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New York Assembly Members joined Black and Brown mothers from across New York State pushing against attempts to rollback bail reform.

As New York grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and looks to release vulnerable pretrial detainees, Governor Andrew Cuomo is focusing on using the state’s budget process to undermine bail reform. Proposals to walk back bail reform include allowing discretion for judges to decide an individual’s freedom based on their perceived dangerousness.

Black women, including elected leaders, impacted mothers, and advocates brought urgent attention to preserving bail reform during the online townhall.

Assembly Member Latrice Walker: “We are not interested in rollbacks. This is not about politics and protecting seats. This is about protecting people and keeping people first. If I’m gonna put my life and liberty at jeopardy (going to Albany during COVID-19), then it’s not gonna be for rollbacks to criminal justice reform.”

Assembly Member Tremaine Wright: “We do not understand how after less than 90 days we have the information to make changes to a law that has not even been in effect for three months. We’re very clear that this is not about how we have better justice. This is a conversation about political outcomes and who’s going to be re-elected.”

Monifa Bandele, MomsRising: “At this moment, I think about moms like the late Vernida Browder. She spent three years fighting to free her child, Kalief Browder from an unjust pretrial bail system. We rally today in her name.

Clarise McCants, Color of Change: “Making changes to increase judges’ discretion will hurt Black communities the most. It won’t increase safety. It will simply replace poverty as a proxy for detention with race.”

Ashley Gantt, New York Civil Liberties Union, Rochester resident: “The Governor is doing a great job when it comes to COVID, but behind closed doors these rollbacks are on the backs of our community. Black and Brown people are assumed to be dangerous because of how we stand, how we look and how we dress.”

Peggy Perkins, New York Communities for Change, Long Island resident: “It is unconscionable that during this pandemic that Governor Cuomo is pushing to make changes to New York’s bail reform legislation that would increase the populations of our state’s jails.”

Charis Rebecca Humphrey, Black Love Resists in the Rust, Buffalo resident: “We know that the carceral system preys on those most vulnerable. To deny the progress supported by bail reform will bring about indelible consequences across New York State. Supporting current bail reform legislation is not only a call to support prisoners, it is a call to put humane action in place now.”

Rosa Clemente, organizer & journalist, Albany resident : “It is unconscionable that people at this time of a global pandemic are sitting in jail for not having bail money. A society is judged by how they treat the most vulnerable. We cannot allow New York State to roll back this hard fought win.”

On behalf of the Black Freedom Project: Brooklyn Movement Center, Movement for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley, Black Love Resists in the Rust/Albany, Releasing Aging Prisoners Project, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Law for Black Lives, and the Black Youth Project. Also thanks to partners, Drug Policy Alliance, Color of Change, MomsRising, Center for Community Alternatives, NYCLU, New Hour for Women and Children, NY Communities for Change, and the Elmont Cultural Center.

Source of original article: Black Star News (www.blackstarnews.com).
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