Speakers Darren Mack; Program Coordinator for the Center for Justice at Columbia University and Campaign member of #CLOSErikers, Melissa Mark-Viverito; New York City Council Speaker, moderator Christina Greer Associate Professor, Fordham University, Award winning Singer/songwriter; John Legend Founder of #FreeAmerica, and founder of JustLeadershipUSA and formerly incarcerated Glenn E. Martin
Monday, May 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY 10003
JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), is a non-profit based in East Harlem dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in #halfby2030. Mass incarceration is the most significant domestic threat to the fabric of our democracy. Through targeted advocacy, strengthening leadership and membership support, JLUSA believes a decarcerated America is possible.
JLUSA leads the #CLOSErikers campaign, which recently secured a commitment from Mayor Bill de Blasio to shutter all facilities on Rikers Island within 10 years.
#FREEAMERICA is a multi-year culture campaign initiated by John Legend to change the national conversation about our country’s misguided policies and transform America’s criminal justice system.
Melissa Mark-Viverito serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold citywide office. She represents the 8th District, which includes El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, she worked for over a decade in local activism, nonprofit organizations and grassroots labor organizing before being elected to the City Council in 2005. She was unanimously elected to serve as New York City Council Speaker in January 2014. Led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City has emerged as a national leader in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Speaker Mark-Viverito is also an outspoken advocate for local and national criminal justice reform, and launched the Young Women’s Initiative to address disparities faced by women in such areas as education, workforce development, healthcare, and the criminal justice system. In 2011, she was one of four Council Members to pioneer the first-ever Participatory Budgeting process in New York City. Since Mark-Viverito’s speakership, Participatory Budgeting has spread to 31 districts across New York City. Before becoming Speaker in 2014, Melissa served as founding co-chair of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus. From 2010 -2013, she also chaired the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation. READ MORE http://council.nyc.gov/district-8/
At one point in history, New York City ranked only second to Charleston, South Carolina in U.S. cities that held the most slaves. Now, the bustling hub is home to one of the most violent jail complex’s in the nation, filled with corruption, misconduct and violence.
Rikers Island, known for its harsh conditions, brutality and intense violence amongst both inmates and correctional officers, is set for closure within the next 10 years. As Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week, the city will shut down the complex, which houses mostly African American and Latino inmates. Most recently, Rikers has been a topic of discussion due to renewed interest in the Kalief Browder case — the young man who was held and abused at the jail for three years without a trial. And considering the atrocities that occur on the island, it’s no surprise that it’s deeply rooted in slavery, as noted by the Atlantic’s City Lab.
The jail was named after Magistrate Richard Riker, who was the owner of the island in the early 1800s. His ancestor, Dutch immigrant Abraham Rycken, purchased the land in the 17th century.