Black&Pink is Hiring a National Organizer

Hey there friends,

PLEASE share with your members!

 

Black&Pink National Organizer Job Description

 

Application Deadline: January 6, 2017

Start Date: March 15, 2017

To Apply: Please send cover letter and resume to Jason@blackandpink.org

 

Summary

Although Black and Pink provides many direct services to LGBTQ and/or HIV+ prisoners and court-involved people, the goal of our work is to strengthen the movement towards abolition of the prison industrial complex. The role of the National Organizer for Black and Pink is to support local outside chapters in their grassroots efforts, provide support and resources to prison-based chapters, develop and lead a national strategic organizing plan with clear goals and concrete actions to take. The organizer is also responsible for some direct advocacy work with prisoner members who are in crisis. Black and Pink only hires individuals with a history of incarceration and we strongly encourage applications from individuals most impacted by the prison industrial complex.

 

Hours and Compensation

This is a full time position, 40 hours per a week. This is a salaried position, $40,000 a year, paid on the 15th and the last day of each month. There are four weeks of paid vacation annually, and compensation time is accrued if working over 40 hours a week (though working more than 40 hours a week is strongly discouraged). Black and Pink full time staff have 12 sick days per year. Black and Pink does not provide staff with health insurance at this time, though monthly / annual premiums for healthcare obtained through Mass Health will be paid for through Black and Pink (state funded healthcare in Massachusetts). Black and Pink will also provide a $60 a month membership for either Massage Envy, $60 a month for a gym membership, or $60 a month for another form of other self-care practice.

 

Qualifications

The ideal candidate for this position will have some experience with organizing and a willingness to get training on effective organizing tactics. The ideal candidate will have strong, compassionate, communication skills. Given the intensity of the work required by staff at Black and Pink, the candidate must have the ability to be compassionate and empathetic with prisoner membership and others directly affected by the criminal legal system. The candidate must be able to demonstrate effective time management, attention to detail, and prioritization of tasks as the position requires managing many different and even conflicting needs. A background with computer skills is a must, as the candidate will also have to learn Black and Pink’s data storage systems, utilize Gmail and Microsoft Office, and know how to navigate social media appropriately. The candidate must also be willing to travel regularly, primarily by plane.

 

Job Location:

Black and Pink’s national office is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The ideal candidate would either live in the Boston area or be willing to relocate (with financial assistance from Black and Pink to do so). There are possible exceptions. For individuals with extensive organizing experience and a history of working remotely for another organization, considerations for remote employment could be made. That person would, however, be required to come to Boston for 3 weeks of training and relationship building at the start of the employment.

 

Primary Tasks and Responsibilities:

 

Outside Chapter Support

Coordinate national chapters’ call

Ensure resources are distributed between chapters and from the national office to chapters
Volunteer management and volunteer development

In person meetings with every chapter at least once a year

Provide guidance for grassroots efforts being done by local chapters.

 

Inside Chapter support

Respond to letters and requests from inside chapters

Support development of new inside chapters

Ensure inside chapters submit reports about their work

Track and respond to retaliation against prisoner organizers

 

National Responsibilities

Ensure that national working groups are meeting and help with coordinating them

Workshops, presentations, and public speaking for organizations around the country

Supporting and planning national gathering of B&P members (every 2 years).

Develop new initiatives that increase the effectiveness of organizational work

 

Resource Development

Design outside chapter starting tool kit (with the support of existing chapters)

Update inside chapter starting tool kit as needed

Support National Director with resource development as needed

 

General Administrative Tasks

Respond to prisoner letters in a timely manner

Respond to emails in a timely manner

Communicate with Office Manager and National Director about needs and work issues

 

Supervision:

This position is supervised by the National Director. Supervision should occur for one hour every week. During supervision the National Organizer should communicate about upcoming goals, needs for training or support, obstacles in the work, and emotional support needs due to the severity of the work.

Lisa on Prison Radio!

We’re so proud that Lisa, a member of our Inside/Outside Prison Abolition Study Group, and long time member of Black & Pink, just created her first recording with Prison Radio:

Correspondent Spotlightunnamed
We’re glad to have recorded our first radio essay with Lisa Strawn, a trans woman held inside a men’s medical prison in Vacaville, CA. Thanks to Black and Pink for their collaboration, Lisa will be calling in again soon to report more from inside. Stay tuned.

Support Our Study Group!!

We recently launched an Indiegogo to raise funds for our upcoming Inside/Outside Prison Abolition Study Group!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out, support it if you can, and read below if you want more info about the project. What We’re Doing  We’re planning … Continue reading

June 2015 Updates!

We’re excited for June! In solidarity with Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Committee, and the SCATESC, we started painting a banner at our May Letterwriting Night! It still needs some finishing touches, but we’re excited to use it at our Pride … Continue reading

Repealing the lifetime ban on CalFresh and CalWORKs for people with drug felony convictions – Where do we go from here?

