On Friday, October 23, students, activists, revolutionaries, and faith leaders will gather at the Queens entrance to Rikers Island to rally and conduct nonviolent direct action to Shut Down Rikers Island. This nonviolent direct action comes as anger over the abuse and torture of
prisoners by Rikers Island guards and staff has reached a boiling point and is part of a larger three days of action called #RiseUpOctober.
Sunsara Taylor, one of the organizers of the event, says, “The lawsuits have been filed, the settlements for abuse and wrongful death have been paid out, exposures in the press have been done, yet the brutality and torture by the guards continues. It is time that we put our bodies on the line to stop these crimes. Rikers Island must be shut down!” Protesters will carry enlargements of the faces of people who have been killed by guard brutality or medical neglect on Rikers Island, including Bradley Ballard, Jason Eschevarria, Jerome Murdough, Ronald Spear and others.
They will also carry the face of Kalief Browder who was arrested at age 16, held for three years (two of them in solitary confinement) and finally released for lack of evidence. On June 6th this year, Kalief Browder committed suicide, stemming from the traumas and depression induced by his time in Rikers.
Since 1990, the city has settled six class action suits filed against Rikers due to rampant brutality and gross violations prisoners’ rights. The most recent (2015) class action suit found a culture of “deep-seated violence,” resulting in a “staggering” number of injuries, where “adolescents are at a constant risk of physical harm.”
Rev. Willie Francois of the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, Rev. Jerome McCorry and his wife Candace McCorry from Dayton, Ohio, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a co-initiator of #RiseUpOctober, Sunsara Taylor of Revolution Newspaper, Rev. Stephen
Phelps, students from Columbia University and others will be taking part in the nonviolent direct action near the entrance to the only road onto Rikers Island. More clergy, students, and others will be joining them to bear witness.
This protest is part of three days of action initiated by Carl Dix and Cornel West called #RiseUpOctober to Stop Police Terror and Mass
October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Murder, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
10:00 am No More Stolen Lives: #SayTheirNames – A Public Reading, Remembrance, and Demand for Justice – 47th & Broadway in Times Square
2:00 pm Rally to Stop Police Brutality & Murder; Brooklyn, Borough Hall, Brooklyn.
3:00 pm MARCH to Barclay’s Center, Atlantic Avenue & Flatbush, Brooklyn
October 23 “Shut Down Rikers!”
9:00 am Gather at Queens entrance to Rikers Island, 77-84 19th Ave, East Elmhurst. (Directions) A mass, nonviolent direct action. People of conscience are putting their bodies on the line to call for this torture chamber to be shut down.
October 24: National March to STOP Police Terror: Which Side are You On?
Washington Square Park, NYC 11 am.
March at 1:00 PM;
Closing Rally at Bryant Park at 4:00 PM.
Students, religious congregations, contingents from housing projects, and people from all across the country — we will gather in the thousands and tens of thousands with the demand: Terror and Murder By Police Must STOP.
For More Information Contact: Larry Everest, 646.709.1961 / Press@RiseUpOctober.org