Southeast Queens event Sunday will support formerly incarcerated-owned businesses

witness founder
Witness to Mass Incarceration founder Evie Litwok will celebrate the progress and success of people who have successfully reentered the community with an event in Baisley Park. (Photo courtesy Witness to Mass Incarceration)

Southeast Queens will be the site of a unique event Sunday as New York’s largest organized network of formerly incarcerated small business and service owners.

Witness to Mass Incarceration will host one of the city’s first live public events for hundreds of formerly incarcerated women and men at Baisley Pond Park beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 18.

The first-ever “Suitcase Sunday” event will bring together formerly incarcerated people (FIP) and their families, FIP-led services and businesses. They are a diverse group of congregations and religious groups as well as community-based organizations to celebrate the progress and success of formerly incarcerated people who have created businesses that are flourishing.

“A unique crisis such as mass incarceration calls for a unique solution,” Witness to Mass Incarceration Founder and Executive Director Evie Litwok said. “I am committed to uplifting my community of formerly incarcerated people from poverty and marginalization to wealth-builders and cooperative social entrepreneurs. We’re honored to be able to host our event in the vibrant District 28 community.”

Since the organization was founded in 2018, Witness has launched a series of initiatives designed to change the narrative about the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people from invisibility and victimization to empowerment through documentation, leadership training, organizing, and advocacy.

Their initiatives are intended to make life easier for people who are incarcerated and to help build successful lives once they are released.

City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams is sponsoring the event and will deliver the opening address.

“I am so proud to support the Suitcase Sunday event in District 28,” Adams said. “And I know it will have a profound impact on the residents, businesses, and organizations that embrace Witness to Mass Incarceration’s mission, programs, and vision.”

The event is open to the public. For more information or to donate online, visit their website at www.witnesstomassincarceration.org.

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