ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Several activist groups will meet on the Capitol’s Million Dollar Stairs at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday for a rally in solidarity with bail reform.
Those in favor of bail reform see the backlash to the new measures as racist attempts to lock up individuals from low-income communities.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signaled in his 2021 budget address that legislators may amend the state’s controversial new bail-reform law. Black and brown leaders perceive cynical maneuvering around the issue as a symptom of pressure from law enforcement and the political right.
Citizen Action of New York and the health care union 1199 are among the organizers protesting attitudes critical of bail reform in New York. They argue that individuals from low-income black and brown communities were unfairly held to a different standard under the old system.
According to VOCAL-NY, rollback campaigns rely on misinformation, racism, and fearmongering. Tuesday’s rally aims to push back against labeling those communities as dangerous.
A group of law professors signed a letter on Thursday asking for a more “accurate and objective context” around the issue rather than platforms for opponents of the measure. According to activists, criminals who undermine the positives of bail reform are the exception. They say that thousands are free to care for their children, go to work, and move on with their lives while responsibly attending their court dates and repaying debts to society.
Activists will demand that lawmakers hold firm on bail reform and invest in public health services to bring about safer communities, rather than leave the economically depressed to waste away in a cell. They suggest addressing safety concerns with community-based services like supportive housing, mental and behavioral health programs, and increased education and services to tackle drug abuse.
The same groups preparing tomorrow’s rally held a similar event on Friday on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan. There, they called out the NYPD, President Trump, and Mayor Bill de Blasio for undermining the new law.