Safety for LGBTQ Survivors of Violence During COVID-19 Requires Shrinking the NYPD

Safety for LGBTQ Survivors of Violence During COVID-19 Requires Shrinking the NYPD

What Budget Justice for LGBTQ Survivors Looks Like and How to Get There

The combination of the COVID-19 health crisis and police violence against Black people has put many LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, especially Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, at greater risk for infection than the general population, and in even greater financial precarity than times of relative economic prosperity. 

The New York City Anti-Violence Project serves low-income LGBTQ and HIV-affected people (including the unhoused and homeless); transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people and youth; undocumented immigrants including those seeking asylum; people of color (including Black and Latinx New Yorkers who have some of the highest COVID-19 related fatalities in the city); individuals who are incarcerated or entangled in the criminal legal system; sex workers; and those at the intersections of these identities. 

During this crisis as needs deepen for communities of color, Mayor de Blasio has proposed  a budget for New York City that drastically cuts millions of dollars that should go into services and resources for communities of color, while leaving the New York City Police Department (NYPD) virtually untouched. 

We know there is a better way forward during this moment of crisis: New York City must defund the NYPD by at least $1 Billion and reinvest that funding in health care, housing, education, and workforce development programs that affirm LGBTQ and HIV-affected people’s sexuality and gender identities.

THE FY21 BUDGET & #NYCBUDGETJUSTICE CAMPAIGN 

New York City’s fiscal year for 2021 starts on July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2021. The budget will be finalized over the coming week by the City Council, and our communities are fighting to ensure that funds are redistributed from the NYPD to services. 

The New York City Anti-Violence Project, as a member of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), is calling for a budget that includes significant cuts to the NYPD’s nearly $6B budget in order to protect and strengthen crucial services, programs and infrastructure the actually keep LGBTQ survivors safe and secure in the COVID-19 crisis. 

Black LGBTQ survivors are most affected by state violence and police violence. Black and working class and poor LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of color include people with prior arrests and records, people with unstable immigration status, people who work in illicit street economies for survival, including sex work and those who sell and/or use illegal substances. These LGBTQ people are disproportionately criminalized, arrested, and/or detained. Policing does not create more safety for survivors, but instead, often leads to more trauma and harm. 

The uprisings led by Black people and Black LGBTQ people and survivors have created the conditions for a transformative shift in the way we envision safety, and have drawn attention to the ways in which Black communities in particular are under attack by state violence. The City can use this opportunity to invest in real safety for Black LGBTQ communities and LGBTQ communities of color instead of continuing to pour billions into policing and corrections. The City’s budget is a moral document, and those with budgetary power must reflect the priorities of our communities instead of protecting powerful interests and property over people. 

OUR DEMANDS 

As an organization that serves and works to empower LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, we’ve heard first-hand experiences of the harms of increased policing. The community we serve has historically been profiled and targeted by law enforcement, and we believe in a different approach to create safety, one that doesn’t include policing as the means to achieve safety. We need an adopted budget that prioritizes the safety of all New Yorkers, especially Black LGBTQ survivors of violence, and therefore a budget that defunds the NYPD. 

We demand the following cuts, aligned with CPR’s #NYCBudgetJustice Campaign: 

  • #DefundNYPD by at least $1 billion in the FY21 expense budget – and for those monies to be redirected to core needs in Black, Latinx and other communities of color. This means the following cuts should be considered: 
    • NYPD hiring freeze – Many City agencies are facing hiring freezes in FY21, but there is no freeze proposed in the executive budget for policing.
    • Cancellation of cadet classes – There is no justification for cadet classes when schools are understaffed in nurses, guidance counselors, and social workers.
    • Cuts to NYPD’s expansion into non-police activities/social services – Cuts should prioritize getting cops out of schools, homeless outreach, mental health response, the new “youth initiative”, and social distancing outreach/enforcement. 
    • Cuts related to abusive policing – The NYPD routinely keeps officers who have brutalized and even unjustly killed New Yorkers on payroll for years after incidents without any movement on disciplinary processes.
    • Cuts to other non-essential areas, including NYPD public relations/media budget and expansion of costly (& legally dubious) surveillance infrastructure. 
  • Require increased NYPD budget transparency – by including transparency-related terms and conditions in the budget that is passed for FY21. The NYPD’s budget is arguably the most secretive and opaque of any New York City agency. 
  • Block increases of any NYPD expense budget lines in FY21 – and deny and cancel any new policing-related initiatives in the NYPD expense budget, other agency expense budgets, NYC general fund budget and in the capital budget plan. 

