July 14, 2023 By Czarinna Andres
The advocacy group Witness to Mass Incarceration (WITNESS) is preparing to host its third annual Suitcase Sunday, an event dedicated to celebrating the success and resilience of formerly incarcerated people (FIP).
The event will take place at Baisley Pond Park in Jamaica, on Sunday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In collaboration with FIP, their families, and a diverse array of religious organizations, community-based groups, elected officials, and community members, the event aims to highlight the accomplishments of FIP since their release from confinement.
More than 30 businesses and service providers led by FIP will be showcased, offering an opportunity for the community to appreciate the value and potential of these entrepreneurs. This year’s Suitcase Sunday will also witness the launch of an E-Commerce Storytelling Website designed to drive traffic to FIP-led businesses to boost their sales and visibility.
“We are excited to be launching our E-Commerce Storytelling Website,” said Evie Litwok, founder of WITNESS. “With this platform, we intend to drive traffic to our FIP-led businesses to increase their sales.”
The event serves as a platform for FIP voter registration as well. The organization noted that only one in four FIPs are currently registered to vote, a trend it hopes to reverse.
City Council Speaker Adrienne E. Adams expressed her support for the event and the mission of WITNESS. “In order for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers to secure stability and success, we must invest in them. Suitcase Sunday has provided a welcoming and empowering space for FIPs to access economic opportunities and connect with critical resources,” Adams said.
Donations to support the work of WITNESS can be made online at witnesstomassincarceration.org/donate. For more information about Suitcase Sunday and Witness to Mass Incarceration, visit the official website here.