Dear FoW community,
We hope you are staying safe in this time of escalating local and global catastrophes. Check out the many ways to get involved, learn more, and take action!
****SEND SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY CARDS****
We have cancelled all in-person letterwriting events for the foreseeable future However, because prison visitation is shut down and folks are more isolated than usual, we still want to get cards sent in. This month, we will focus on September birthday cards! Join us for this important way to show solidarity with our incarcerated LGBTQ+ and HIV+ community members in California!
If you can sign up to send a card or two from home for our September birthdays, please fill out this form. We will send you the address(es) – and some tips if it’s your first time. You will need to provide your own stamps and supplies, but we have plenty of both and can coordinate to get you some, if needed. You can spread the word and invite friends on fb here.
BALIF Social Justice Summer: August! We are excited to join TGI Justice Project and ABO Comix for an evening of art, advocacy and abolition, hosted by BALIF, this Thurs, Aug 27 from 6-8pm. fb event and rsvp info here.
Care Not Cages: Harm Reduction, Decriminalizing Survival & Liberating SF August 27th, 5:30pm How can we care for each other and our communities without relying on prisons, policing and punishment? How can we define and create safety to support our most vulnerable and help each other meet all of our needs for wellness? How can we strengthen existing harm-reduction and decriminalization work and continue to fight for abolition? Register for the event here.
Black-Palestinian Solidarity: Abolition and Liberation. Aug 28 1PM ET. Join an international discussion about the connections between Black Lives Matter calls to defund the police and abolish the prison industrial complex, and Palestinian calls to tear down all apartheid walls and free Palestine. Register at www.bit.ly/AbLib
B&P: Chicago’s Civil Commitment working group has been archiving materials from people who are incarcerated at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility. They are working on turning these documents into a publicly accessible archive so that the public can learn about civil commitment through Rushville respondents’ own words. They have also organized a teach-in to share some information about civil commitment. The event will take place from 6-7:30 PM CT on Tuesday, Sept 1st. If you’re interested in attending, please register here.
***BECOME A PENPAL****
Now is also a great time to become a penpal. If you want to start a penpal relationship, you can learn more and sign-up here anytime.
Check out our instagram page where we spotlight some of our incarcerated members who are seeking penpals. Or if you want us to match you with a penpal, just reach out!
Once you become a penpal, you can join this facebook group to stay connected to other outside penpals for support and resources.
****SENDING MONEY INSIDE****
Thank you to everyone who has joined us these past few months in sending money to hundreds of folks in CA prisons, both directly through FoW and in coalition with the Transgender Advocacy Group (TAG). To date, we have sent money to all of our local chapter’s study group members and inside leaders, supported TAG’s work to send money to about 300 trans folks in CA, and most recently sent funds to each to our B&P members in San Quentin SP, where there has been one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks on record.
We are deeply concerned for the lives and wellbeing of our loved ones inside prisons, who aren’t able to practice social distancing and who don’t have access to basic hygiene supplies unless they are able to purchase them. You can donate here to support our local chapter, and we will continue to prioritize using funds to support our incarcerated members as well as any support we can offer to our formerly incarcerated community.
Instead of releasing people, CDCR puts people in solitary confinement and in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and punishes them for sharing crucial information with the public. This is a public health crisis, and Governor Newsom, CDCR, and the California State Legislature are failing to address it. The ONLY way that incarcerated people will be safe is if the state releases people NOW!
Call on Governor Newsom, CDCR, and the State Legislature to de-populate the prisons, release elderly and medically vulnerable people and #BringThemHome!Newsom’s Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/
Newsom’s Phone: (916) 445-2841Look up your state legislator here:
Form letter for representatives:
Search #StopSanQuentinOutbreak or follow @nojusticeundercapitalism or @c_c_w_p on social media to connect to more info.
****EVEN MORE RESOURCES****
Now is a critical time to fight to get our people safe and free. There are many campaigns currently to decarcerate our folks from jails, prisons and detention centers. Please find a campaign or an organization and support it!
Our partner collective, ABO Comix, publishes the work of incarcerated queer and trans people with profits going back to them and their families. They currently have 4 comic anthologies written and drawn by LGBTQ+ prisoners, including the most recent Confined Before COVID-19, as well as zines, artwork and merch. You can support the artists and buy copies for yourself or your penpals at https://www.facebook.com/abocomix
Black & Pink National has is partnering with the UCLA School of Law and other researchers to conduct a study around the sex offense registry. Registries are another disproportionate entry point into the system for low-income people, Black people, people of color, and trans and queer people. Conversations on sexual harm are difficult to hold, especially for people who have experienced it, but necessary. We engage in these conversations so we can meaningfully address sexual harm and implement strategies to prevent and respond to it when it happens. Registries are punitive systems that leave little space for transforming harm into healing, restoring lives, and rebuilding communities. We can’t achieve liberation unless we transform the conditions that allow harm to happen in the first place. There is a serious lack of data on the impact of the registry on trans and queer lives, but this study will help us understand that better. The goal of this study is to inform policymakers about patterns, pathways, and consequences of the registry on people’s lives. The Mission of the Sex Offense Registry Study (SORS): “The identification and punishment of registrants (people on sex offense registries) is an area of growing concern. Registration can affect where people live, whether they can get work, and their ability to connect with communities. SORS helps address an important knowledge gap in law, policy, and research by collecting anonymous information from registrants on pathways leading to registration and the impact of registries. Areas of interest include race/ethnicity, income level, sexual orientation, gender identity, and the lived experiences of registrants.” If you are registered for a sex offense, over the age of 18, and live in the United States, you are eligible to participate in this study! Survey information is completely anonymous and confidential. Research findings will only be reported for groups of people (e.g., by age group) and will never identify information for any specific participant individually. The survey takes 20-30 minutes to complete, and can be found here. You can find more information about the study here. Please send along to others in your network and help us reach as many people as possible who will be able to inform this study and our work!
Watch the recent webinar from Boston Black & Pink, called “Queer Abolition: Building Love and Power.” It’s a strategic discussion about abolishing police, prisons, and how how these systems target LGBTQ people, B/I/POC people, and those living with HIV.
Prisoner Advocacy Network has put together step by step guides to #prison#release#decarceration for #covid19 here https://www.prisoneradvocacynetwork.org/covid-19.html
Beyond Prisons – Prisoner Support Guide For The Coronavirus Crisis https://tinyurl.com/vb6yrpp