trump’s comments, to owners Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, and Shahid Khan using the protests as a photo-op, to Sports Illustrated erasing Kaepernick by leaving him off their athlete activism cover, to teams like the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints being pressured into standing for the anthem, it’s clear that those in charge want to avoid the much-needed conversation regarding police brutality and racial justice.

With these efforts to erase the core message behind the anthem protests, and the ongoing blackballing of Kaepernick, it’s critical that we reaffirm what these protests are about and not let the league off the hook. They are about ending police brutality and racial justice. And the league has been given a concrete plan by their own players for how to engage and use their considerable resources to make a difference in the fight against police brutality and racial injustice. It’s time for the NFL to move past words and meaningless displays of “unity” and support the Support Players’ Platform for Racial Equality and Criminal Justice Reform.

Until justice is real, 

-- Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Jade, Corina, Johnny, Chad, and the rest of the Color Of Change team.

September 25, 2017

Support of Adrin Broadhead - please come!

this is just a quick reminder about the next 2 events coming 
up in support of Adrin Broadhead - please come!...Susan H.

Tuesday, 9/26, 4 PM
Rally outside of KPD Police Commission meeting
Adrin's case (and others of interest) are on today's agenda
1 Garraghan Drive, Kingston

Tuesday, 10/3, 8:15 AM
Stand with Adrin at his next court date
Rally outside of Kingston City Court 
1 Garraghan Drive, Kingston
More background info here (the 9/12 FB event post):

September 10, 2017

Sign Petition for Michael Bennett

To: Las Vegas Police Department

Tell Vegas PD: Release the video and names of officers that assaulted NFL player Michael Bennett

Tell Vegas PD: Release the video and names of officers that assaulted NFL player Michael Bennett
Release the names of the officers and footage from the police assault on NFL player Michael Bennett on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

September 5, 2017


Dear DCPAAers [Dutchess County Progressive Action Coalition],

A big THANK YOU to all who helped make our Sept. 3 event a huge success. We hosted a group of about 20 marchers going from NYC to Albany to advocate for criminal justice reform. They arrived on Sunday, September 3, shortly after our service ended, having been driven most of the way from Newburgh due to a cold, driving rain. That evening, many of you came to help set up for dinner and the program afterward, and brought an abundance of food unlike anything we'd ever seen at the Fellowship. There was help setting up and breaking down, cleaning up, and so much more!

Then there was breakfast provided by DCPAA-- what a feast! I have to confess, the marchers couldn't possibly eat it all, and took some with them the next morning, but a fair amount went to homeless shelters and other local people in need, which I know you would approve of. But thank you so much for coming through practically last minute with so much food and help!

I didn't find out until yesterday that the marchers didn't need bedding; they had brought their own. I hope everyone gets back the bedding they brought, and thank you for that as well.

I would love to name everyone who helped but I know I'd forget someone, so thanks to all of you -- you know who you are!

Pat Lamanna and Nick Garin, co-chairs
Social Justice Committee, UU Fellowship of Poughkeepsie

August 31, 2017

March and film: Alliance for Families March of Justice

Sun, Sep 3 from 6 - 7:30 pm. Alliance for Families March of Justice Coalition for Women Prisoners and Correctional Association of NY presents a short film: Strength of a Woman followed by discussion. Unitarian Universalist, 67  South Randolph Ave, Poughkeepsie.

Here is the address we will meet and leave from on Sunday, 9/3 to march to Poughkeepsie. Please arrive by 9:00 am so you can register or so you can check in if you are already registered.

Beacon Light Tabernacle SDA
1568 NY9D
Wappinger Falls, NY 12590

The March for Justice is an undertaking by the Alliance of Families for Justice–NY (AFJ-NY) to bring attention to human rights abuses in New York State prisons and jails. The March started in New York City on August 26, 2017, is coming through the Mid-Hudson Valley, and will culminate in a press conference and rally in Albany on Sept. 13, 2017, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica uprising and massacre. 

Sun, 9/3, 6:00: 
Strength of a Woman: Film and Discussion about justice for victims of domestic violence who are charged for fighting back. Potluck Community Meal at 4:30, UU Fellowship, 67 S. Randolph Ave, Poughkeepsie

Mon, 9/4, 4:30: Barbecue and Potluck Dinner followed by the Red Thread Ceremony, Valerie Eagle from the TMI Project, and Mindful Movement with Micah Blumenthal. New Paltz Reformed Church, 92 Huguenot St, New Paltz.

Tue, 9/5, 4:30: Potluck Community Meal, New Progressive Baptist Church, 8 Hone Street, Kingston followed by self-care and celebration at The Kirkland, 289 Fair Street, Kingston

Wed 9/6, 6:00: Profiled: Film Screening and Discussion about racial profiling and police brutality followed freedom songs with Reggie Harris and Rabbi Jonathan. Trinity Episcopal Church, 32 Church St, Saugerties.

