Let My People Go

We can't let COVID-19 become a death sentence for the thousands of New Yorkers still in jail or ICE detention.

With COVID-19 sweeping through incarcerated populations, more than fifty-thousand people imprisoned across New York State are helplessly awaiting a possible death sentence because of a virus they cannot escape.

So Jews For Racial & Economic Justice, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Never Again Action, New Sanctuary Coalition, and the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund joined forces to launch the Let My People Go campaign, to bail people out of jail and immigration detention, and demand that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio free jailed and detained New Yorkers. We are also supporting COVID Bail Out NYC.

With the support of over 50 grassroots fundraisers, 2400 donors, and 20 synagogues and Jewish organizations, the Let My People Go campaign has raised over $250,000 and helped free scores of New Yorkers from jails and ICE detention across three states. But our work isn't done — far too many of our neighbors are still incarcerated, without the ability to socially distance or practice even the basic hygiene necessary to protect themselves.

Join us and help them, before its too late.

Just in time for the first night of Passover, nine musicians and over thirty singers came together to turn Go Down, Moses into a rallying cry for our campaign on behalf of our most vulnerable imprisoned neighbors.

Reacting quickly to the metastasizing crisis in our jails and ICE facilities, the team of professional artists, singers, activists, and ordinary New Yorkers wrote, recorded, and edited the video in exactly one week, despite the unorthodox constraints of social distancing and quarantine. Using phones, laptop cameras, and whatever recording devices they had at home, they reimagined the famous spiritual, Go Down, Moses, creating something that is at once deeply rooted in the histories of the Jewish and Black communities, and also fresh and unexpected. The ensemble of artists included Black Jews and other Jews of Color, professional singers and passionate amateurs, and people from every background — all united in outrage over the government’s indifference to the lives of incarcerated New Yorkers.

You can support the campaign by tweeting or sharing the video. The full video social media toolkit is here.