We recommend investment in the following areas:

    • Increased funding to community-based organizations that promote the safety of LGBTQ people of color through discretionary funding. This includes increasing funding of the Hate VIolence Prevention Initiative, with a priority on funding community based organizations focused on non-carceral solutions like community-based reporting, outreach and bystander/upstander intervention, counseling and support services, and restorative approaches to healing the impacts of hate violence in communities.
    • Increasing funding to programs that serve LGBTQ youth of color. This includes fully funding DYCD’s Summer Youth Employment Program as well as Unity Works, a workforce development program announced in October 2019 that would support deep investments in workforce development for LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth.
    • Increase funding for TGNC immigration legal direct services. There is a lack of free legal services providers that are affirming of TGNC people, and understand the complexity of TGNC peoples’ immigration cases. These organizations have seen an increase in their client loads of TGNC people seeking immigration legal services over the last several years. Council Members have been provided with plans for funding five organizations to serve this community, which has been especially hard-hit by COVID-19.

 

  • Provide LGBTQ people, and people all around New York City, housing with dignity: increase the value of rental vouchers, fund supportive housing at the model level set by State policymakers, and ensure creation of LGBTQ and especially TGNC-affirming supportive housing service providers. COVID-19 emphasized the need to stop warehousing populations and provide private settings, for homeless peoples’ dignity; to guard against the violence that homeless people, and especially homeless LGBTQ people face in the shelter system; and also provide for improved public health. Unfortunately, current rental vouchers provided by the City are not equal to the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for apartments in the NYC metropolitan area. Given the increased homeless rates faced by LGBTQ people, especially TGNC BIPOC, the City has an obligation to house people, and it can provide more deeply affordable housing that is both linked to supportive affirming services by (1) funding rental vouchers for a one-bedroom apartment at $1,951, at all vouchers at FMR; (2) raising the budget for supportive housing scattered site locations to the rates set by the State’s NYC 15/15 program; and (3) ensuring that there are supportive housing providers who are particularly affirming of LGBTQ and (given their especially high homelessness rates) TGNC people.
  • Fund worker coops, which allow under-resourced and highly-discriminated against people an opportunity to create their own jobs. NYC has some of the most advanced infrastructure for creation of worker cooperatives in the US. Worker coops, where workers both work, own, and manage their companies, are a great model employment and resource-allocation model for people–such as BIPOC TGNC people–who lack resources and are frequently targets of employment discrimation. This can be accomplished by fully funding the existing Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative. Worker coops are also a means of spreading knowledge about business development and ownership to youth and adults alike, and thus is a means of meeting a need that the City has yet to fulfill: programming to connect adult TGNC people with jobs.
  • Assistance for undocumented workers. The LGBTQ community includes undocumented workers, and we need to push every opportunity to provide resources to our community. Undocumented people are blocked from receiving public benefits, whether due to legal limitations or strong disincentives (e.g., recent public charge rule changes). Thus, we join a call to provide cash assistance to every undocumented worker who lost a job during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE 

The unprecedented economic and health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put ordinarily marginalized communities into even greater precarity. LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities are disproportionately represented in informal and gig economies, including sex work and other illicit work, because of the discrimination they face in mainstream employment. 

  • Contact your City Council Member today and demand that they commit to $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD budget for FY21.
  • Look up your City Councilmember here: https://council.nyc.gov/districts/ and then check to see where they stand here on the #DefundNYPD Public Commitment Tracker. 
  • Call, tweet, or email them before June 30 to let them know where you stand as their constituent.

ABOUT NEW YORK CITY ANTI-VIOLENCE PROJECT 

For 40 years, the New York City Anti-Violence Project has worked to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. AVP is the largest anti-LGBTQ violence organization in the country. We are deeply trusted within the LGBTQ communities and by survivors of violence, and we have earned that trust by showing up for our community day in and day out.

 

AVP receives largest-ever gift to expand hotline!

Dear Supporter,

I’m proud to announce that the New York City Anti-Violence Project has received its largest-ever gift — $1.75 million from the #StartSmall initiative. This fund was created by Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, in response to the global pandemic and economic downturn.

