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Demands

Our current struggle is a collective struggle. From stolen land to stolen people, our story is one of resistance against white supremacy and oppression. Black, Brown, Indigenous, and communities with low income have been subjected to systemic exploitation and structural oppression since the birth of the country. Our fight for liberation begins with understanding the system itself and how to disrupt and ultimately destroy it. We believe in people, not prisons. We believe in communities of care, not cages. 

America is on trial. We are fighting to defund, divest, and abolish the NYPD and Department of Corrections. We demand reparations for the Black community.

EQUALITY FOR BLACK QUEER & TRANS LIVES

 

We fight for the equality of the Black queer and transgender communities.

  1.  End of the Walking While Trans law.

    • What is the Walking While Trans law?​

      • Officially called the Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution law,​ the Walking While Trans ban allows law enforcement to arrest and detain New Yorkers on the suspicion of loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

    • Why is it necessary to repeal the Walking While Trans law?

      • The law criminalizes constitutionally protected behavior and allows law enforcement to disproportionately target members of the transgender community.​ Although ostensibly meant to target sex workers, it allows officers to arbitrarily detain people and has resulted in widespread police profiling, unjust arrests, police harassment and police violence, particularly in the LGBTQ+, Black, and Latinx communities.
      • Black and Latinx women are the most impacted by the law. In 2018, 80% of those arrested because of the statute identified as women, and 91% were Black and Latinx (HRC).
      • We must repeal the Walking While Trans law to free our communities from harassment and criminalization.

Defund, Divest and Abolish The NYPD

 

By defunding and divesting from the NYPD's current $6 billion budget, we can reallocate resources and reinvest them into our communities. Abolition calls for the creation of alternatives to policing so there is no need for the presence of a brutalizing police force in our streets. These policies are centered around community self-governance, wraparound mental health and substance abuse treatment, supportive housing, and other continuums of care, as well as practices of transformative justice.

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Here’s how we can dismantle the system of policing in our country that legalizes and promotes brutality, racism, and white supremacy.

  1. End qualified immunity.
    • What is qualified immunity?

      • Qualified immunity protects a government official from lawsuits alleging that the official violated a person’s rights, only allowing lawsuits where officials violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right.

    • Why is it necessary to abolish qualified immunity?

      • Qualified immunity is premised on the false notion that without immunity, public officials will be subject to false harassment and liability while performing the duties and responsibilities of their position. However, the current immunity law allows officers to act with a level of impunity when it comes to violating civil and constitutional rights; without being held accountable for unjust and inhumane acts of violence.

    • How do we act against this?

      • While the U.S. Supreme Court created qualified immunity, it has no interest in updating or amending the standing qualified immunity law. Any possible change must come from Congress. 

      • Currently, a new law, entitled the Ending Qualified Immunity Act, has been introduced by Representative Amash (MI) and Representative Pressley (MA). Congress should support and enact this bill to eliminate qualified immunity and restore a level of accountability.
         

  2. Demilitarize the police to make our communities safer. 

    • What is the 1033 Program?

      • The 1033 Program allows local law enforcement agencies to obtain military-grade equipment. Created through the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997, the program transfers excess equipment from the Department of Defense to state and local governments and other qualified organizations. The 1033 program is designed to specifically work with law enforcement agencies, such as local police forces, school district police, and others.

    • Why is it important?

      • The 1033 program militarizes local law enforcement. While the most commonly obtained item from the program is ammunition, tactical armored vehicles, weapons, watercraft, and aircraft - including M13s, and MRAPS - are also transferred, for only the cost of shipping. Since its inception, the program has transferred over $7.4 billion in property to over 8,000 law enforcement agencies.

      • Through an agreement between the Defense Logistics Agency and participating states, local police forces are required to utilize the military equipment within one year or return it. This incentivizes local police to use military-grade weapons against its own civilians and encourages “warrior culture” among police.

