Support for political prisoners doesn’t stop during a pandemic; in fact it only intensifies as prisoners are in extremely dangerous conditions without the ability to socially distance or access to protective supplies. On top of that, staff members have been deliberately defying CDC guidelines endangering prisoners by coughing without covering their mouth, etc. Please join us this Monday April 27th for our monthly letter-writing event at 6:30pm. Due to COVID-19, this event will be held online using the secure open source video conferencing platform, Jitsi. Privacy is encouraged – no one is expected to share their camera.
Meet link: https://meet.jit.si/phillyabc
Dial-in: +1.512.402.2718 PIN: 2879 3222 67#
This month we are writing to Joy Powell. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Joy has contracted COVID-19 inside Bedford Hills Prison. She is in quarantine, fighting the virus, but we are concerned because she has the underlying conditions of both asthma and diabetes. Prior to testing positive for the virus, she wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo asking him for clemency due to her age and preexisting conditions making her more vulnerable to complications.
Background: As a pastor and a consistent activist against police brutality, violence and oppression in her community, Rev. Joy Powell was warned by the Rochester Police department that she was a target because of her speaking out against corruption. On many occasions Rev. Joy had held rallies and spoke out against the police brutality and “police justifications” in Rochester NY through her organization ‘Equality and Justice for All.’ Later, Rev. Joy was accused and convicted of 1st Degree Burglary and Assault and subjected to an unfair trial.
An all white jury tried her; the state provided no evidence and no eyewitnesses. Rev. Joy was not allowed to discuss her activism or say that she was a pastor. The person that testified for her was not allowed to tell the court that he knew Rev. Joy through their activist work and through the church. Furthermore, judge Francis Affronti promised he was going to give her a harsh sentence because he did not like her. She was sentenced to 16 years and seven years concurrent. After this conviction, herself and others were charged with a cold murder case. After her codefendent was acquitted, Joy was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. She maintains her innocence and has appealed the conviction because evidence has been withheld from her defense team to this day.
If you are unable to join us on Jitsi, please send Joy a letter anyways:
Rev. Joy Powell #07-g-0632
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2499