July 30, 2020

Celebrate, learn, and discuss the Right To Know Act today

ENJAN is sponsoring a gathering to celebrate, learn, and discuss the Right To Know Act today, Thursday, July 30, at 6:30 PM at Earline Patrice Park (formerly Mansion Square Park)165 Mansion Street, Poughkeepsie.

The City of Poughkeepsie just passed the Right To Know Act (RTKA) which will require City of Poughkeepsie police officers to identify themselves, explain the reason for the stop, and provide a business card. Join us t learn more about this campaign and your rights, and to discuss local police reform moving forward. Wear your mask, and bring something to sit on.

Pleasant Valley march (thanks, Shannon)

Thank you for your advocacy related to Pleasant Valley march on July 18th. I’m writing to inform you that your calls for advocacy have worked. 


At the August 6 meeting of the Dutchess County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee the 


Public Safety Committee of Dutchess County Legislature

August 6 5:30 pm

A link is here to watch it virtually (because of COVID, the public is not in attendance and many legislators are joining by Zoom).  

July 21, 2020

From a report given by John Lewis to SNCC in 1965 (thanks to Ben Mabie)

"It matters not whether it is in Angola, Mozambique, Southwest Africa or Mississippi, Alabama, Goergia, and Harlem. The Struggle is one of the same. . Call it what you may - racial segregation, social, economic and political exploitation, or what the Freedom Fighters in South Africa are demanding an end to. . .imperialism and colonialism. It is a struggle against a vicious and evil system that is controlled nad kept in order for and by a few white men throughout the world."

From a report given by John Lewis to SNCC in 1965

July 18, 2020

Keep up the pressure

Dear friends,

Thank you so much for writing Dutchess County's legislators to urge that bonds for the new jail project be rescinded. Over 500 people emailed us, almost as many more signed petitions, and the chair said he answered 55 phone calls. We've never seen anything close to that level of public input. 

As you may know, the Republican majority didn't heed our pleas. The Budget Committee voted to keep the bond authorization (the 8 Republicans voted for, the 4 Democrats against).  The result is very disappointing, but there are several steps we can take.

First, we encourage everyone to keep up the pressure and continue to contact the County Executive, urging him to reconsider or at least scale back the jail project. The bonds are not yet issued and the county is not obligated to issue or spend the full amount. ...
- Democratic caucus, Dutchess Co. legislature

July 16, 2020

GUEST: Kwame Holmes, PhD, Scholar in Residence, Human Rights Program, Bard College

Activist Radio has the following guest on this week:

GUEST: Kwame Holmes, PhD, Scholar in Residence, Human Rights Program, Bard College, and author of numerous articles about race and LGBTQ rights, talks about Black Lives Matter and how local actions can create lasting change.

Activist Radio is broadcast: Thursdays 5-6 pm from WVKR 91.3 FM at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY; Sundays 4-5 pm from WIOF 104.1 FM in Woodstock, NY; and Sundays 5-6 pm from the Progressive Radio Network at PRN.FM. It will also be posted on the ClassWars website for the next ten weeks. Simply click on the date to hear it.


Activist Radio


July 15, 2020

Black Lives, Black Freedom & the Indivisibility of Justice

The first conversation will be held a week from today, on Tuesday, July 21, 10 am PST, 1pm EST, 8pm Lebanon and Palestine. These conversations will also be streamed live on the Facebook page of AMED and Al-Adab.

As Mayor of Minneapolis, I Saw How White Liberals Block Change

"The not fully said bottom line of his [police officer's] message was clear: White liberals like me ask the police to do our dirty work — dealing with the racial and economic inequities our policies create. Normally, we turn a blind eye to the harsh methods that many of them use to achieve our goal of order, pretend that isn’t what we’ve done and then act surprised when their tough-guy behavior goes viral and gets renewed scrutiny.

Whatever else you want to say about police officers, they know — whether they articulate it neatly or not — that we are asking them to step into a breach left by our bad policies. The creation of more-just systems won’t guarantee the prevention of atrocities. But the status quo in cities, created by white liberals, invites brutal policing."