For more details,

August 25, 2017

Beacon Prison Action

Rally for Justice
Thursday, August 31st 6:30 p.m.

Join Beacon Prison Action next Thursday at the Rally for Justice in Peekskill.  We will be welcoming the participants of the March for Justice, who will be marching from NYC to Albany to bring attention to human rights abuses in the prison system.  

Peekskill Presbyterian Church
705 South St.
Speakers will include:
Beacon Prison Action, Peekskill NAACP, and
the Alliance of Families for Justice

In light of the state's refusal to bring charges in the murder of Samuel Harrell, we must continue to highlight the atrocities endemic in the prison system.  Let us give strength and support to these marchers who share in the struggle and will be bringing this message to Albany.

Those interested in carpooling may contact Emily Joslin-Roher at to arrange rides to and from the rally.

August 14, 2017

Denounce Hate, Celebrate Love

Denounce Hate, Celebrate Love
In front of Dutchess County Office Building 
Poughkeepsie, NY 12580

Tuesday, August 15, 6:00 PM 
We are standing in solidarity with Charlottesville. Join us. Bring a candle. Bring a sign. Bring your hearts, your minds, your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers-- everyone you know. See you in front of the Dutchess County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie Tuesday, Aug. 15th at 6 pm-- after a bit we'll walk down to 44/55 and hold our signs there. Info: 845-464-2245

August 11, 2017

ACLU and the Right to Know Act

Testimony of the New York Civil Liberties Union Before City Council Public Safety Committee in Support of the Right to Know Act
June 29, 2015

The New York Civil Liberties Union (“NYCLU”) respectfully submits the following testimony in support of Intro. 182 and Intro. 541, collectively known as the Right to Know Act. We also include comments on several of the other bills being considered today.

August 4, 2017

Friday at 8 pm, rally for Sam Harrell

Dear members,

  We write with devasting news from the Department of Justice: no criminal charges will be filed against the correctional officers who killed Sam Harrell by either the federal or county prosecutor.

  Please meet us at Beacon High School at 8pm tomorrow for a small, but heartfelt protest: FRIDAY 8PM. Bring signs (or just yourselves) and we'll walk along the sidewalk to the boundary of the Fishkill prison.

      We at Beacon Prison Action are horrified that the Dutchess County DA and the Department of Justice have decided not to pursue any charges against the officers who killed Sam Harrell, ensuring that the deep culture of violence in our state prisons and the utter lack of accountability for corrections officers will continue.

July 31, 2017

"An Evening of Real History"

Pierre Leroy speaking on the subject of the Haitian Revolution, at the "An Evening of Real History" event, at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center, in Kingston, NY, on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Photo by Jim Peppler. Copyright/Jim Peppler-2017.

COPYRIGHT:Jim Peppler 2017


July 27, 2017

Second Annual ENJAN Gathering

ENJAN's Second Annual Regional Gathering on Saturday, August 5 from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm, with optional March for Justice workshop at 10:30 am.

At this regional gathering, we will have an opportunity to build our connections, discuss key issues, and think together about how we might support each other's efforts into the future.

Location: Christ the King Episcopal Church, 3021 State Rt. 213 East, Stone Ridge. (Same venue as last summer.)

Please bring a dish to share.  We encourage everyone to bring their own dishes and silverware to decrease our environmental impact.

Schedule of Events
10:30 March for Justice Workshop- presented by Colia Clark
11:30 Introductions & Welcome
12:45 Potluck lunch and BBQ
2:15 Breakout groups
3:30 Closing

Join us for the March for Justice Workshop at 10:30 am! Colia Clark will be kicking off the event by discussing the March for Justice in the context of the criminal justice system today and its relationship to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

July 24, 2017

What’s Happening This Week?

What’s Happening This Week?
Tuesday, July 25th, 8:30 a.m.
Kingston City Court (1 Garraghan Drive)
Solidarity Against State Sanctioned Violence

On July 20th, a 24-year-old Kingston resident was walking home from work when police stopped him to question where he was going, and where he had been. They asked him what was in his hand, and he was holding a beer. 3 - 4 cop cars arrived and because he had no identification on him, the officers kept asking him to repeat his name. A cop came up behind him and tried to put his hands behind his back. Before he knew it, he was face down on the ground. 

While on the ground, curled up in a fetal position, he was pepper sprayed and tased by officers of the Kingston Police Department. He is bruised, scratched and swollen. 
His charges were: Littering, Open Container and Resisting Arrest. 

On Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. he is scheduled to appear in court, and we must send a message of support and solidarity, and let the  Kingston Police Department know that we won't accept this behavior. #BlackLivesMatter !