      • In 2015, the Obama administration tightened restrictions on the 1033 program only for the Trump administration to roll back those requirements. Since the rollbacks, the Department of Defense has shipped over $12 million in MRAP vehicles to local jurisdictions. 

    • How do we change it?

      • Vote in local- and state-level elections for politicians that are against the 1033 program and want to divest funds into schools, arts, and foundational programs.
         

  3. End the surveillance state.

    • What is a surveillance state and why is it important?

      • Mass surveillance conducted by the US government oppresses and stigmatizes Black and Brown communities by treating every member as a prospective criminal. Surveillance technologies are used by local police to target our communities and those with low income. In most cities, decisions to acquire and use surveillance technologies are made by police departments without any knowledge or input from the public or their elected officials. 

      • Many communities of color and low-income communities have been turned into virtual prisons where residents’ public behaviors are monitored and scrutinized 24 hours a day. Areas of recreation and leisure, like playgrounds, are transformed into open-air jails. Residents of a rent-stabilized complex in East New York, for example, report living under a panopticon with facial-recognition technology and security cameras tracking their every step.

    • How do we end the surveillance state?

      • Reject all new technologies that seek to track and target residents of the United States through methods rooted in structural oppression. End surveillance technologies, facial recognition software, and the use of electronic monitoring.
         

  4. Suspend paid administrative leave for officers accused of a crime.

    • What is paid administrative leave?

      • Police officers are routinely placed on administrative leave after a shooting or incident where an investigation is conducted. Administrative leave temporarily relieves an officer of their normal job responsibilities but continues to provide them with regular pay and benefits.

    • Why is it important to suspend paid administrative leave for officers accused of a crime?

      • An improper investigation of a crime committed by an officer can last indefinitely while the officer continues to get paid even if responsible for the crime they committed. Officers should not be paid during the course of such an investigation. The time frame for administrative leave can vary. In some cases, the leave may last just a few weeks. In other cases, the leave can last for several months or even longer.

    • How do we change the administrative leave policy?

      • Vote in local elections for politicians that vow to make changes in this regard.
         

  5. Withhold pensions and end the rehiring of law enforcement officers accused of a crime. 

    • What is 50A? (50A was repealed in June 2020)

      • 50A is a law that hides police misconduct records from the public. It is a section of the New York Civil Rights Law that deems the “personnel records” of police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers “confidential and not subject to inspection or review” without the officer's permission. It also hides internal trials within the NYPD. The records of Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner, were kept hidden due to this law. 50A was repealed in June 2020.

    • What is disqualifying misconduct?

      • Disqualifying misconduct refers to actions that disqualify candidates for law enforcement positions if they have been convicted of a felony, domestic violence misdemeanor, or have been dishonorably discharged from the military. Candidates may also be disqualified if they demonstrate a history of disrespect for the law, a tendency toward violence, termination from a job for poor behavior, or not adjusting to discipline.​

      • The reality of the policing system today is that police officers do not face backlash for disqualifying misconduct. In fact, many "wandering officers" easily find jobs in different departments or agencies.

    • What is the law regarding rehiring law enforcement?

      • A common misconception is that if an officer is fired, they are also decertified and cannot get rehired. That is not the case. The range of behavior that causes an officer to lose their certification is very narrow. For example, if an officer is terminated for excessive force, they will not be decertified. Police certification allows an officer to move fluidly from department to department without needing to be reinstated as an officer. Those who have been fired for disqualifying misconduct often quickly find jobs in different departments or districts.

    • Why is it important to increase transparency?

      • In most professions, being fired does not end your career. However, police officers hold unique powers in that they can deprive someone of their freedom, use violent force, and, if seen as justified, kill. The public should know when a police officer has been fired.

    • How do we withhold pensions and end the rehiring of law enforcement officers that have been fired as a result of extrajudicial killings, torture, and abuse of power?

      • Vote in local elections for candidates pushing for this change.
         

  6. Disband police unions.

    • What is a police union?

      • Police unions are the unionization of law enforcement agencies in the United States. They hold tremendous collective bargaining power and engage in lobbying for “tough on crime” legislation and legal protections for individual officers and against reform.

