Re-Imagining Criminal and Social Justice

I advocate for Cyntoia Brown's immediate release without parole. A victim of teen sex-trafficking, Cyntoia was dealt an unnecessarily harsh sentence for self-defense from a rapist and kidnapper. What would you have done in her shoes? Her harsh sentencing and release under the condition of parole are symptoms of a broken, victim-blaming system. Not all prisoners belong there, and not all prisoners are a threat to society. I believe we can reimagine the criminal justice system with greater compassion, more humanity, and better justice.

  • RELEASE CYNTOIA BROWN NOW! FULL PARDON AND RESTORATION OF RIGHTS!
  • MAKE SURE SHE HAS THE SUPPORT AND RESOURCES NEEDED TO THRIVE WHEN SHE REENTERS SOCIETY!
  • NO PAROLE, SHE’S NOT A SAFETY RISK - AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT WHEN YOU LEAVE INCARCERATED LIFE YOU’RE MORE VERSED IN BREAKING THE LAW, DO BETTER AND CONSTRUCTIVELY CONTRIBUTE TO REIMAGINING OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM!

 

“Brown, 30, will be released to parole supervision on August 7 after serving 15 years in prison, Gov. Bill Haslam's office said in a statement.  'This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,' Haslam said.”

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/07/us/tennessee-cyntoia-brown-granted-clemency/index.html


Kevindaryán Luján well done. Glad you’re pushing this initiative forward in Orange County! I’m sure you’ll do an excellent job of making sure that the resolution OC passes is full proof and has “teeth”... It would be nice to see something proposed that allocates funds collected to a dedicated environmental education proponent that teaches the OC residents the importance of lowering their impact.

I believe policy and societal change begins and ends with education. Let’s work together on local criminal and social justice reforms next? Like, ban the box on applications and a path to promise initiative to comprehensively plan a clear path to promise for the youth in OC!?

Well done County Legislator Luján, well done. Action and attitude, reflect leadership. #bethechange

https://www.recordonline.com/news/20181222/legislator-proposes-ban-on-plastic-bags-in-orange


Attitude Reflects Leadership

The Dutchess County budget was passed by the majority of the County legislature, members who’ve lived and worked in Dutchess County long enough to understand its finest intricacies and biggest issues facing their constituents. I've traveled throughout New York State, not many governments or officials are as compassionate as ours, “Attitude reflects leadership”. The City of Beacon’s County Legislators no votes against this budget do not represent Beacon, they represent elected officials beholden to a political establishment. Most importantly, they do not serve the residents of Beacon well, specifically the most marginalized, the youth, and the pearls of wisdom that are our most valuable resources. #bethechange

https://highlandscurrent.org/2018/12/21/why-did-you-vote-against-budget/


While the First Step Act is being advocated for and glamorized in front of the press, media, and Congress, The Federal Government (Trump Administration post-Parkland (school shooting) panel) is aiming to roll back Obama-era school discipline policies that were implemented to protect minority students disproportionately marginalized and unfairly disciplined by their school’s administration. And you’re still buying Yeezy’s... Our elected representatives aren’t saying anything about this, we don’t vote enough to matter. So while our kids are fighting in Beacon, and killing each other in Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, we, the people, the folks living in the neighborhoods continue to perpetuate the same violent hate that has segregated us for so long. The poorer you are, the more susceptible to breaking the law you are. When you break the law you become a public safety risk. Public safety risks are detrimental to society and pending the judicial process, imprisonment can occur - imprisonments which, the United States Constitutional Amendment 13 essentially allows for the continuation of slavery in North America. But we don’t want to address the roots of the issue, our most valuable resources, the youth, the seeds to our future. Instead, we know nothing about how the government is destroying the future of so many today. Be the change.


https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/12/18/politics/education-department-discipline-policies/index.html

 

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Trust the Process

Pressley said, “You taught me then, the best solutions come from those impacted . . . people closest to the pain should be closest to the power, driving and enforcing policy making.”

