Friday, October 23: Shut Down Rikers Island

 Shut Down Rikers!

 Oct 23, Non-Violent Direct Action as part of




Just 300 yards from the runways at LaGuardia airport, just a few miles from a glistening city, an island sits dedicated to confinement, brutality, and torture of our youth and others.  Human beings languish for weeks, months, sometimes years awaiting trial. Many simply for lack of money for bail.  Almost all Black or Latino. Many locked down for weeks and months in solitary confinement.  Guards inflict a culture of violence – fractured jaws, broken bones, denial of medical care, cover-ups and retaliation against those who report, and rampant sexual violence against the women and LGBT people as well as the men.  Rikers typifies and concentrates the immorality and illegitimacy of mass incarceration in the U.S.

It is difficult to say which is a greater shock to the conscience: that this torture and brutality goes on day in and day out, or that millions go about their daily lives accepting this as normal just miles away.

The violence against inmates at Rikers has been studied.  It has been exposed.  Guards have been sued.  Settlements have been paid.  The deaths inflicted through brutality and negligence have been documented. The life-long trauma and disfunction imposed on inmates has been proven.  Yet the brutality continues day in and day out.  All this is plain for the whole world to see. 

The time for wringing our hands is over.  The time for cosmetic but essentially meaningless reforms is over.  A line must be drawn.  People of conscience must put our bodies on the line to stop this depravity and barbarity, else we ourselves are complicit.


This call was initiated by:

Nellie Bailey, Harlem activist
Rev. Jerome McCorry & Candace McCorry, Rise Up October Faith Task Force
Rev. Stephen Phelps, Member, Presbytery of New York City*
Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, killed in unjust U.S. war on Iraq, 2004 (click here to read "Why I Want to Shut Down Rikers" by Cindy Sheehan)
Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution Newspaper, initiator of
Mia Thornton, NYU Student Activist
Jame Vrettos, Professor John Jay College of Criminal Justice*

* for identification purposes only



Queens entrance to Rikers Island – 19th Avenue and Hazen Street

To join the action or provide support:


It is very easy, it just takes quite a bit of time.  So, wake up and leave early.  Its important to be on time. 

From wherever you live, make plans to get to the Q101 bus stop at 8:00.   

The closest trains are the F train to 63rd & Lexington or the 4,5,6,N,Q, R trains to 59th and Lexington.  

The Q101 bus stop is on 2nd Avenue between 60th and 61st streets.  It is on the West side of the street.

The Q101 bus comes every 12 minutes (or so) and takes approximately 45 minutes to get to the Queens entrance to Rikers Island.  Relax, sit back, you can’t get lost.  You are taking this bus to the last stop.  You will be dropped off within eyesight of the big “Welcome to Rikers” sign that is at the intersection of Hazen Street and 19th Avenue.

We will be gathering one block up on Hazen street (away from the bridge) at a little corner just up the street.  Look for the people with the big enlargements of people’s faces.  These are the faces of people who were killed by medical neglect or guard brutality at Rikers.


If you are familiar with Queens, you can also take the Q100 which originates on Jackson Av at 42 Road and stops at 19th and Hazel Street.

October 23, 2015 at 9am - 12pm
Queens entrance to Rikers Island
77-84 19th Ave
East Elmhurst, NY 11370
United States
Google map and directions

Will you come?

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  • commented 2015-10-19 08:58:07 -0400
    Anyone coming from Montclair? I no how 2 get 2 pen station & take subways but don’t no queens…
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  • posted about this on Facebook 2015-10-04 11:47:42 -0400
    Please RSVP: Direct Action
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