Ananya’s experience on the lobby day in Albany

Morning meeting with Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

On Tuesday April 30th, members from the Kalief Browder Foundation and Friends students went to Albany to lobby for the H.A.L.T Solitary Confinement Act to be brought to the floor as soon as possible. Upon our arrival, I had the first meeting with my group with majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Even though the meeting was only 10 minutes, I spoke about the detrimental impacts of solitary confinement and my group members spoke more about the bill, shared personal stories and important statistics to persuade senator Stewart-Cousins to bring the bill to the floor. In the afternoon, my second group and I met with a representative of Senator Alessandra Biaggi, already a co-sponsor of the bill, to persuade her to ask other senators to sign the bill and continue advocating for it. Meeting the senators and their representatives in Albany gave me insight on how advocacy is not a one time event. When Senator Stewart-Cousins explained to us the the difficulties of supporting the H.A.L.T. bill and told us about opposition and social tensions regarding the bill, I understood that the fight and the work for advocating for a cause you support is ongoing. I also had the opportunity of listening to other senators at an open press conference between the two meetings. The senators were co sponsors of the bill and although they were very genuine in their support for the bill and the people, it was evident that they could not promise or make quick actions for the bill to be passed, but it was a continuous and rigorous process.

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