Yesterday’s #ResistRikers rally shook the core of NYC’s mass incarceration complex – over 50 activists and community leaders came together at the gates of Rikers Island demanding an end to solitary confinement, abuse and killing of incarcerated people.
A wide range of groups and experiences were represented at the rally. Speakers included formerly incarcerated people who described firsthand the conditions at Rikers, as well as members of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Copwatch Patrol Unit, the New Black Panther Party, and the Democratic Socialists of America. Also in attendance were members of the Asociación pro-derecho de los confinados Ñeta, the Industrial Workers of the World, CODEPINK, the International Socialists Organization, and the Jails Action Coalition.
Speakers connected the struggle against mass incarceration to ongoing protests in Ferguson, as well as the upcoming #O22 National Day of Action Against Police Brutality and the Rally to Restore the Morales-Shakur Center on Monday.
The crowd was amplified by banners, “Solitary is Torture” and “Justice for Mike Brown,” and passing cars honked in support of the demonstration. Correctional Officers looked on anxiously from across the street as the crowd shouted, “Broken windows – Tear it down! Mass incarceration – Tear it down!” and “Youth detention – abolish it! Rikers Island – demolish it!”
The electrifying energy of the crowd brought the widespread outrage of community members to the heart of mass incarceration in New York City, and the organizers asked everyone to return with five friends for the upcoming #ResistRikers action on November 8. This Saturday, October 25 at 3 p.m. activists will hold a strategy session at The Base (1302 Myrtle Av, Brooklyn) to plan next steps.