July 13, 2020

Common Council Votes "Yes"

WE DID IT!!  All the hard work, patience and persistence has paid off! ENJAN has been the driving force behind the passage of the Right to Know Act in the City of Poughkeepsie!! And tonight EVERY MEMBER OF THE COMMON COUNCIL VOTED YES!! It was unanimous!!

We have taken a step toward police accountability and transparency. But we have more work to do.

It has been an honor and a joy to work with all of you. And I look forward to our continued work together.


TODAY is the VOTE!

Shannon sent the following reminder: 

TODAY is the VOTE!   TODAY is our moment, in this movement!
Support the Right to Know Act tonight!!  This bill will increase police accountability and transparency.

·       Sign up to speak public comment, thank the sponsor, especially if they are your representative and say a couple words in support of the Right to Know Act. The sponsors are  Chair Sarah Salem (at large), Menist (Ward 2), Petsas (Ward 1), L. Johnson (Ward 3), Brannen (Ward 4) , Flowers (Ward 5), and Cherry (Ward 6).
·       Use this moment to ask for additional changes such as civilian review or a shift in funding from armed officers to a civilian led crisis response team.
·       Remember to email dflynn@cityofpoughkeepsie.com and ssalem@cityofpoughkeepsie.com by 5:00 pm Monday to sign up for public comment.

·       register here to listen to the meeting.


·       Contact Mayor and tell him you support the Right to Know Act. This is a very important step to ensure that he does not veto our legislation.

We have done amazing work fighting for this legislation! Members of ENJAN have had a dozen meetings with city council members and members of law enforcement. We have done our best to share information about this bill with the community. We have benefited from the support of our allies at Community Voices Heard, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson , Celebrating the African Spirit and many more.  Recently the members of the DSA and HV Black Lives Matter have supported our work. Together we can transform policing!! There is much more work to do!! TONIGHT, let’s hope we can celebrate a victory!

July 10, 2020

Out There Without Fear: Jamaica’s Dancehall

43 Gill St | Kingston
Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion
Saturday, July 11 at 4p | Online

"Out There Without Fear: Jamaica’s Dancehall" explores the global impact of Jamaica’s Dancehall dancers and their struggle for local recognition. The 45-minute documentary will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with documentary filmmaker Joelle Powe, Professor Emerita Carolyn Cooper and Adjunct Dance Lecturer Maria Hitchins.

Why Abolish the Police?

Kwame Holmes is Scholar-In-Residence at the Human Rights Project at Bard College and a contributor to Kingston Resilience Group's Neighborhood Pods initiative. Follow him on Twitter @KwameHolmes.

Why Abolish the Police?

When you first heard about the movement to abolish the police, did something clench up inside? Same here. Many find the notion bewildering, unthinkable: How would society function? In defense, we step back from that abyss of uncertainty and erect a wall of rationality. "Abolishing the police is crazy," we assure ourselves, in an unsettling echo of the president's Twitter feed. At our most charitable, we afford the concept a rash idealism made understandable by the narcotic effects of marches and tear gas. Inevitably though, we settle for the "undeniable reality" that abolishing the police is "impossible" and that we must "first" try reform.

But perhaps we've got it backwards. New York State has just repealed law 50-a, a landmark victory for open government and police reform advocates. In its wake, citizens can use Freedom of Information requests to study an officer's disciplinary record. Unfortunately, robust transparency laws in Illinois have failed to significantly reduce police violence in Chicago. Eric Garner lost his life in 2014 to a chokehold the NYPD outlawed in the 1990s. Nine hours of de-escalation training did not deter Rayshard Brooks's killer from reaching for his gun after failing to apprehend a fleeing suspect. Body cameras lack the authority to prevent officers from turning them off.