    • Why should they be banned?​

      • ​Police unions hold extraordinary power in withholding information, exonerating police officers, and concealing acts of abuse. They also hold monetary power over politicians, lawmakers, and others in the government. Police unions also block accountability by preventing proper action from being taken on officers who with disqualifying misconduct complaints.

      • Police unions vehemently challenge all reforms and backlash through collective bargaining privileges and rights granted to them by contracts. They insulate officers from accountability, create protections for officers, help officers who have committed a crime gain employment back, and more. The killers of George Floyd and Eric Garner, for example, were both protected through police unions. 

      • Police unions should not enjoy the same privileges as other unionized sectors. Police unions serve to protect police officers, and police officers protect property, not people. 
         

  7. Ban police unions from giving money to politicians.​​

    • Why is it important?

      • Police unions actively prevent the regulation of officer misconduct and behavior. Police union contracts and lobbying efforts have forbidden or stalled efforts by the Department of Justice to regulate police behavior through consent decrees, civilian oversight, and prosecution of police misconduct.

      • Between 1994 and 2020, over 55 police unions across the country donated $1 million to different federal election campaigns. In the same time period, over $87 million was spent by police unions on lobbying politicians and elections on the local level. In turn, politicians have continued to vote for police unions and fund them in return for campaign donations.

    • How do we stop unions from donating to political campaigns?

      • Vote in local elections for politicians that want to stop coercion and bribery within the criminal system. 
         

  8. Remove police from public schools and make it illegal for schools to call the police on students.

    • Why are there police or school resource officers in schools?

      • School resource officers, or SROs, are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools. SROs have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service, and document incidents. SROs are typically employed by a local police or sheriff's agency and work closely with school administrators. "School resource officer" is the name given to police to sound less threatening.

    • Why is it important to remove police from schools?

      • The presence of police does not make schools safer. There is no statistically significant relationship between the presence of police and a reduction in reported crimes in schools. 

      • Data shows that schools with police are more likely to refer children to law enforcement for non-serious violent behaviors. Data also shows that Black students are more likely to be arrested in school, leading to the adultification of black and brown children and opening the path to the school-to-prison pipeline. Black students represent 31% of school-related arrests and students suspended or expelled for discretionary violations and are more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year. 

    • How do we remove police from our schools?

      • Put pressure on our local officials by voting for candidates that will change funding for each school district.

      • Create for restorative justice programs, positive behavioral intervention, and support programs, and employ mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses, and other non-police support staff to work with children to address concerns. 
         

  9. Ban the use of excessive force on those exercising their First Amendment right to protest.

    • What is the First Amendment?

      • The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    • ​Why is it important to ban excessive force?

      • In the wake of recent protests, police have used excessive force to counter and suppress peaceful or non-violent protesters. These include the use of batons, riot shields, and chemical weapons to beat, spray, and injure those exercising their First Amendment rights.

      • It is crucial to ban the use of excessive force and impunity on officers who do so as it violates the right to protest.

  10. Decriminalize survival.

    • How can we decriminalize survival?

      • Misdemeanor offenses currently account for 80% of total court dockets. On the road to complete decriminalization, we must immediately decriminalize all such offenses. Many laws currently in place criminalize acts committed purely for the sake of survival. These include those involved in sex work, drug ​trade, and other street economies.

      • We must repeal local ordinances that criminalize people involved in these economies and repeal laws that incriminate women who have used force against abusers to protect themselves and their children.

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  11. Reinvest the $6 billion NYPD budget into Black and Brown communities.
    Here are a few ways we can use these resources to build our communities:​​​

  • Public education & schools

    • Reform school curriculums to include learning frameworks that focus specifically on race, class, and gender.

    • Make equitable resources available to all NYC schools and expand investments to provide free, public, quality higher education at CUNY.

    • Provide support for additional enrichment programming.

    • Create transformative and restorative justice initiatives informed by students to replace the current system of punitive justice.

