On April 6, 2022, Assembly members Latrice Walker, Harvey Epstein, Zohran K. Mamdani, and Marcela Mitaynes were joined by multiple criminal justice reform organizations in an eleventh hour protest of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed changes to bail law.
“We stand here to say we are against a dangerous proposal creeping its way into our bail law,” said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, who is currently on day 16 of a hunger strike in response to Hochul’s plan to change the parameters of who qualifies for cashless bail.
The protestors paraded down the Million Dollar Staircase chanting “Roll back, no way; blood is on your hands today,” in unison.
A group of observers, speakers, legislators, and protestors gathered in a group of about 50 to discuss bail reforms’ place in the forthcoming New York state budget.
“This will criminalize those most in need while helping those least deserving of our assistance,” said Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani. “These rollbacks do nothing to address the concerns of gun violence in the state. We are debating legislation that will kill constituents for the sake of [opinion] polls.”
The protestors sang “This little light of mine” whilst interjecting their own lines “To our friends at Rikers, I’m gonna let it shine, through the halls of Albany, I’m gonna let it shine,” as well as “We Shall Overcome.”
Groups such as the Capital Area Council of Churches, VOCAL- NY, Freedom Agenda, Center for Community Alternatives, Release Aging People in Prisons Campaign were represented at the event.
“We stand here to say we are against a dangerous proposal creeping its way into our bail law,” said Assemblywoman Walker, who is on day 16 of a hunger strike to oppose changes to the bail laws. “This is a hostile taking of liberty and justice.”