June 9, 2020: New York, New York, Jose Saldana
Today, Jose Saldana, Director of the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, issued the following statement in response to the murder of George Floyd, and the New York State Legislature’s passage of the repeal of Civil Rights Law 50-A:
“The murder of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis has justifiably outraged millions of people across the country. This was not just the isolated action of a few ‘bad apples’ but instead an indication of an entire tree infected by this racist ideology that does not acknowledge the humanity and dignity of People of Color, and in
particular Black men, women and children. Every seed from this tree, even the soil that nourishes the tree’s roots, is infected with racism. This tree—New York’s criminal legal system—must be completely uprooted.
Today, responding to community voices, the New York State Legislature, and my State Senator Jamaal Bailey—the lead sponsor of the bill—did the right thing by repealing Civil Rights Law 50-A. The repeal of 50-A will create transparency, promote accountability, and move forward racial justice, but it is only a first step. Racist police violence continues in the streets and extends every day to every state prison and local jail in the State of New York. Samuel Harrell, Karl Taylor, John McMillon, Valerie Gaiter, Lulu-Benson-Seay, Leonard Carter, and literally hundreds of other Black and Latinx New Yorkers have died in our state’s racist incarceration system during just the last several years.
I call on the Black and Latinx leaders of New York State to continue resisting systemic racism by passing meaningful legislation that takes further steps to liberating New York from the centuries’ long stain of white supremacy, including Elder Parole, Fair and Timely Parole, the HALT Solitary Confinement Act, and so many more.”