Roc/Acts Community Forum

Thank you to Roc/ACTS and Baber African Methodist Episcopal Church for hosting a candidate’s Q&A session last evening, and to Tiana Mañón, Editor in Chief of Open Mic Rochester for moderating.

There were a couple of questions asked that I wasn’t able to answer due to time constraints- those questions had to do with marijuana, and solitary confinement.

So, I’ll answer them here.

1) I am the only candidate for the 23rd legislative district that has decriminalizing marijuana as part of my platform. We know the current DA is still prosecuting low level offenses, and as Shani Curry Mitchell, Democratic candidate for District Attorney stated last night, when elected, she would not prosecute those offenses. We also know that for every 10 black people arrested, only 1 white person has been arrested. (https://www.wxxinews.org/post/new-data-rochester-drug-arrests-10-times-higher-black-people).

This is a social justice issue, that must be addressed so we can work to make our society more equitable. When elected, I’ll do the following:

- advocate that the DA doesn’t prosecute for low level offenses

- advocate that the state legalizes

- fight to ensure Monroe County opts into legalization

I also believe that the tax revenue derived from cannabis sales needs to be reinvested into poor communities that have been affected by the criminalization of marijuana.

As an elected representative, I’ll partner with organizations already doing the work, and work with my colleagues in county government to advocate for these issues.

2) The second question had to do with solitary confinement. Solitary confinement has a negative impact (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-chemistry/201902/the-effects-solitary-confinement-the-brain) especially long-term solitary confinement, and I believe that people deserve to be treated with respect, and dignity. Instead of resorting to what’s been compared to torture, we need to be looking at other restorative options (https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/us/rethinking-solitary-confinement.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share).

We need people elected who will bring the fight for a more transparent, equitable government to the county- and that’s what I’ll do when elected.

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