    • Make reparative investments for youth and families impacted by the justice system, including the provision of scholarships to children of incarcerated parents and children who are incarcerated or out of school.

  • Mental health services

    • Provide free, community-based, and culturally-responsive mental health services. 

    • Reach communities proactively through both brick-and-mortar centers as well as training and canvassing in their neighborhoods. 

  • Affordable housing services

    • Create and preserve affordable housing and expand and improve services that help people stay in their homes.

    • Prioritize long-term supportive housing for people with mental and behavioral health needs, substance dependencies, personality disorders, cognitive and developmental disabilities and history of severe trauma,

  • Food services

    • Reduce food deserts by ensuring food access to all communities.

    • Ensure equitable pricing structures on organic and healthy food.

  • ​Health care and health insurance

    • Fund free healthcare that provides preventative and corrective treatments.
  • Employment and economic development

    • Aid New Yorkers in entering skilled trades and earning a living wage.

    • Create sustainable employment through paid workforce development for mental health workers, credible messengers, street canvassers, and more jobs necessary with the expansion of social services in reducing our reliance on the criminal justice system, as well as positions in tech, healthcare, and the green industry. 

    • Establish a Universal Summer Internship and Youth Jobs Program. 

  • Community programs and services

    • Invest in community-led community centers, recreational parks, and community spaces with accessibilities for the entire community.

    • Make public transportation free for working-class families and accessible to everyone.

    • Support universal child care for working families.

    • Invest in public libraries to expand educational and recreational services as well as community outreach.

    • Establish creative spaces and cultural hubs in communities for all creative disciplines.

    • Invest in youth leadership training, Rites of Passage/identity development (inclusive of LGBTQIA), and other non-traditional programs that support youth to have a voice in community institutions.

  • Restructure investments through community self-governance

    • Establish an oversight committee to decentralize funding decisions, improve inclusion in city services, address structural racism in city agencies, and improve accountability.

    • Create funding and investment structures to improve the flexibility and effectiveness of funding.

    • Direct funds and services to the most criminalized, marginalized, and underserviced communities.

  • Conflict transformation and alternative accountability

    • Invest in the ability of communities to respond to conflict, prevent violence and harm, and to address and heal from it in sustainable ways.

    • Invest in the capacity of government agencies and workers to better respond to violence and promote healing.

    • Expand investment in diversion and alternatives to incarceration (ATI).

    • Support alternative models of responding to community violence and fostering safety.

 

DEFUND, DIVEST, AND ABOLISH THE DOC

We demand the abolition of the Department of Corrections and the creation of a new system that focuses on restorative justice, rehabilitation, prevention of re-incarceration, and a humane way to manage detainees.

 

Here’s how we can dismantle the system of prisons and jails in our country that functions off of legalized slavery and the reincarceration of Black people.

 

  1. Pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement bill (HALT Solitary).

    • The HALT Solitary bill calls to limit a prisoner's time in solitary confinement to 15 consecutive days and provide an alternative rehabilitative unit where prisoners are allowed a fixed amount of time out of their cells or units.

    • Solitary confinement in jails and prisons is inhumane. A growing body of research shows the damage it has on one's mental and physical health. Solitary confinement is defined as a form of torture by the WHO, United Nations, and other international bodies.

    • The lives of Layleen Polanco, Kalief Browder, Bradley Ballard, Jason Echevveria, and Carina Montes have been stolen from us because of solitary confinement.
       

  2. Pass fair and timely parole.

    • The Parole Board has too often denied parole to incarcerated people eligible for release. The Fair and Timely Parole Act would mandate the Parole Board to release any incarcerated person who is eligible for release on parole unless that person presents a current risk that cannot be reduced by parole supervision in New York State. This bill calls to end the unfair policy of denying parole to otherwise eligible incarcerated individuals and is a big step towards ending mass incarceration in New York State.
       

  3. Pass elderly parole.

    • Parole for the elderly is necessary to release individuals who are not dangerous for our communities and to give those the right to present their case in a hearing before a parole board. Our taxpayer money should not be going towards keeping elderly and ailing individuals in prison when they are eligible for release.

