Representing many different organizations and perspectives, Hudson Valley residents are organizing a series of Truth Telling forums starting on Monday, July 6, 2020, at 7 pm at Baptist Temple Church at 7 William Street in Newburgh. The forums have two central purposes: first, to provide people who have been mistreated by law enforcement an opportunity to come and speak their truths, and second, to provide a foundation for proposals to re- vision and re-make policing in the region.
Following Newburgh, organizers intend to sponsor like forums in Kingston, New Paltz, Montgomery and Warwick and encourage people from other communities to collaborate on similar efforts.
Former Councilwomen Gay Lee and Cindy Holmes are among those organizing the Newburgh forum. They jointly commented, “In Newburgh and other communities in the Hudson Valley, we must coordinate revelations about police misconduct with policy changes which reflect a new direction. Municipal budgets and personnel practices must address poverty, unemployment, poor housing, and the range of other issues which simultaneously define inequality. Police departments must be led by women and men committed to assisting, not oppressing, our City. The time is now.”
One of those organizing the forums, Michael Sussman, a civil rights lawyer from Goshen, explained, “The tremendous outpouring of people across our nation during the last six weeks speaks to the pent-up rage many feel about retrograde policing practices. Our forums will provide a safe space for people victimized by these practices to educate us as to what too many
experience on a day-to-day basis. For too long, people coming forward with
such accounts have been marginalized. All of us now have more reason to take what they have to say seriously. But, beyond listening and understanding, we have a collective responsibility to act and to forward and implement proposals for real change. The time for cosmetic, superficial solutions is over.”
Doors will open at the Baptist Temple Church at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 6. Social distancing and other safety measures will be observed.
Any written comments may be emailed in advance of the meeting for reading at the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, please contact Cindy Holmes at 845-527-3428
or Ramona Burton at 845-562-1680.