It was another busy week at The Fortune Society. From arts events to conferences and visits from elected officials, here’s a list of the latest news.
All this week, from September 22nd-28th, Executive Vice President Stanley Richards is currently visiting correctional facilities in Europe to better understand how NYC jails can rehabilitate—not punish. Stanley, who is also acting-vice chair of the NYC Board of Corrections, is part of a delegation selected to gain deeper insight into how design and operations can create more humane facilities. Learn more about his groundbreaking trip.
On September 27th, participants graduated from our Transitional Work Program. The Transitional Work Program provides Employment Services graduates with a part-time paid internship within our employer network, encouraging a more self-sufficient job search while improving problem solving skills and professionalism. Congratulations to all who completed the program!
On September 26th, Fortune had a visit from Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, who represents State Assembly District 39 in Queens. Assemblywoman Cruz met with staff and toured the agency with our AVP of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy Andre Ward to learn about the impact of our programs on justice involved people. As a supporter of criminal justice reform and the first DREAMer elected to the New York State Assembly, Assemblywoman Cruz previously spoke at our One Day to Protect New Yorkers rally in Albany —and we were excited to see her at our headquarters in Long Island City.
On September 26th, Fortune’s Music Program announced the release of its first album, “Success Stories Vol.1.” The album, produced by Fortune participant Darnell McCro, features several talented artists who channeled their experiences with justice involvement into 12 powerful tracks. Tune-in, listen, and share at “4tune Society” on Soundcloud.
Tonight’s September General Meeting : Criminal Justice Reform pic.twitter.com/mZejyvs7tp
— Community Free Dems (@cfdnyc) September 27, 2019
On September 26th, our President & CEO JoAnne Page spoke on a criminal justice reform panel hosted by The Community Free Democrats of the Upper West Side, focusing on bail reform and closing Rikers. Also on the panel were Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell and Sarah Berger, Chair of the Criminal Justice Operations Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
On September 25th, State Senator Zellnor Myrie toured our facility in Long Island City with our AVP of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy and Policy Counsel Danielle Rosario. Senator Myrie, who represents State Senate District 20 in Brooklyn and is a supporter of criminal justice reform, learned about our employment and education services, including our green jobs programs and job readiness workshops. He even took a peek inside our music production studio! See photos from his visit.
On September 24th, AVP of Programs Robert DeLeon attended the Concordia Annual Summit held alongside the UN General Assembly. At this global conference, Robert joined a roundtable discussion on the cannabis industry and spoke out about the unfair effects of marijuana prohibition on poor communities of color. Read his statement on Twitter.
On September 22nd, at Castle Gardens, Fortune performed, “The Castle,” a play directed and conceived by our Founder David Rothenberg. It told the story of four formerly incarcerated New Yorkers who relate their journeys of crime, privation and redemption.
On September 21st, Fortune poets shared original works at the 2019 Backlot Festival at Mar’s Restaurant in Astoria. The annual event was held by the Kaufman Arts District in community with Newtown Literary and Queensbound. It was a powerful day of expression, with poems touching on a range of topics, including family, incarceration experiences, and commentary on the criminal justice system. Additionally, Creative Writing Teacher Jamie Maleszka, along with Doc, a Fortune poet, read poems on behalf of people currently in prison. Check out highlights from the reading on Instagram.