New York's jails and prisons are already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis as COVID-19 spreads uncontrollably throughout the facilities, where practices like social distancing, frequent hand-washing and showers, and access to adequate health care are impossible. An outbreak in a jail or prison, which is inevitable because of the conditions there, also will inevitably spread into the broader community because of the flow of staff and others in and out of the facilities daily. Check out this article from Slate to learn more about the crisis. Out of great care and concern for the safety of the women in our program, their families, corrections staff, and the New York City community, Fearless Beauty is joining the urgent call for city and state leaders to immediately release as many people as possible. Learn more about why decarceration is the only option, according to doctors at Rikers Island.
We're asking our community to give $5 (or whatever you can, if you can) to our fund that will go directly to the commissary accounts of our students and other incarcerated women. Commissary funds make it possible for them to buy food rather than leave their dorms and gather in groups for meals, as well as buy essentials like soap.
We're also asking folks to call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390, Option 2, then Option 2 again, and use this script when you speak with his staff or voicemail (don't forget to include your name and full address, especially if you live in New York State):
This message is for Governor Cuomo. I'm a supporter of Fearless Beauty, one of the education partners at Rikers Island.
I'm calling to say that his leadership in this crisis has been a breath of fresh air, and the steps to get some people out of Rikers are a good start.
But what is he doing NOW to reduce New York’s prison population to stop the spread of COVID-19?
I'm very worried about the safety of Fearless Beauty's students and the DOC staff.
I am/am not a New York state resident, and I can be reached at [mailing address/email address/phone number].