Our Work Is Not Done

Jun. 15, 2015

Thank you to everyone who participated in Inside/Outside, the 2015 Legislative Theatre Festival, whether in the theatre or remotely! 
Over the course of two evenings, 500 “spect-actors” collaborated with partnering advocacy organizations to generate five proposals in response to our troupes’ plays, which were presented to the attending legislators and voted on by actors and audiences. On the final day, workshops by Participatory Budgeting NYC, Arts & Democracy and Community Voices Heard trained community members in other forms of creative civic engagement. 

2015 Policy Proposals:
Proposals inspired by scenes from the Center for Court Innovation Staten Island Youth Justice Centerand CASES Brooklyn Justice Corps (6.4.15):
  • End zero-tolerance policies and increase budgetary monies available for student advocates and guidance counselors by decreasing the presence of NYPD School Safety Officers shifting disciplinary response from officers to advocates, social workers, and educators, while also moving disciplinary response away from strict punishment and toward mediation and restorative justice principles.
  • Free MetroCards, unlimited in scope, for all NYC students through the 12th grade.
  • Implement the mandatory use of body cameras for all NYPD officers whilst on duty as well as make it mandatory to video record all NYPD interrogations of civilians. The video will be stored in the offices of the District Attorneys and be made available as a matter of discovery in all criminal cases and civil suits.

Proposals inspired by scenes from Covenant House and Housing Works (6.5.15):
  • All students should be able to graduate from CUNY without any debt, with backing from city subsidies.
  • City Council includes seed money in the current budget for the future expansion of discharge planning resources for incarcerated individuals.
  • Audiences also proposed to support the Fair Chance Act, which promises to Ban the Box on employment applications asking about conviction history and bar employers from asking about conviction history during a first interview. UPDATE: passed in the City Council on Wednesday, June 10th!
Our work is not done. TONYC will pursue the proposals created by the festival, and here are our next steps:
  • Hold a strategic meeting with over 20 partnering advocacy organizations on June 25th, to identify follow-up actions to support the actors’ and spect-actors’ proposals;
  • Meet with TONYC actors, City Council Members, federal staff and the Brooklyn Borough President’s office in June and July, to urge the legislators to stay accountable to the proposals;
  • Keep you informed with news, resources and invitations to take action. We’re creating a special mailing list: click here to sign up for advocacy updates.