Read the rest at the Chronogram:


No Way to Treat a Child Campaign: video of June 16 Zoom event

 “Children in Detention,” an introduction to the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign. A ZOOM panel featuring Kwame Holmes, PhD, Scholar in Residence, Human Rights Program, Bard College, and Shaina Low, U.S. Advocacy Officer at Defense for Children International, Palestine, will discuss systemic mistreatment, abuse and arrest of Black American and Palestinian youths in the US and Israel. 

We recommend two short films, "Arrested for Being Black” (13 min) and “Detaining Dreams” (21 min) as resources to watch ahead of time. Sponsored by Jewish Voice For Peace - Hudson Valley, Mideast Crisis Response, Veterans For Peace, and Women in Black - New Paltz. 

Short films:

July 9, 2020

Stuart Schrader, research scientist in sociology at Johns Hopkins University

Activist Radio has the following guest on this week:

GUEST: Stuart Schrader, research scientist in sociology at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship, and author of "Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing," talks about the racist connections between foreign and domestic policy when it comes to law enforcement. 

Activist Radio is broadcast: Thursdays 5-6 pm from WVKR 91.3 FM at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY; Sundays 4-5 pm from WIOF 104.1 FM in Woodstock, NY; and Sundays 5-6 pm from the Progressive Radio Network at PRN.FM. It will also be posted on the ClassWars website for the next ten weeks. Simply click on the date to hear it.


Activist Radio

July 7, 2020

Culture of anti-Blackness and the economic inequality

The police murders of Black people, and the demonstrations against systemic racism that followed, placed a spotlight on the nation’s long history of anti-Blackness. As protestors flood the streets to call for social, political, and economic change, the similarities between Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement become clear. Both movements, despite being 60 years apart, demand policy reforms that advance justice, racial equity, and accountability for those in power.
Join the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), as we examine why policy must be changed in order to reverse the nation’s culture of anti-Blackness and the economic inequality surrounding it. EPI Distinguished Fellow Richard Rothstein will discuss his book, The Color of Law, followed by a panel discussion on reshaping the country into one that values Black lives and bolsters economic opportunities for all.  

Register for the webinar on reshaping the country into one that values Black lives and bolsters economic opportunities for all.

July 4, 2020

Background on jail conversation

Attached is an info sheet providing more background on the jail conversation, as well as a link to the most recent Democratic Caucus 'Dutchess Voice' newsletter that focuses on the jail issue. We'll continue to provide updates via the 'Dutchess Voice' as the issue progresses.  Link below--you can sign up for news at www.dutchessvoice.com/subscribe .
Thank you!
Members of the Democratic caucus, Dutchess County legislature

Call out the hypocrisy of the town hall

On Tuesday July 7th from 5:30-6:30pm there will be a Dutchess County Town Hall for people of color to share their experiences. The event is hosted by county executive Marc Molinero, congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and the Dutchess County commission on human rights. We, the Vassar College Black Student Union, need to mobilize speakers to call out the hypocrisy of the town hall while Julissa and Jamelia’s family continue to be aggressively prosecuted and the police officers who assaulted them have not been fired and held accountable. We will not fall for political stunts. Register for the town hall so we can continue to apply pressure on their cases. If you are comfortable speaking please do and demand justice for Julissa and Jamelia now. 

Link to register.

Facebook Event

July 2, 2020

July 5th, 6pm back at Mansion Square Park

I have just learned from Rasonia that this event is POSTPONED to Sunday, July 5, same time and same place.

On Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 7:31:42 PM UTC-4, Bill Rubin wrote:
Tracy sent the following announcement from Black Lives Matter -- Hudson Valley seeking leaders to take an active role in facilitating community conversations. Anyone who is interested should email Tracy at thgivens@gmail.com to get training information.

Peace  family,

As many of you might know, Dutchess County issued a $200 million bond back in 2016 for building a new jail. At this moment, as we have the momentum to fight for Black lives, we recognize that this is a gross misuse of funds in Dutchess County.

The national call for defunding the police is about addressing the prison-industrial complex as a whole. Police are just one tier of this multi-tier, multi-million dollar industry that disproportionately targets Black and Brown communities for incarceration. This industry has deep roots in education, setting our youth up by taking away crucial funding in schools, after-school programs, and youth employment opportunities.

