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#HALTsolitary Days of Action

June 3 - June 22

YOU CAN HELP END THE TORTURE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN NEW YORK’S PRISONS AND JAILS!

NOW IS A CRITICAL TIME IN THE FIGHT AGAINST SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN NEW YORK!

JUNE 3-22, 2020: TAKE ACTION EVERY DAY to #HALTsolitary, #FreeOurElders, and #Repeal50a Using Our Social Media and Call Guide Highlighting People Who Have Died Due to the Racist State Violence in New York’s Prisons

Background: As the legislature is considering measures to address racist state violence, we are demanding that they address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, Elder Parole, and Fair and Timely Parole. Over the next week or two, we plan to highlight one person each day who has died in prison from racist brutality, torture, or release denials.

What to do each day:

  • Post the sample tweet with leadership
  • Call and email Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Heastie (see below)
  • Find your own legislators on this list and substitute their twitter handles into the sample tweet to send another tweet @ them, and make calls and emails to them.
  • If you have been incarcerated or had a family member inside, consider if you would be interested in creating and posting a simple 30-second video of yourself urging Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Heastie to address the racist state violence in and of NY prisons as well as in the street.

Contacts of Political Leaders:

Your own legislators: find who your legislators are at https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/and use this list for twitter handles and other contact info.

Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins:
Twitter handle: @AndreaSCousins
Phone: 518-455-2585
Email: [email protected]

Assembly Speaker Heastie:
Twitter handle: @CarlHeastie
Phone: 518-455-3791
Email: [email protected]

Governor Cuomo:
Twitter handle: @NYGovCuomo
Phone: 518-474-8390
Email: use this contact form: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form.

Sample Tweet To Start this Effort and Throughout:

NY lawmakers are discussing their response to racist state violence against Black people and the uprising to end it. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore people being brutalized and tortured to death in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a.

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Sample Tweet Each Day:

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3

Dante Taylor spent months in solitary confinement, was brutalized by guards, & died by suicide. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a. https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-wende-prison-suicide-suit-20200224-6yxv73a65vhzpjnosiqalkbel4-story.html

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Dante Taylor, a 22-year-old young Black man who spent months in solitary confinement, then was brutally beaten by officers to the point of being unrecognizable, hogtied and thrown down the stairs. Dante was then left alone and reportedly died by suicide. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

THURSDAY, JUNE 4

Lulu Benson-Seay, an immuno-compromised DV survivor, was denied clemency and died of COVID behind bars. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence against Black people in prison. #FreeOurElders #HALTsolitary #Repeal50a. https://newrepublic.com/article/157589/death-survivor

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Lulu Benson-Seay. Lulu was a survivor of physical and sexual abuse. She was severely immuno-compromised with major life-threatening health conditions. She was denied clemency and just before her 62nd birthday she passed away of COVID-19. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

FRIDAY, JUNE 5 

Samuel Harrell was tortured in solitary and beaten & stomped to death by guards’ all-white “beat-up squad” shouting epithets. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a.

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Samuel Harrell, a 30-year-old Black man who had a severe mental illness. Sam was tortured in solitary confinement and then in the midst of a mental health episode after being discharged from solitary, he was brutally beaten, thrown down the stairs, and killed by an all-white beat-up squad of officers who reportedly called him a “f*ng “n***r”. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

SATURDAY, JUNE 6

Kalief Browder died five years ago today. As a child, he was tortured in solitary confinement for years and brutalized by guards. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a.

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

SUNDAY, JUNE 7

Layleen Polanco died in solitary one year ago today. Jailed for alleged sex work, which shouldn’t be criminalized. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must end racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary. #FreeThemAll. Repeal #WalkingWhileTrans.

MONDAY, JUNE 8

Grandfather Benjamin Smalls was denied clemency after two decades in prison. He died at 72 with COVID. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence against Black people in prison. #FreeOurElders #HALTsolitary #Repeal50a. https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-york-medical-parole-20200507-i7tr6ginbnfupizijzp5lmykjm-story.html

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Call-in/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Benjamin Smalls. Benjamin was a father, grandfather, and mentoring elder. He spent over 20 years in prison. He was denied clemency despite his serious health issues. He died at age 72 with COVID-19. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

TUESDAY, JUNE 9

Ben van Zandt, who had a severe mental illness and was incarcerated as a teenager, was tortured to death in solitary confinement. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a.