    • The Elderly Parole program was created for the purpose of reviewing the parole suitability of inmates who are 60 years old or above who have served a minimum of 25 years of continuous incarceration by the Board of Parole Hearing. Current law exempts the eligibility of a person who was sentenced pursuant to the Three Strikes Sentencing law, a person who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or death, and a person who was convicted of the first-degree murder of a peace officer or a person who had been a peace officer, as provided.
       

  4. Repeal the 13th Amendment to permanently ban slavery.

    • What is the 13th Amendment and why is it significant?

      • The 13th Amendment states, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

      • While the amendment ended chattel slavery, it institutionalized modern-day slavery through the prison system.

    • What needs to be done?

      • The 13th Amendment must be repealed, eliminating the clause that reads, “except for punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." This clause allows for modern-day slavery in the prison system by legalizing slavery as punishment.

      • We must invest in restorative justice programs as well as rehabilitation programs for detainees to be reintroduced to society as positive contributors who are able to work and sustain themselves and their families. 

      • We must introduce a living-wage standard into prisons, including a meaningful minimum wage, labor protections, and protection from abuses.
         

  5. Disallow ICE operations in NY state.

    • What is ICE?

      • The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, principally responsible for protecting the U.S. from transnational crime and illegal immigration founded in 2003. ICE can issue arrest warrants, but only a court can issue a search warrant.

    • Why is it important to remove ICE operations from NY State?

      • ICE acts with impunity and without transparency. They are holding people and children without due process in inhumane conditions.

    • How do we disallow ICE operations in NY State?

      • ICE relies on state compliance and assistance. Pass a new Immigrant Defense Bill to end collaboration between NYS and ICE. The bill would protect immigrant families, draw a clear line between local and immigration law enforcement, and make cities safer.
         

  6. End immigration detention.

    • The current humanitarian crisis at the border has locked up undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, including children, in immigrant detention centers. This system of mass incarceration is inhumane and immoral. We must end family separation and allow our undocumented community members to come home.
       

  7. Free all people from involuntary confinement.

  • This is including but not limited to those involuntarily held in jails, prisons, immigrant detention centers, psychiatric wards, and nursing homes, starting with those who are aging, disabled, immunocompromised, held on bail, held for parole violations, and survivors.


 

REPARATIONS 

 

We demand the issuing of reparations to the descendants of slaves. Since the first slave ship reached North America in 1619, this country has profited off of Black bodies. For the past 400 years, the Black community has been exploited, disenfranchised, and subjugated to unfair treatment to the benefit of the white and wealthy.

 

Here’s why and how we demand reparations in New York state.

  1. What are reparations?

    1. Reparations for slavery proposes that compensation should be provided to the descendants of slaves from the Atlantic slave trade. To qualify for reparations, a person would need to have identified as Black for 10 years and would need to prove you are a descendant from slaves. 

  2. Why is it important for reparations to be paid out?

    1. New York is built on stolen land with the labor of stolen people. New York is complicit with the extraction of wealth and resources and murder of Black and Brown people. From the Atlantic Slave Trade to gentrification to the disinvestment in community infrastructure, Black and Brown people have been exploited for the benefit of the white and wealthy.

  3. How do we demand reparations?

    1. This endeavor would require the creation of a new Federal Department of Reparations. This department would monitor the wealth gap, implement the reparations program, ensure the efficacy of the reparations program, and ensure assets of African Americans are valued the same as white-owned assets.

    2. Reparations is a plan to build black ownership, you can’t negotiate equality and tear down systemic racism without equity. Reparations for the victims of police brutality, in a form, to be determined.

SUCCESSES 

 

Repeal 50-a

  • 50-a was officially repealed on June 12, 2020. 50-a has been decried and criticized for shielding police misconduct and blocking police accountability. The repeal of 50-a makes police disciplinary records public and will increase accountability and transparency.

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