On July 9th the DC legislature will be voting on how they are going to spend this money. We are at a crucial moment when we need to lift our voices and show that we, collectively, do not want another prison in our community but we want that money reinvested into the community.

We are gathering again. We are congregating again, this time to talk about how this money SHOULD be invested into the community and planning actions to take to ensure that our voices and demands are heard.

We will be gathering Sunday, July 5th, 6pm back at Mansion Square Park. We NEED YOUR HELP to facilitate small group conversations on that day. We will be hosting a prep call on July 2nd from 7pm-8pm so that everyone is prepared to dig in and facilitate the conversation.

Thank you for your time and energy – in solidarity.

Silent Protest Before DC Legislature Meeting, July 9

Public objection to the Dutchess proposed jail project continues to grow. The issue of a proposed new county jail has been a major issue since 2017. Right now there is an opportunity to stop investment in a jail and improve investment in social services and community support.

A silent protest is planned on July 9. Many area activist groups and organizations are sponsoring, including DCPAA. Social distancing will be observed. If you feel you can participate, the details are below.
Read this letter from Rebecca Edwards and Nick Page:
The Dutchess County Legislature will meet on July 9, at 5:30 pm. Two resolutions from the Democratic caucus concerning the proposed jail project will be on the agenda. Those are at the end of this message, along with a fact sheet outlining why we passionately believe the county should rescind the remaining bonds, reconsider the jail project, and invest in alternatives to incarceration. Changing our criminal justice system is essential for racial justice and for the health and security of our community. In addition, the county's financial situation amid the COVID crisis is dire. The county's fund balance will be drained by September, and if direct federal aid does not come through, we are facing up to 200 layoffs. If we want to have any capacity, over the next few years, to invest in jobs, affordable housing, addiction treatment, mental health support, youth empowerment, environmental protection, and other essential goals, we need to NOT build a $200 million jail.

To demonstrate public support for new priorities, a group of organizations are planning a silent protest at 22 Market St, Poughkeepsie, from 4 to 5:30 on Thursday, July 9, just before the legislature meets. If 200 participants space ourselves 6 ft. apart, we can stretch a quarter-mile along Market Street, from Tubman Park all the way to the post office, with participants holding signs with a million dollar bill on them (200 people x $1 million = cost of the jail--the protest organizers will provide those signs). Other participants could bring signs with alternative policy priorities they envision: "fund youth summer jobs," "fund mental health support," or whatever priorities people want to express.

Sponsoring groups so far are ENJAN, DCPAA, the Progressive Black and Latino Caucus, Beacon Prison Action, Stop the Violence, ACT18 Indivisible, and the Democratic Caucus of the legislature. Other groups are still being contacted about co-sponsoring.

In the meantime, it would be incredibly helpful if people would PLEASE contact their county legislators and urge them to vote to rescind the bail bond and recommend a commission to consider alternatives. A phone call could have the most impact.
If you want to write to all: countylegislators@dutchessny.gov  
with a cc to: cmorris@dutchessny.gov (Legislature Clerk) with Public Comment in the subject line.
Here’s a link to information on the issue https://mailchi.mp/948afa0aecbb/kn2xv6uev8

July 1, 2020

Radical Women, the National Comrades of Color Caucus

Activist Radio has the following guest on this week:

GUESTS: Emily Yamasaki and Nga Bul, members of Radical Women, the National Comrades of Color Caucus, and the Freedom Socialist Party, talk about the psychology of oppression and the NYC Campaign for an Elected Civilian Review Board.  

Activist Radio is broadcast: Thursdays 5-6 pm from WVKR 91.3 FM at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY; Sundays 4-5 pm from WIOF 104.1 FM in Woodstock, NY; and Sundays 5-6 pm from the Progressive Radio Network at PRN.FM. It will also be posted on the ClassWars website for the next ten weeks. Simply click on the date to hear it.


Activist Radio