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Ben van Zandt. Ben had a severe mental illness and was incarcerated as a teenager. Ben was tortured to death in solitary confinement. He feared for his life after witnessing guards brutalize another incarcerated person. He died in solitary after only 10 days. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10

Leonard Carter, 60, was granted parole and awaiting release, but excluded from early COVID release. He died of COVID. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence against Black people in prison. #FreeOurElders #HALTsolitary #Repeal50a

DOWNLOAD IMAGE HERE

Sample call script/email:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Leonard Carter. Leonard was a brother, father, and grandfather. He spent over a quarter of a century in prison. He was granted parole earlier this year and scheduled to come home on May 26. Although he was so close to being released, he was categorically excluded from the Governor’s COVID release plan based on his crime of conviction. He died at age 60 with COVID-19. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

THURSDAY, JUNE 11

John McMillon was beaten & strangled to death by prison guards in NY. People who reported it were locked in solitary confinement. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence in prison. #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders#Repeal50a https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/nyregion/prison-guards-john-mcmillon.html

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about John McMillon. John was 67-years-old and had severe mental health needs. He was brutally beaten and strangled to death by officers in a New York prison. The people who were incarcerated who reported what they witnessed were locked in solitary confinement. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

FRIDAY, JUNE 12

Juan Mosquero died with COVID-19 on 3/30. Since then, there has been a surge of deaths; over 80% have been People of Color. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence in prison. #FreeOurElders #HALTsolitary #Repeal50ahttps://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-prison-deaths-blacks-disproportionate-20200514-xjk4v5wowrhrfpiil5gevbgyui-story.html

Sample call script/email:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Juan Mosquero. He was 58-years-old and he died with COVID-19 on March 30. He was the first reported person to die with COVID-19 in NY prisons. Since his death, there has been a surge of deaths, and 80% of those who have died have been People of Color (59% of those who died were Black people). We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

MONDAY, JUNE 15

Karl Taylor, brutally beaten by officers, died of a chokehold that broke bones in his neck and blocked blood to his brain. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders#Repeal50a. https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/02/28/karl-taylor-died-in-a-new-york-prison-now-the-state-has-agreed-to-pay-millions

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Karl Taylor. Karl had a severe mental illness. He was brutally beaten by correction officers and died of a chokehold that broke bones in his neck, cut off blood to his brain, and cut off air to his body. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

TUESDAY, JUNE 16

Willard “Doc” Hughes had spent 40 years in prison and been repeatedly denied parole. He died with COVID-19 at age 79. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence against Black people in prison. #FreeOurElders #HALTsolitary #Repeal50a.

Sample call script/email:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Willard “Doc” Hughes. He had spent 40 years in prison and been repeatedly denied parole. He died at age 79 with COVID-19. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17

Cachin Anderson, who had severe mental health needs, was tortured to death in solitary confinement. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders#Repeal50a. https://apnews.com/d9bfc9f8996f336ea068462329a51fff

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Cachin Anderson. Cachin had severe mental health needs and in the final two months of his life displayed behavior clearly showing he needed help, such as climbing on a sink and diving head first to the floor. He was locked in solitary and he died by suicide there. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

THURSDAY, JUNE 18

Valerie Gaiter, the longest imprisoned woman in NY, was locked up 40 years and denied clemency. She died of untreated esophageal cancer. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must not ignore racist state violence against Black people in prison. #FreeOurElders #HALTsolitary

Sample call script/email:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Today, I wanted to tell you about Valeie Gaiter. She spent 40 years in prison. She transformed her life and was a mentor to hundreds of women. She was denied clemency. She had esophageal cancer that went untreated and she died last year at age 61.. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

FRIDAY, JUNE 19

At least six people were tortured to death in solitary confinement in NY prisons in 2019. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a. http://nycaic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/The-Walls-Are-Closing-In-On-Me_For-Distribution.pdf.

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. Have you seen the #HALTsolitary campaign’s new report on suicide and solitary confinement? Someone attempts a suicide in NY prisons almost every other day, and suicide attempt rates are 12 times higher in solitary confinement. In 2019, a record-high 18 people died by suicide in NY prisons, and at least 33% occurred in solitary confinement. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

MONDAY, JUNE 22

Terry Cooper, a 25-year-old Black man, was beaten by officers and then denied medical care in a NY prison. He died as a result. @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie must stop racist state violence against Black people in prison. Pass #HALTsolitary #FreeOurElders #Repeal50a.

Sample call/email script:

“Hello, my name is [insert name here] [if you are a constituent state I am a constituent]. As you consider measures to address racist state violence, we are urging you to address the racist killing of Black, Latinx, and Native people in prison, including by at a minimum passing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act (S1623/A2500), Elder Parole (S2144/A9040), and Fair and Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A), in addition to the full repeal of 50-a. I wanted to talk to you about Terry Cooper. Terry was  a 25-year-old Black man who died after being seriously beaten by officers in a NYprison and then denied basic medical care. We urge you to address systemic racism and violence across New York’s injustice system, in addition to policing reforms. Thank you.”

Monday, May 25 to Saturday, June 6 Honoring Kalief Browder: Please join us and share widely this flyer for three events on the five year anniversary of the passing of Kalief Browder. We are joining to support and partner with Akeem Browder and the Kalief Browder Foundation.