July 23, 2017

Evening of Real History July 29

Great event Saturday, July 29th, 6:30 at African Roots Library, 43 Gill Street, Kingston.  Pierre will we speaking about the Haitian Revolution.  Hope you can come.  Terry Leroy

June 12, 2017

Saturday, June 17th, 5:00 p.m.

Juneteenth: Keeping History Alive, Remembering Those Who Stood Up
Saturday, June 17th, 5:00 p.m.
8 Hone Street, Kingston, N.Y. (New Progressive Baptist Church)
This co-sponsored event commemorates the anniversary of the day the last slaves in Galveston Island, Texas were freed -- two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. Today, we celebrate the spirit of justice and freedom by recognizing community members who continue to fight for these standards. This year’s celebration will feature guest speakers, a theatre presentation, and two special tributes: We will be thanking  Drew Andrews of Kingston’s Center 4 Community Education for using art as a means of empowerment and bringing his love of dance to our schools and streets.  (If you have seen a hip-hop performance at any of Kingston’s festivals in the last ten years or so, chances are Drew was behind it.) We will also be celebrating Journey Truth, who has devoted her 105 (and counting!) years of life to speaking out for equality. 
To learn more about the history of Juneteenth, check out this article.
For the full event details and to R.S.V.P, click here.

May 23, 2017

Movement For Black Lives

Land is Power. Land is Liberation. Land is The Commons.
On Juneteenth 2017 (Monday, June 19th) Black people across the country will take back land and reclaim space, from vacant lots to empty school buildings. We are taking back land that should be used for the good of the people; land that has historically been denied to Black people. Through these actions we will confront the institutions and individuals that have been built off the extracted wealth of Black people and Black land.

Click here to join the call.

This is an open call, led by the Black Land & Liberation Initiative, to Black folks to launch actions in their own communities, or to join actions that are being planned.

Learn more about this initiative on the BLLI info call Wed, May 24th at 5pmPST/8pmEST.  For more info read the manifesto.

Movement For Black Lives

May 12, 2017

NYS NAACP call for justice



1. On April 21, 2015, Mr. Samuel Harrell a non-violent African American Inmate (bi-polar) was involved in a confrontation with New York State Correction Officers at Fishkill Prison.  A confrontation that led to Mr. Harrell being beaten to death by numerous correction officers.  

2. Prior to the fatal beating by correction officers, Mr. Harrell was not charged or accused of any type of weapons related offense.

3. After the beat down, correction officers called for an ambulance, but according to medical records, the officers mentioned nothing about a physical encounter. Rather, the records showed, they told the ambulance crew that Mr. Harrell probably had an overdose of K2, synthetic marijuana.

4. An autopsy report by the Orange County medical examiner concluded that Mr. Harrell, 30, had cuts and bruises to the head and extremities and had no illicit drugs in his system, and died of cardiac arrhythmia, “following a physical altercation with corrections officers.”

5. The Orange County Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.

6. The New York State Correction Department has failed to take any type of appropriate disciplinary actions against the officers and supervisors who not only appeared to beat Mr. Samuel Harrell to death but lied in an attempt to conceal and or justify their actions.

(18 months and counting)

May 5, 2017

Undoing Racism Training

Subject: Hudson Valley Leaders Organizing Training for Undoing Racism

Challenged by How to Deal with Race Issues in Your Organization? 
Concerned about the Impact of Race and Racism in our HV Communities?

We invite you to take part in a half-day of organizing training led by Ron Chisom, co-founder of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB). Ron will bring several PISAB  northeast organizing leaders to share insights and years of experience organizing to undo racism across the nation.

Date, Time and Place:
Saturday, May 20th  10:00am – 3:00pm 
The Sharpe Reservation
436 Van Wyck Lake Road, Fishkill, NY 12524

Cost: $10 includes lunch
This is an invitation-only event for HV organizing leaders.
Please RSVP by May 13, 2017 to:

 Tracy Givens Hunter (
or, Pete Heymann (

Session participants will engage in a comprehensive exploration of how we as anti-racist organizers and social justice activists can gain organizing skills, strategies and tactics to better lead the effort to bring Undoing Racism Workshops back to the HV.

Undoing Racism Workshops are unique 2 1/2 day workshops offered by The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national, multiracial, anti-racist network from New Orleans dedicated to ending racism in our lifetime.

Now in its 38th year, PISAB has provided training, consultation, and leadership development to more than 500,000 people in organizations nationally and internationally.

The PISAB analysis moves beyond a focus on the symptoms of racism to an understanding of what Racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it still persists and how we can effectively organize to Undo Racism in our communities.

Key areas of discussion will include:
1. Assessing where we are in our level of organizing skills
2. Hearing success stories strategies and tactics
3. Learning from History
4. Sharing organizing experience
5. Organizing to Undo Racism

Let’s gather together to organize to Undo Racism. 

Please RSVP now.


Peter Heymann