This gift comes at a time when funding was uncertain for AVP. I’m humbled that we will not only be able to continue our 40-year legacy making a profound difference in the lives of our community members – but that we will further build safety for LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence.

The convergence of the pandemic and the uprisings to end police violence and anti-Black racism in this country has exposed how LGBTQ people, particularly Black trans and queer people, and undocumented immigrants, are disproportionately subjected to violence and discrimination. It is more urgent than ever that our life-saving services and activism are accessible to everyone in our community.

AVP will expand our 24/7 Spanish/English crisis intervention hotline with text, chat, and increased call capacity.

This is both a time of great challenges and an opportunity for real change. I am asking you to join us on this journey to end violence. I am calling on you, as part of our community, to come together and collectively match $250,000 of this incredible gift. Our goal is to reach $2 million to support LGBTQ survivors of violence. Please consider a one-time or monthly donation today and invest in community-led solutions to violence.

City and State Lawmakers Must Commit to #JusticeForLayleen

Media Contact:
Eliel Cruz, Director of Communications
ecruz@avp.org,
917-727-2107

City and State Lawmakers Must Commit to #JusticeForLayleen

The NYC Anti-Violence Project is calling on city and state officials to take concrete steps towards ending the criminalization and abuse of transgender women of color in New York’s carceral system. Last week, the Bronx District Attorney released the results of their investigation into the death of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco Xtravaganza at Rikers Island which confirmed that “correction officers failed to follow the Department of Correction’s (DOC) directive that every inmate housed in Punitive Segregation shall be observed at least once every 15 minutes, at irregular intervals.” Instead, a deadly 47 minutes went by without anyone checking on Layleen. The video footage released by the family, puts the guards’ disregard for Layleen’s life on full display. 

The New York City Anti-Violence Project calls for:

  • The NY State Legislature to pass the HALT Solitary Confinement Act and end solitary confinement in New York City jails.
  • The State to repeal #WalkingWhileTrans ban 
  • The State to stop implementation of 2020 bail reform rollbacks  
  • The Department of Corrections fire correction officers and their captain involved in Layleen Polanco’s death in solitary confinement at Rikers Island

 The following is a statement from Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project: 

 “The neglect and utter disregard for Layleen’s life by prison officials, which is confirmed by both the Bronx DA’s report and the released video showing the guards’ inaction outside her cell around the time of her death, is a travesty. Thousands of transgender people are regularly subjected to neglect and violence and stripped of their humanity within our nation’s jails and prisons. These acts of state violence have to stop and we are calling on our city and state officials to take action now to ensure accountability for Layleen’s tragic death, and to end the criminalization and disproportionate incarceration and abuse of transgender New Yorkers.”

An AVP spokesperson is available for comment.

###

 

Statement From Layleen Polanco’s Family On Newly Released Footage Of Inside Rikers

Media Contact:
Eliel Cruz, Director of Communications at AVP
ecruz@avp.org,
917-727-2107

David Shanies, Attorney representing Polanco family
david@shanieslaw.com
212-951-1710

The following is a statement from Layleen’s mother, sister, and brother, Aracelis Polanco and Melania Brown, Salomon Polanco respectively: 

“The Rikers video shows the world just how little these officers cared whether Layleen lived or died. Layleen’s supposed caretakers knew something was wrong with her, but they ignored her until hours after knowing she was not responsive.  When they finally opened her cell, they stood there laughing next to Layleen’s dead or dying body.

That laughter marked the end of Layleen’s inhumane treatment at Rikers, but there was so much more. It included doctors and high-ranking jail officials ignoring Layleen’s medical conditions and throwing her in solitary where no one would see her.  It included officers who were supposed to confirm she was alive every fifteen minutes at a minimum, who went for hours without actually checking on her safety. 

Layleen was our daughter and our sister.  She was a light not just to us but to her many friends, including her second family, the House of Xtravaganza.  We have tried to mourn her loss for over a year now, but we are still so angry.  Last week we learned that the Bronx District Attorney would not bring criminal charges against any of the people whose job it was to protect Layleen.  Her decision is wrong, but we never believed that justice would come from the same system that took Layleen’s life.  

Justice will come from changes made in Layleen’s name.  With her memory shining a light on the world, we will fight the system that took her life.  We encourage everyone in the community, in Layleen’s name, to call their legislators and demand they pass the HALT Solitary Act and end the Walking While Trans Ban.  With the community’s help, we will make our voices heard in every corner of the government, and we will fight in Layleen’s memory so that no other family has to experience the pain we have endured over the past year.”