After years of organizing and advocacy, the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act has enough committed votes to pass in both the New York State Assembly and the Senate. But pressure is still needed on legislative leadership to bring the bill to the floor for vote, and on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill (which he has not yet made a commitment to do).

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act would place strict limits on the use of solitary in state prisons and local jails; ban it altogether for youth, elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers, people with mental illness and cognitive disabilities, and other vulnerable groups; and create safe, humane, and effective alternatives.

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! Here’s how you can help:

Make the below calls to demand that the New York Senate and Assembly immediately reconvene remotely and pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, Elder Parole, Fair & Timely Parole and other urgently needed bills. 

  • Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins: 518-455-2585
  • Assembly Speaker Heastie: 518-455-3791
  • Your Own Senate & Assembly Reps (find at openstates.org)

Please reconvene session remotely ASAP & pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, Elder Parole, Fair & Timely Parole, and other urgent bills. Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering in solitary – for months, years, & decades. HALT (S1623/A2500) has majority support; it must be brought to a vote now!  Also, Elder Parole (S2144/A9040) & Fair & Timely Parole (S497A/A4346A) must urgently be passed now more than ever to save lives & stop the spread of COVID-19.”

  • Governor Cuomo: 518-474-8390

“You must grant clemency to thousands of people to save lives & stop the spread of COVID-19. You must also end solitary confinement immediately and back the passage of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act.”

Make a video for HALT: Use your phone to make a short video of yourself (30 seconds to 1 minute) (ideally wearing a HALT shirt if you have one) talking about your connection to solitary and incarceration, and why it is so important and urgent for New York’s legislative leaders to continue the legislative session remotely ASAP and to immediately bring HALT (and other urgent bills like Elder Parole) to a vote immediately. We would love to have as many videos as possible.

  1. If you have your own twitter or other social media platforms please post your video there and then send a link of your post to [email protected] so we can re-post.
  2. If you don’t have your own social media, please just email the video to [email protected].

  3. Please see Roger’s and Jerome’s powerful videos as an example. Please note that these videos were created at an earlier time before the budget passed and the session adjourned. It would be great for people making videos to demand that the legislature immediately continue the legislative session remotely and pass HALT, Elder Parole, Fair & Timely Parole, and more now!

♦ TWEET TO ELECTED OFFICIALS: Dear @NYGovCuomo @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie: I support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act because . . . NY must end this torture now. #HALTsolitary @HALTsolitary. [Other tweets to the same group: New York’s injustice system needs fundamental transformation: #dismantleinjustice, #HALTsolitary, #FreeOurElders, #FREEnewyork, JusticeRoadmapNY.org]

♦ SIGN THE PETITION to support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act: https://goo.gl/pRZNyB

♦ ENCOURAGE YOUR ORGANIZATION TO ENDORSE the HALT Solitary Confinement Act: https://goo.gl/forms/FM2F6DZAcPZp1co32

Additional Actions to Take to Support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act If You Have More Time!

♦ WRITE AN OP-ED: Members of the #HALTsolitary campaign are available to assist anyone who has been directly affected by solitary confinement with writing an op-ed for a print or online publication. Email [email protected] for more information.

♦ WRITE A MEMO OF SUPPORT: Can any group you are a part of write a memo of support for the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, S.1623/A.2500, explaining why your group supports the bill? Email [email protected] with a memo, any questions on how to put it together, or for a template.

♦ GET INVOLVED IN THE CAMPAIGN: #HALTSolitary is a project of the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (NYCAIC). We hold monthly meetings in person and by tele-conference and engage in actions, vigils, workshops, and advocacy. Please see the Home page of this site to learn more about the coalition, sign up for our monthly email newsletter and/or listserv, and find out how you can get involved. Visit the Events page for upcoming meetings and other events you can join. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @NYCAIC or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/NYCAIC. For more information, email Victor at [email protected] All are welcome! 

#HALTSolitary campaign members, including survivors of solitary confinement, are also available to make a presentation or host a town hall, panel discussion, film screening, training, workshop, or other event about solitary confinement in New York at your school, community center, or place of worship. We have a range of materials and would be happy to collaborate to plan an event. Contact Victor at [email protected] to discuss.

MAKE A DONATION to the #HALTSolitary Campaign. Donations in any amount will enable us to retain our staff organizers, who are themselves survivors of solitary confinement and are crucial to our efforts to pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act. Please support the campaign today with a tax-deductible donation at mightycause.com/story/Haltsolitary.

 

THANK YOU FOR HELPING US TO END THE TORTURE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN OUR STATE!

Details

Start:
June 3
End:
June 22
Website:
http://nycaic.org/action/

Organizers

Venue