2014 Call to Action


P1000162Last year, Governor Cuomo played the progressive community—promising to end stop-and-frisk policing and to increase women’s empowerment—and betraying all of us in the end. This year, we’re not going to let the Governor get away with just paying lip service to our demands. Join us now, and throughout 2014, for a series of actions to demand criminal justice and sustainable agriculture. We are stepping up our pressure, and we need your help to organize actions across New York State.

Our Priorities
Three Actions for Change

Our Priorities

1. We need SAFE Parole

Every year thousands of people locked up in New York’s prisons participate in educational and vocational programs to prepare themselves for their parole hearings, so they can return home. Tragically, the Parole Board more often than not denies people parole due to the “nature of their crime,” something they cannot change. We need a parole system that gives peoples a second chance and a set of tools to be able to return to their communities. The Safe And Fair Evaluation (SAFE) Parole Act will make the parole board accountable for its decisions, empower applicants to take concrete action to improve their readiness for parole, and reunite families across the state.

  • Download a factsheet on the SAFE Parole Act
  • Read the full text and legislative history

2. We need to Buy From Our Back Yard

The New York public school system purchases enough food and milk to feed over one million children every day. Today they purchase whatever food is cheapest, which is typically made by multi-national corporations and trucked all over the globe. Imagine the environmental and economic impacts if our public institutions purchased from local farms. The Buy From the Backyard Act will require 20% of food bought by state institutions, including schools, to be grown in New York State, and allows a 10% price margin above the bottom of the market. That means healthier food, a healthier environment, healthier local economy, and healthier kids!

  • Read the full text and legislative history

Three Actions For Change

We plan to build pressure through a series of coordinated actions across New York State. Please join us by organizing and participating in a local action in your community. Below are three actions we are planning. Check out additional resources here and contact us at action@milknotjails.org or (917) 719-MILK.

1. Tell Your Story of Parole Board Neglect

Deadline: January 20, 2014     / /    More Resources Coming Soon…

This January, during the first week of the 2014 legislative session, we will deliver 500 letters to Albany from people in prison and their families about New York’s broken parole system. We will create a public installation in the Capitol Building to make sure our elected officials hear loud and clear the devastation our parole system has on the lives of families and make sure they no longer walk away from our demand for a solution – the SAFE Parole Act. Help us gather by participating in the following now:

Send a Letter Now: Write a letter about your personal experience with the New York parole system. Send one copy to Senator Gallivan and one copy to Milk Not Jails. Download a sample letter.

Ask for a Letter Now: Spread the word! Ask your friends, family and community to share their personal experiences or to send a form letter. Senator Gallivan is from the Buffalo area, so it is especially important that any friends you have from that area pitch in.

Deliver a Letter on January 21, 2014: Be sure to send a copy of your letter to Milk Not Jails and then join us as we head to Albany to hand deliver all 500 letters the week of Martin Luther King Day (Tuesday, January 21, 2013). We want the entire legislature to be aware of all of the heart-breaking stories that flooded Senator Gallivan’s office over the winter. Come with us to deliver your letter to Albany, along with all the other letters, and put them on display for the media and other politicians to see.

2. Outcry Over (non-local) Milk

Deadline March 31, 2014     / /    More Resources Coming Soon…

Organize a Class Project: Teachers and students—get together to organize a class project to explore the question, “Where does the food in the school cafeteria come from?” This project can take any number of forms depending on age and grade level: a video, a poster, a performance! We want to collaborate with you to develop a lesson plan. We can also come to your classroom to lead a brief discussion of the food supply chain in New York State.

Turn It In by March 31, 2014: Together, we’ll present these projects to key legislators in your local district and in Albany to demand passage of the Buy From Our Back Yard Act. Your students can win over the hearts and votes of their elected officials and make a difference!

3. Legislator Homecoming to Bring People in Prison Home

Deadline April 22, 2013    / /    More Resources Coming Soon…

Host a homecoming demonstration in front of your State Senator’s district office when they come home for the spring holidays. Every year the state legislature has a week-long recess when representatives return to their districts to celebrate spring holidays and connect with the voters. This year we’ll be ready for them. When they come home let’s demand that they pass the SAFE Parole Act so everyone can celebrate the holidays with their families! Welcome them with Passover or Easter treats while you let them know how difficult it is to visit your loved one for the holiday and how hard it is for them to qualify for parole.

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