Layleen’s family has asked members of the media and the public to respect their privacy in this time. 

###

Take Action To Demand #Justice4Layleen

One year ago our community lost Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old Afro-Latinx trans woman, who was pronounced dead in a solitary confinement cell at Rikers. We mourn the loss of Layleen, a sister, daughter, mother, friend, and community advocate. We are angry and stand with her family as they seek justice for her death.

AVP demands #JusticeForLayleen. We demand that:
  • The State Legislature pass HALT Solitary Confinement Act and end solitary confinement in New York City jails.
  • The State repeal #WalkingWhileTrans ban
  • The State stop implementation of 2020 bail reform rollbacks
  • The Bronx DA issue a public apology for dead-naming Layleen Polanco in a press release announcing the decision not to pursue criminal charges of officers in connection with Layleen’s death
  • Fire correction officers involved in Layleen Polanco’s death in solitary confinement at Rikers Island
Take action to demand #Justice4Layleen:
  • Contact, call or tweet at your state senator (@NYSenDems) and assembly member (@NYSA_Majority) to 1) pass #HALTSolitary Act to restrict solitary confinement’s use in New York State, and 2) stop implementation of 2020 bail reform rollbacks.

  • The #WalkingWhileTrans repeal has the votes needed to end Stop and Frisk of trans and gender non-conforming people. Contact, call or tweet at your state senator (@NYSenDems) and assembly member (@NYSA_Majority) to pass the bill to make it law in New York State.

  • Contact or tweet at Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor), contact your New York City Council Member, and/or contact or call the Board of Corrections (212-669-7900) to demand that they end solitary confinement in City jails immediately.

  • Tweet (@BronxDAClark) or call (718-590-2000) the Bronx DA Darcel Clark to demand she issue an apology for dead-naming LayleenPolanco in a press release announcing her decision not to pursue criminal charges of officers in connection with Layleen’s death

  • Contact or tweet at Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) and or contact, call (718-546-1500), tweet at Department of Corrections (@CorrectionNYC) to release publicly the names of and immediately fire correction officers involved in Layleen Polanco’s death in solitary confinement at Rikers Island.One Year of #Justice4Layleen

NCAVP mourns the death of 32-year-old Rebecca Gavilanez Alectus in Brick Township, TX

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic violence detailed in linked story

NCAVP mourns the death of Rebecca Gavilanez Alectus, a 32-year-old queer Black woman whose life was tragically lost to intimate partner violence in Brick Township, TX on May 17, 2020. According to local reports, Rebecca became the fatal victim of a violent assault after wife, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus, 48, attacked her.

A friend shared with reporters, “Rebecca… told her coworker that she had feared for her safety in the days before her death after telling her wife she no longer wanted to stay in the relationship, authorities said.”

After being arrested in Houston, TX, Mayra Gavilanez-Alectus faces weapon and murder charges.

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilngual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

LGBTQ Anti-Violence Organizations: #BlackLivesMatter and We Must Reallocate Government Budgets from Policing to Survivor Services

Contact:

Ericka Dixon, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs edixon@avp.org
Audacia Ray, New York City Anti-Violence Project aray@avp.org 

As anti-violence organizations that provide direct services for and advocacy with LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of hate, intimate partner, and sexual violence, we affirm that #BlackLivesMatter and demand that city, county, and state governments commit to reallocating funding from police departments to human services agencies, including LGBTQ and survivor-centered services. In this moment of deep unrest and uncertainty, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and in the wake of the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky; George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Florida, we demand that police funding be reallocated to organizations that prioritize Black lives and support survivors.

As anti-violence organizations, we work to support LGBTQ and HIV-affected individuals in reducing harm, and healing from the trauma those harms cause, as survivors of violence. For Black, indigenous, and people of color survivors, surviving homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic violence from a partner, acquaintance, family member, landlord, roommate, employer, coworker, or other individual is often paired with and compounded by racist and anti-Black violence they experience from the state. LGBTQ Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) survivors are not safe when our city, county, and state budgets prioritize the expansion of policing and continue to starve social services. Survivors are often criminalized for acts of survival, and instead of getting the care necessary to survive and thrive, their trauma is increased by harassment and violence they experience at the hands of the police. In order to work toward solutions that truly end violence, we must stand up against policing as a solution, and push for the reallocation of police funding to support community-based, trauma-informed organizations that support survivors, especially organizations that are led by BIPOC community leaders.