 

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/12/10/pressley-before-heading-congress-listens-one-more-time/e7ak93oeGznCiQQyVota1K/story.html

 

#trusttheprocess #bethechange


No Hate Zone

This is disturbing:

Dutchess local who posted anti-Semitic flyers at colleges banned. Anti-semitism and any kind of disrespect is not welcome in our city, our county, state, or country. As humans, we must treat each other better. As humans we all have rights and when they’re violated we need to stand together.

Thank you to my friend, Michal Mart, who informed me of what was happening in our neighborhoods. Thank you to Mayor Randy Casale for continuing to lead by example and standing up for all of your constituents (watch first 2 minutes
Beacon Workshop 10-9-18). Thank you, Rabbi Brent, for your unwavering and unprejudiced leadership as well (Hatred Eclipsed by Love). We all are stronger together.



Sexual assault and abuse is an age-old social problem. Today, 1/3 women, 1/6 men, have been sexually assaulted. 60% of victims do not report sexual assault.

Unfortunately, in our society, folks don’t see something as an issue until it affects their personal lives, these are not in my backyard people; not to my mom or sister or daughter or family people. With the best intentions to not make this about race, economics, or politics, as individuals that make up a civilization, we have to become better humans today. It’s already too late. We’re eons behind. And that’s not okay, yet we still can change. We can create a culture of no. We can provide education and engagement at a young age and throughout a person’s lifetime. This hasn’t happened though, this doesn’t happen, here, in the United States of America. Within our neighborhoods, towns, cities, and electoral districts. We as a people must each individually take the oness and responsibly and positively impact our society.

We need to believe the victims. We need to create an environment so that there are fewer victims because there are fewer assaults. Don’t let yourself be the victim, speak up for yourself. Don’t let yourself be the assailant, stay away from doubtful matters. For example, whistling, cat-calling, invading one’s personal space, it’s all undermining and disrespectful to people. Define yourself by treating others how you know you deserve to be treated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hurt people hurt people and that is not an excuse. We all can do better. And when we reach from within and help by giving back what we can and what we know, this collaborative effort is contagious. If we’re brave and can make a categoric change, our next seven generations will be safer.

 

We’ve suffered from our history enough, let us stop repeating it. “Bravery is contagious.”, let us continue to have this conversation while being vigilant and mindful throughout all of our actions.


Influence Change by Voting

Mi Gente, my people! Our civically engaged community continues to grow and I thank you for your patience, commitment, and ongoing support. In NYS we have an upcoming general election, November 6th, 2018. Polls will be open from 6 am - 9 pm. There are many races, they are all important and local. The elected officials that serve us work for us, so they need to hear from us frequently. Elections are excellent ways to have our voices heard!

I’ve always believed in voting early and often, since registering to vote in my Participation in Government class at Beacon High School in 2006. This next election is the last of 2018. Please become informed about the candidates that you can vote for. Please encourage your friends and family to inform themselves about these candidates and their positions, and most importantly the issues that affect each of you personally.

We have the influence to change the environment that we live in. Our society. Our government. We have to believe in ourselves, that our individual vote affects the change we seek within our society. That our vote is our voice. Our government isn’t going anywhere, let’s stay engaged. - Ali T. Muhammad standwithali@gmail.com


Wishing Mummy Muhammad a Very Happy Birthday

It must have been 5 to 6 years since you and my father decided to move to North Carolina and start the next chapter of your lives. Allah said this Earth is spacious and you have always understood the meaning of that. Throughout my life you have guided and empowered me to believe in the unseen, to help others and go the extra mile when pursuing the goals I wish to achieve. Thankfully I believe in our greatest humanities, for all. It’s a blessing that you were my first teacher, my first mentor, my primary reference point in terms of how to organize, plan, and create opportunities for those missing the basic necessities of life.

