New York Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn plans to honor actor Michael K. Williams with a prison reform bill. Williams, who unexpectedly passed away on Sept. 6, was a strong advocate for prison reform.
“Our criminal justice system has swallowed up too many people I love, and I’ve seen it lay waste to entire neighborhoods,” he said. “This country is locking up people for too long, and for things like mental illness and drug dependency. We are at a critical moment in this country, and I am proud to join the ACLU in the fight to make mass incarceration a thing of the past.”
Assemblywoman Hermelyn is the representative for Williams’ Brooklyn neighborhood, East Flatbush. Hermerlyn’s staff told TMZ that the prison reform bill will focus on young people, Blacks and Latinos as she noted that a disproportionate amount of prisoners are non-white. The goal of the bill is to lower the prison population in the state of New York. Scheduled for Sept. 12, the back-to-school event will now be in honor of Williams annually.
Assemblywoman Hermelyn also plans to honor the actor by advocating for more funding to run at-risk youth, cultural and art programs in the area.
Williams was working with fellow “The Wire” actor Jamie Hector and the assemblywoman’s husband, Edu Hermelyn, on a project in Flatbush before he passed away. The trio planned to give school supplies to families in the neighborhood before Williams’ death.
Williams was found in his apartment in New York. Officials suspect that the actor died from an overdose of heroin tainted with fentanyl. Fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and is sometimes used by dealers to disguise the laced drug as potent heroin to unsuspecting addicts. Williams was only 54. The actor had been open about his struggles with addiction prior to his death.
Williams was known for starring in numerous television shows and films, including “Bessie,” “The Wire,” “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Triple 9.”
The assemblywoman plans to discuss the bill with Williams’ family at an appropriate time.