Fifteen to twenty thousand New Yorkers are caught each year in the cycle of homelessness and incarceration. Four in every five are people of color. During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2,500 people have been released, many without identification, critical medication, or coronavirus testing. This is unconscionable.
Join us in asking Mayor de Blasio to use his authority to create a just reentry system.
We need you to take action to end the injustices that New Yorkers leaving Rikers Island are experiencing every day.
Demand that Mayor de Blasio and his Administration Act Now
Reentry should be safe, not scary. Together, we can help our justice-involved neighbors find and sustain a place they can call home.
Write Mayor de Blasio to demand that he uses his executive authority as mayor now to protect New Yorkers released from Rikers during and after COVID. We encourage you to include any personal stories you have on how life after involvement with the criminal legal system and/or at Rikers has impacted you and your family, friends, and community. Email the Mayor's Office here or write to the address below:
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York, NY 10007
Engage your networks to demand change. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: use them all to advocate for the just treatment of people released from Rikers. Don’t just tag Mayor de Blasio (@NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio), tag his top advisors too. Tell @CorrectionNYC @CrimJusticeNYC that every New Yorker leaving Rikers should have access to an ID card, essential medication, and COVID-19 testing that keeps their communities safe. Tell @NYCHA @NYCHRA that New Yorkers who have been to jail deserve housing too. Just don’t forget to include #JustReentry so we can help amplify your voice. You can find social media tools here and a few sample tweets below.
Contact Your Council Member
Mayor de Blasio listens to members of the City Council. Tell your council member to pressure Mayor de Blasio into making sure that people leaving Rikers have the resources they need for a successful return home. Find your council member and their contact information below to tell them that just reentry is a priority.
Share Your Story
Has involvement with the criminal legal system endangered your ability to find or keep housing? Has your friend or family member’s life been put at risk by the failures of the city government to support them when leaving Rikers Island? We want to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com.
KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM
Sign up to keep the pressure on so more of our fellow New Yorkers are not subjected to the injustices of the Rikers reentry system. We’ll send you updates on the work of Faith Communities for Just Reentry and ways you can continue to be involved.
Read the Rev. Winnie Varghese's testimony at the NY City Council Hearing in support of Just Reentry and Fair Chance for Housing!
Faith Communities for Just Reentry calls upon Speaker Johnson and members of the City Council to pass the Fair Chance Housing legislation proposed, putting an end to landlord discrimination against New Yorkers with a criminal record and their households. Let us lead with forgiveness and dignity rather than punishment and exclusion.
Faith Communities for Just Reentry Vigil
FAITH LEADERS, JOIN US
We are a diverse coalition of faith leaders who believe it is a moral imperative that our neighbors who are released from New York City’s jails are treated justly.
By joining us, you commit to:
- Name the injustices in New York City’s reentry system, which disproportionately impacts Black and LatinX New Yorkers and contributes to a cycle of mass homelessness and mass incarceration.
- Engage with your congregations and communities on the topic of reentry. Has involvement with the criminal legal system endangered the ability for a congregation member to find or keep housing after returning from jail? Has someone in your community been put at risk by the failures of the city government to support them when leaving Rikers Island? Encourage your faith communities to listen and uplift these stories to advocate for needed reforms to neighborhood leaders, landlords, and elected officials.
- Use your voice to demand that Mayor de Blasio take action now to ensure that people released from Rikers experience a safe transition, have access to housing, and are supported by a coordinated reentry system. Raise public attention to these issues through social media, op-eds, sermons, and participation in coalition wide actions. See here for social media tools.
- Participate in coalition wide organizing. This campaign is for the long-run until New Yorkers are treated justly in and outside of Rikers Island. We will gather on a regular basis to discuss the next steps for the campaign.
If you would like to join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The list is growing, but as of September 11, 2020, current member institutions and representatives include (in alphabetical order):
- Rabbi Nicole Auerbach, Central Synagogue
- Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and executive director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
- Rev. Micah Bucey, Judson Memorial Church
- Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Central Synagogue
- The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, Interfaith Center of New York
- Rev. Wendy Calderón-Payne, Executive Director, Bronx Connect
- Rev. Peter Cook, New York State Council of Churches
- Mika'il DeVeaux, Acting Imam, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood and Executive Director, Citizens Against Recidivism
- The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York
- The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary
- Rabbi Barat Ellman, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice – Rabbinic Council
- Marc Greenberg, Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
- Rabbi Miriam Grossman, Rabbinic Fellow, Kolot Chayeinu
- Rabbi Hilly Haber, Director of Social Justice Organizing and Education, Central Synagogue
- Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Middle Collegiate Church
- Rev. Sharon White Harrigan, Executive Director of Women’s Community Justice Association
- Rev. Karen Jackson, Co-chair, Staten Island Inter-Religious Leadership Coalition
- The Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Priest-in-charge and Vicar, Trinity Church Wall Street
- Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah
- Rabbi Marissa James, Director of Social Justice Programming, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
- The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary
- Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
- The Rev. Mark Koenig, Advocate for Justice Ministries, The Presbytery of New York City
- Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Middle Collegiate Church
- Rev. Michael Livingston, Interim Senior Minister, Riverside Church
- The Rev. Elizabeth G. Maxwell, Rector, Church of the Ascension
- Julio Medina (M.Div.), Exodus Transitional Community
- Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis
- The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
- Rev. Donna Schapper, Judson Memorial Church
- Rev. Dr. Patricia Sealy, Pastor, Mott Haven Reformed Church
- Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder & President, National Action Network
- Anusuya Singh, Co-chairperson, Sadhana, New York City Chapter
- Simran Jeet Singh, Union Theological Seminary
- Rabbi Joshua Stanton, East End Temple
- Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York
- The Rev. Adriene Thorne, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn
- Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Elohim
- Rev. Kevin VanHook, Riverside Church
- The Rev. Winnie Varghese, Trinity Church Wall Street
- NY Daily News: Out of jail or prison? Get an IDNYC: To ease reentry, people need government identification cards
- NY Daily News: NYCHA seeks to ease rules barring people with criminal records from living in public housing
- NY Daily News: Opinion: People released from jail deserve better
- AM New York: Faith organizations launch coalition calling on mayor to ensure safety of those returning from Rikers Island
- Episcopal News Service: Faith Leaders Demand Action from New York City’s Mayor to Ensure Safe Reentry for Those Leaving Rikers Island During COVID-19 Pandemic