I have grown to admire your sacrifices. The choices you’ve made in order to protect your family and the people that you love. You’re not a legacy person, you’ve provided a perfect example of how to pass down positivity through your lineage. There’s a difference, pardon my perspective. Everything you do, in my eyes, the eyes of your child, is selfless. You’ve been “retired” for a few years now yet you continue to work more efficiently each day. Same vision, same mission, to help others along their personal paths. You do it your way and you uphold yourself with the utmost respect. As a woman. As a woman in the society that we live in today, whose grown through the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90, 00s, as a woman who took a chance on a man whose potential at one point was far greater than his tangible worth, as a woman who was the counterexample of the negative narratives that allow many people to become misinformed, still you rise.

I believe your best has come, and it hasn’t left. You continue to glow! You become greater each day. More understanding and compassionate each day. I wish we were closer in physical proximity but I appreciate the way that we stay connected through the technological advances we are able to benefit from. Your amazing. Your ability to love, is a quality that I honor most and I want you to know that all though you’ve been my biggest advocate my entire life, I’m your biggest fan.

Mummy, I love you. Inshallah, we will continue on our positive paths, as leaders by choice. Thank you, happy birthday!

 

 


Two Cents

The need for Newburgh is not more low-income housing. We need to take care of and maintain the affordable housing stock that we have, get abandoned houses back on the tax rolls no matter how small of a percentage they contribute (every little bit helps!), and clean up our community in order to attract more businesses to the city. These neighborhoods have been neglected for decades because the politicians here have not focused on growth and development. Not only is Newburgh becoming a dumping site for others... our own struggling with homelessness, mental illness, poverty, hunger and joblessness continue to be ignored. Displacement is happening here also.

From my experience on Beacon’s City Council as an elected official, as well as an appointed official for the Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights, Newburgh has the people power, the infrastructure and the will to generate the means to truly and positively impact this community. It takes hard work, know-how and a focus on what’s most important: our neighbors, our own, quality of life.

Living in a such a divisive state will not get more people involved, especially if they’re treated as if they don’t deserve or aren’t allowed to be there. Poor folks are tired of being talked down to by people with more means and different educational levels, telling them what they need to survive. The truth is that most Newburgh residents are cost burdened, similar to the majority of people displaced from the city of Beacon, like me. The answer isn’t more low-income housing. It’s job development, it’s economic development, it’s improving upon the services already being provided which are not efficient. The tax base affects how much renters pay, so it is a misconception that renters don’t contribute to the economy or aren't affected by the economic health of a municipality. Again, in the case of the City of Newburgh, attracting more jobs to Broadway and the waterfront will help stabilize the tax base. Getting folks livable wage with transferable skills will help boost the economy, as well as contribute to their quality of life. If people make more, they will be less burdened by their bills and their necessities.

From my experience, we all must contribute, becoming more invested and involved, while applying positive pressure to those in elected and appointed positions. Where is the City of Newburgh on executing these plans? 2019 is quickly approaching: Who has the foresight to lead, manage, and unite our City?

Some numbers that back this up below: 

“Households facing the termination of re‐housing assistance are in a similar situation. In order to obtain a stable housing situation, they need full‐time employment, affordable child care, affordable housing, and transportation. Access to healthcare, life skills training, and additional education and/or training, including GED programs, and English as a Second Language, is valuable, if not necessary, in most situations.” - https://www.cityofnewburgh-ny.gov/…/10-2_nburgh_con_plan_pr…

  • Per household $16,000
  • Living in poverty 27%
  • HUD has identified four housing problems, which are (1) overcrowding, (2) lack of complete kitchen, (3) lack of complete plumbing, and (4) cost burden.
  • The largest employment sector in Newburgh is Education and Health Care Services, with Manufacturing as the second largest sector in terms of employment, Retail as third, and Arts, Entertainment and Accommodations/Food Service as fourth.
  • https://www.cityofnewburgh-ny.gov/…/hud-first-time-buyer-pr…