Join the movement to release our elders from prison & help them connect to the social services in our communities.
Come learn about the unjust barriers Senior Citizens face getting out of prison and how to re-build strong & healthy communities by supporting their release, re-integration, & re-entry into our neighborhoods.
Free Admission includes 9am continental breakfast and lunch.
Speakers, Workshops, Music, Informational Tables, Community Organizations & Social Service Providers, & Engaging Dialogue & Discussion!
Ms. Rose Laborde, mother of Political Prisoner Abdullah Majid
Sekou Odinga, recently released elder & former U.S. Political Prisoner
Farid Mujahid, formerly incarcerated elder & co-founder of RAPP
Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, Malcolm X Commemoration Committee
Al Tony Simon, formerly incarcerated elder & organizer for RAPP
Kelly Sloan, NYC singer/songwriter
In Partnership with:
Queens Community Board 12: Senior Citizen & Health Committee, Youth Committee
Queens Educational Opportunity Center
Southeast Queens Muslim Collective
E, J, or Z trains to Parsons Blvd.-Jamaica Center. F train to Parsons Blvd., 4 blocks south to Archer Avenue. Long Island Bus: N4 or Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Jamaica Station.
Mark your calendars: On Saturday, July 9 th , the Queens Educational Opportunity Center will be the site of a lively community forum. The gathering, “Elders in Prison: Bringing Them Home & Rebuilding Our Communities,” will bring together neighbors, seniors, and experts on health and housing for workshops, performances, and informal discussions. The entire event, beginning at 9:00 a.m., is free of charge, including breakfast and lunch.
The Queens community forum has been in the planning for a year. In June 2015, Al Tony Simon of Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP spoke at a meeting of Community Board 12-Queens, urging the board to support the efforts of incarcerated elders to win their release and re-join their neighbors, families, and friends in Queens. As Tess McRae reported in the Southeast Queens Press at the time, “When a serious crime is committed and a young individual is sent to prison for decades, it’s hard to imagine them as a senior citizen living behind bars. But more often than not, men and women over the age of 50 sit and eventually die in prison, even if they haven’t posed a threat to society for years.”
Queens Community Board 12’s Senior Citizen & Health Committee and Youth Committee will host the event together with RAPP and the Southeast Queens Muslim Collective. “The Senior Citizen & Health Committee of Community Board 12 in Queens, with the support of the entire Board, is honored to partner with RAPP in presenting a forum to the community on welcoming home older adults who have been incarcerated for many years,” said Carol J. Hunt, Chairperson of the Senior Citizen & Health Committee. “Southeast Queens is privileged to have 10 senior centers which will be the most welcoming environment for them because of the core values of what a senior center stands for,” Hunt added.
René Valdez, an organizer with RAPP, described what will take place on July 9. “We are going to hear from elders who, since their own release from prison, have served as mentors and advocates, providing support and guidance to other formerly incarcerated people—and through that work, to the community as a whole,” he said. “They will be speaking on panels alongside former employees of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, health care providers, housing experts, and social workers.”
The organizers pointed to the comments Mr. Simon made last June in his appearance at the Community Board meeting, as reported in the Southeast Queens Press:
“I just served 30 years, I came into the prison system in 1981 and was released in 2013, but I made a transition while in prison,” Tony Simon, a former inmate and RAPP advocate, said. “So many young people make mistakes in life, end up with long-term bids and change as they age. They become positive assets to society through making amends and redeeming themselves.”
Those assets can be magnified if other communities follow the example of Queens, not only welcoming returning citizens but also learning from them.
Saturday, 9 July
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Queens Educational Opportunity Center (QEOC)
158-29 Archer Avenue, Jamaica, Queens
Organized by Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP