08.18.2020 - Rikers Island Enterance, Queens - #Whatabouther Rally
Justice for Women Task Force is an advocacy group dedicated to “upholding & protecting the inherent dignity, value & human rights of incarcerated women in NY & urge protection of women behind bars during COVID19.”
Rikers Island (Also known as “Torture Island”) is notoriously known to be a dangerous and inhumane environment for it’s 90% black and hispanic inmates. Womxn are housed at the Rosie M. Singer Center and have been since 1988. According to a Department of Justice study Rosie’s is considered among the top 12 worst jails in the country because of the sexual, verbal and physical abuse that occurs within the prison at the hands of the guards. Female guards, and visitors, have also complained about inappropriate behavior by male guards. Many of these incarcerated womxn could not meet their bail and therefore must remain at Rikers until their trial which then prolongs the abuse.
The Justice for Women Task Force are demanding the Island be shut down as soon as possible but in the meantime they are also demanding womxn be given basic human rights which include the end of abuse, medical and mental health assistance, nutritional foods, an end to solitary confinement.
Layleen Polanco, a black trans womxn, was on the minds of many today. She is the most recent casualty of Rikers. She died in solitary confinement after guards failed to provide the medical help she needed.
Mayor Bill De Blasio has put plans in place to shut down Rikers Island in 2027 but for some of these womxn that's not soon enough.