The Bronx Defenders Host Fourth Annual Community Day of Action in Albany


Anthony Chiarito, The Bronx Defenders, 

The Bronx Defenders and State Elected Officials Rallied in Albany to Fight for Transformative Change in the Bronx and Beyond 

The Bronx Defenders host their 4th Annual Community Day of Action in Albany 

Advocates called for the passage of Clean Slate, Treatment Not Jail, New York For All, and Family Miranda Rights, among many more 

New York, NY – On Wednesday, May 17th, The Bronx Defenders traveled to Albany with community leaders and supporters to lobby for legislation that will reduce incarceration, keep families together, and deliver true community safety to everyone in the Bronx and beyond. 

“The Bronx Defenders is calling for the passage of legislation that would help keep families together, liberate our communities, and give New Yorkers the resources and opportunities they need to survive and thrive,” said Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders. “As public defenders, we are using our proximity to power and the systems that oppress the people we represent to call for transformative and lasting change. Albany lawmakers must center the people most impacted by our legal systems in their policymaking. That means passing Clean Slate, Treatment Not Jail, New York For All, and Family Miranda now.” 

“Today, we are in Albany not just to advocate for a series of bills, but to outline a vision, a blueprint, for how we can achieve true community safety for every New Yorker,” said Brittany McCoy, Interdisciplinary Policy Director at The Bronx Defenders. “That vision starts with recognizing how our oppressive legal systems fuel mass incarceration, deportation, family separation, and housing instability. And that their interconnected harms cannot be addressed piecemeal, but all at once, if we are to have meaningful and lasting change. As public defenders, we must fight to change policies before we enter the courtroom. And we’re here to do just that.”

For the past four years, The Bronx Defenders has hosted a Community Day of Action to advocate for systemic changes that would dismantle the oppressive systems that fuel mass incarceration, deportation, family separation, and housing instability. During the past two years, we’ve hosted our Lobby Day virtually. This year, The Bronx Defenders returned to Albany in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic to urge passage of legislation that the borough has identified as critical to its survival and well-being. 

The Bronx Defenders rallied on the Million Dollar steps, calling for the passage of 16 pieces of legislationCollectively, this agenda represents a blueprint of what it will take to ensure true community safety in the Bronx. 

  • Justice & Opportunity for All  

            After a half century of racist and excessive sentencing laws, it’s time to end them                and create pathways of opportunity for all New Yorkers. 

    • Treatment Not Jail (S1976 / A1263) 
    • Second Look Act (S321 / A531) 
    • Eliminate Mandatory Minimums (S06471 / A2036) 
    • Earned Time Act (S774 / A1128) 
    • PromPT Stability Act (S3066 / A3750A) 
    • Youth Justice and Opportunities Act (S3426 / A4238) 
  • Freedom and Dignity for All  

           We must end the inhumane caging of immigrant New Yorkers and reunify families. 

    • Dignity Not Detention Act (S306 / A4354) 
    • New York For All Act (S987 / A5686) 
  • Stability and Prosperity for All 

            Every New Yorker has rights, regardless of a criminal record. 

    • Clean Slate (S211 / A1029) 
    • Preliminary License Application Navigation (PLAN) Act (S03250 / A04893) 
    • Right to Counsel (S2721 / A1493) 
    • Clean Hands (S. Pending / A1853) 
    • Enforcement of Election Law (pending) 
  • Family Unity and Fairness for All  

            Parents and families have rights and deserve to know them at all times. 

    • Family Miranda Rights (S901 / A1980) 
    • Informed Consent (S320 / A109)
    • Anti-Harassment in Reporting (S902 / A2479) 

State Senator said Gustavo Rivera: “The policies outlined in The Bronx Defenders’ Holistic Policy Agenda focus on delivering real community safety to The Bronx. Decades of over-policing and mass incarceration have not made our communities safer. I am proud to support this legislative package to ensure that Bronxites and consequently all New Yorkers have the resources they need to thrive.” 

State Senator Jose Serrano said“This legislative package represents an opportunity to reduce incarceration, keep families together, and deliver true community safety to everyone in the Bronx, and the rest of the State. As the Senator of the 29th district, representing parts of the Bronx and East Harlem, we need to continue to work towards transforming the criminal justice system to ensure a fair and equitable process for people in the Bronx, and beyond. Many thanks to the sponsors on this legislative package, the Bronx Defenders, and other advocates that continue to promote community safety and bring real and lasting change for communities in the Bronx.” 

State Senator Nathalia Fernandez said: “Communities in the Bronx have the right to be heard, but they have often faced oppression due to biased policies, aggressive policing, and mass incarceration. Today is an opportunity for us to unite and demand legislation that prioritizes our future and ensures genuine community safety. We need laws that keep families together, eliminate racist surveillance and policing, promote fairness, compassion, and provide the necessary resources for people to thrive. By implementing transformative changes such as sentencing reform, ending family separation, supporting immigrant rights, and giving everyone a second chance, we can create lasting change and overcome divisive narratives. The time for action is now. Organizations like The Bronx Defenders recognize the importance of uplifting marginalized New Yorkers and fighting for true freedom and community safety in our state.” 

Assembly Member Chantel Jackson said: “The criminal justice system in the South Bronx is plagued with inequalities that disproportionately affect people of color. As a representative of the South Bronx, I and other legislators must work with organizations like The Bronx Defenders to provide our constituents with access to justice regardless of ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic background and fair and equitable legal representation.” 

Assembly Member Amanda Septimo said: “New Yorkers deserve laws that will demand justice for all, support keeping families together, provide opportunities to thrive, and ensure community safety in the Bronx. Only if we are unafraid of change in trying to fix the racially biased policies of the past, can we welcome a future where communities like the South Bronx can succeed. I am grateful to the Bronx Defenders for their fierce advocacy for policies that correct mistakes of the past while keeping an eye toward building for the future.” 

Assembly Member Kenny Burgos said: “Too many families are being separated due to mass incarceration, anti-immigration policies, and a lack of reentry services. This is especially a major issue in the Bronx and underserved communities. During this final stretch, it’s imperative that we pass legislation that protects the rights of immigrants, Bronxites, and all New Yorkers. I am grateful for the support and service of the Bronx Defenders, and I am proud to welcome them here today as they advocate for these critical issues.”