Our organizations operate with a survivor-centered framework, and this means supporting survivors in exploring all their options for healing and justice. For many survivors, this looks like receiving counseling support from our organizations, peer support from other survivors, and developing political education to connect their individual experiences with their communities and  building power with other survivors. Some survivors want to work with the government or state agencies to get an order of protection or even to bring charges against a person who has done them harm. We support these survivors in doing what they need to do to feel safe. 

We also believe that long-term, our communities are not safer when government budgets prioritize policing over human services that include health care, housing, education, and services for survivors of violence. During a pandemic in which LGBTQ people of color are vulnerable to illness, job loss, and housing instability, and in which Black people are dying at disproportionately higher rates, it is unconscionable for governments to fund police departments at the same or higher levels, while cutting social services. It’s time for budgets to prioritize people and social services over policing.

If you would like to add your organization to statement, sign on here.

Current Signatories:

  1. Advocacy Center of Tompkins County
  2. ALIVE
  3. Barrier Free Living Inc.
  4. Black and Latino LGBTQ Coalition
  5. Brooklyn Community Pride Center
  6. California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
  7. Catholic Charities
  8. Center for Safety & Change
  9. Center for Survivor Agency & Justice
  10. Chosen Family Law Center, Inc.
  11. City University of New York School of Law
  12. CUAV
  13. Day One
  14. Diverse and Resilient
  15. Domestic Violence Project
  16. Equality New York
  17. Fenway Health — Violence Recovery Program
  18. GAPIMNY — Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders
  19. Gender Equality New York
  20. Haven Partners Group
  21. Human Rights at Home Clinic Mass Law
  22. Illinois Accountability Initiative
  23. Jane Doe Inc. MA Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence
  24. Legal Aid Society
  25. Los Angeles LGBT Center
  26. MenChallenging
  27. North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence
  28. NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse
  29. NYC Anti-Violence Project
  30. OutFront Minnesota
  31. Pacific Coast Counseling
  32. Positive Sum Consulting
  33. Pride Center of Vermont
  34. Rachel Weiss
  35. Rainbow Community Cares
  36. Safe Horizon
  37. Sakhi for South Asian Women
  38. Self
  39. St. Loui Anti-Violence Project
  40. Legal Aid Society
  41. The Legal Project
  42. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
  43. LGBTQ Center Long Beach
  44. The Montrose Center
  45. Trans Pride Initiative
  46. Violence Recovery Program of Fenway Health
  47. Willow Domestic Violence Center NY
  48. WINGS Foundation
  49. YMCA of Genesee Count
  50. ZA’AKAH

AVP Demands Divestment from Policing and Investment in Services for LGBTQ and HIV-affected Survivors

As Pride month begins in New York City with protests against anti-Black police violence and an ongoing global pandemic, the New York City Anti-Violence Project demands divestment from policing and investment in social services and resources for low-income New Yorkers of color. The last fifty years of LGBTQ lives in NYC were marked by protest: the Stonewall Riots, civil disobedience around the AIDS crisis, and vigils and rallies supporting the lives of trans women of color and mourning those lost to an epidemic of violence. In this moment, we must remember our history and stand up for what our community needs to survive and thrive.

The LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of violence who AVP serves, especially Black people and trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people of color, have historically been profiled and targeted by law enforcement. AVP believes in a different approach to create safety, one that doesn’t include increased policing, but relies on communities to know what they need to be safe, and includes funding and implementing creative solutions. 

Over-policing of communities of color was already in full-force as NYPD began enforcing COVID-19 social distancing measures. Policing is not an effective public health tactic, and it does not build safety for our communities. Over the last few days as our City erupted in protests of the death of George Floyd, and the deeply entrenched racism that allows Black lives to be ended without consequence by state violence, police violence has been on full display in New York City and around the country, in the deaths of Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman in Louisville, Kentucky; and Tony McDade, a Black trans man killed in Tallahassee, Florida. In order to fulfill our mission of ending all forms of violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, it is imperative that we speak out against police violence and work to end state violence against our communities.

As an organization that centers LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, we know first-hand of the harms of increased policing, particularly on queer, trans, and non-binary people of color, and over the last few days we have been providing support to LGBTQ community members who have experienced violence at the hands of the NYPD. The people AVP serves includes: low-income (including homeless) individuals; transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) communities; undocumented immigrants including those seeking asylum; people of color; individuals who are incarcerated or entangled in the criminal legal system; sex workers; and those at the intersections of these identities. During this time of crisis, AVP’s core client base are even more in danger and are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and over-policing. 

The City must: 

  • Invest in social services that support survivors, including counseling and legal services for survivors, housing, education, and health care (including mental health). 
  • Divest from the New York Police Department. As a member of Communities United for Police Reform, we support the #NYCBudgetJustice campaign and advocate for significant reductions in funding for the NYPD. This includes an overall NYPD hiring freeze, cuts to NYPD’s expansion into non-police activities/social services (e.g. homeless outreach, mental health response, the new “youth initiative”, and social distancing outreach/enforcement); as well as cuts related to abusive policing. 
  • Suspend all policing of and arrests for low-level offences during the pandemic. This includes a moratorium on illegitimate and abusive targeting of Black and brown folks, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and sex workers as well as others in informal economies.
  • End “pandemic policing” and resource and empower social services and health agencies to address social distancing guidelines and public health concerns around COVID-19.
  • End the criminalization of LGBTQ survivors and HIV-affected people of color by divesting from the NYPD’s VICE (which is used by police to harass those suspected of committing “public-order” crimes including prostitution) and MARCH operations (a “multi-agency response to community hotspots” that conducts planned raids on nightclubs which are often in LGBTQ and/or communites of color).
  • End criminalization of unhoused people, who include LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors.
  • Deescalate militarization of police by ending curfew restrictions. Increased restrictions to people’s movement paired with increased police presence is violence.

The State must:

  • Repeal Police Secrecy Law 50a (A2513-O’Donnell/S3695-Bailey), which is routinely used to shield police misconduct and failed police disciplinary processes from the public.
  • Repeal the Walking While Trans ban (A654-Paulin/S2253-Hoylman), which is a loitering law that police routinely use to target and harass trans women of color.
  • Cease the implementation of 2020 bail rollbacks that expand the categories of bailable offences and put thousands more in jail pre-trial and pre-conviction. 
  • Reduce unnecessary arrests for non-criminal offenses (A4053-Aubry/S2571-Bailey) to end harmful and needless arrests for violations, which are minor, non-criminal, ticketable offenses.

Black New Yorkers are twice as likely to die from COVID, and fatalities among Latinx New Yorkers are the second highest in the city, and both these communities are disproportionately policed in relation to their non-Black, non-Latinx counterparts. It is unacceptable that we are using policing to address both protests against anti-Black police violence and the worst health crisis the city has seen in more than a century.

Safety in a time of pandemic doesn’t mean more officers and harm, but it should mean more investment in social services and public health — a priority that the FY21 City budget does not currently reflect, but must in the coming weeks before adoption. 

 

NCAVP mourns the death of 30-year-old Christopher Rodriguez in Harlem, NY

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic violence detailed in linked story

NCAVP mourns the death of Christopher Rodriguez, a 30-year-old gay man whose life was tragically lost to violence in Harlem, New York on May 16, 2020. According to local reports, Christopher became the fatal victim of an assault on Mother’s Day, after a friend he took in to stay with him in his apartment, Aljo Mrkulic, 31, brutally attacked him.

Christopher was a Lehman College graduate who spent his time tending to and taking care of his family. Christopher’s mother, Jacqueline Perez says, “He was the center of our family.” She says, “He always went to parties to dance. He was always taking care of animals. He would even feed cats in the street.” We send our deepest condolences in light of this tragic loss.

Local police are continuing to investigate Aljo Mrkulic who was taken into custody following the attack. Christopher’s brother is crowdfunding funeral costs. You can donate to that fund here.

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilngual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

NCAVP mourns the death of 28-year-old Nina Pop in Sikeston, Missouri

NCAVP mourns the death of  Nina Pop, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman whose life was tragically lost to violence in Sikeston, Missouri on May 3, 2020. Currently under police investigation, Nina was found dead in her apartment with injuries from an apparent assault.

In local reports, Nina’s friend,  Emory McCauley mourns, “She was always happy and we try not to take that personally, but it hits home a little bit.” On her Facebook page, friends remember her, “everyone knew and loved you.”

Local police are continuing this investigation and seeking motive for potential hate crime charges.

We know it can be hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilngual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.