Cross-posting this exciting update from the SF Bay View and Endria Richardson:

 

Last year, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) and All of Us Or None (AOUON) joined the Western Center for Law and Poverty and a broad-based coalition of 140 organizations to repeal the lifetime ban on CalFresh (food stamps) and CalWORKs (basic needs support and job training) for people with drug-related felony convictions – a reform that has been a long time coming. Effective April 1, 2015, no person will be deemed ineligible for either CalFresh or CalWORKs aid because they have a prior federal or state felony drug conviction.

Endria Richardson

The ban was originally passed as part of President Bill Clinton’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, an expansive and politically conservative reform of the federal welfare system. The ban singled out people with any felony drug conviction as being presumptively ineligible to receive federal benefits, casting people who use, abuse or sell drugs as morally reprehensible and unworthy of aid. A congressperson who sponsored the ban called for “a higher standard of behavior of people on welfare.”

Organizations in California, including LSPC and AOUON, fought against the drug felony ban over two decades by reframing the argument: Enabling people to pay rent, put food on their table and find sustainable employment – more than paternalistic moralizing – would promote stability within families and decrease recidivism, helping people to return home for good.

This strategy has helped to bring the criminalization of substance use – and the demonization of people who use or abuse substances – under scrutiny, resulting in concrete changes to help people with drug-related felony convictions in California return home from prison and jail. Along with ending the lifetime ban on state and federal assistance for people with drug-related felony convictions, California has legalized medical marijuana, greatly increased access to treatment programs over incarceration, eliminated the sentencing disparity between cocaine base (crack) and cocaine powder, and changed all simple drug possession to misdemeanors.

Effective April 1, 2015, no person will be deemed ineligible for either CalFresh or CalWORKs aid because they have a prior federal or state felony drug conviction.

Now that we seem to be well on our way towards recognizing the complex motivators behind substance use and abuse – and changing our laws to reflect this – how can we continue to use this momentum to change the narrative we tell about other complex behavior and conviction histories and reduce the penalties and collateral consequences associated with them? For example, repealing other blanket bans to programs and resources for people with serious or violent convictions – including access to professional licensing, Alternative Custody Programs and Victim Compensation Funds.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children will continue to work towards promoting healthy communities for everyone, and we look forward to the day when we all have access to housing, food, education and employment.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children will continue to work towards promoting healthy communities for everyone, and we look forward to the day when we all have access to housing, food, education and employment.

In the meantime, please help us spread the word about the change in the law by sharing the below information with your families, friends, and communities:

How to access your benefits

CalWORKs: To claim your CalWORKs benefits, you may need to apply (if you have not already applied or do not belong to a household that has already applied). You can apply online at http://www.benefitscal.org or in person at your County Welfare Department (CWD) – you can find yours by looking under the County Government section of your phonebook.

If you or your household also receive CalFresh benefits, the amount of those benefits may be decreased due to the increase in your CalWORKs grant.

CalFresh: Any previously excluded household member who becomes eligible for CalFresh benefits as a result of this statute will become included as a household member as of April 1, 2015. Households that apply with a member who is currently ineligible due to a prior drug felony conviction shall be approved for benefits minus the member with a previous felony drug conviction, who shall then be added effective April 1, 2015. The household shall not be required to request the previously excluded person to be added.

A household consisting entirely of individuals with a previous felony drug conviction shall be approved effective April 1, 2015.

Verification of parole or probation status: Applicants and recipients with prior felony drug convictions must be in compliance with the terms of their parole or probation in order to be eligible to receive CalWORKs or CalFresh benefits.

Endria Richardson is a legal fellow at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. She can be reached at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, 1540 Market St., Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-255-7036,www.prisonerswithchildren.org or info@prisonerswithchildren.org.

Decriminalize Queer Youth

BeyondBullyingv2

Summer is just around the corner and youth across the country are looking forward to 3 months of freedom. Unfortunately, not all youth will be celebrating their freedom this summer. For a disproportionate number of gay and transgender youth who have been pipelined into the juvenile justice system, no such freedom is coming.  That’s why we are putting out a call in support of the 2014 Global Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth.

In recent years, schools have been increasingly relying on law enforcement to manage school discipline issues, creating a criminalizing link between the school and juvenile justice systems known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Gay, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth are disproportionately funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline and are over-represented in the juvenile justice system. According to the FIRE Initiative at the Center for American Progress, approximately 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested and/or detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are black or Latino.  So while gay and transgender youth represent just 5-7% of the nation’s overall youth population, they comprise 13-15% of those currently in the juvenile justice system and 40% of the homeless youth population. A shocking 39% of homeless gay and transgender youth report being involved in the juvenile justice system at some level according to the Fire Initiative.

Preston Mitchum and Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, in their articleBeyond Bullying, report that “as with the racial disparities in school suspensions and expulsions, these higher rates of punishment do not correlate to higher rates of misbehavior among gay and transgender youth. What the research suggests is that gay and transgender youth actually face harsher sanctions by school administrators even when committing similar offenses.”

Take, for instance, the local case of Jewlyes Gutierrez, a 16-year-old transgender student at Hercules High School in the SF Bay Area, who faced battery charges after standing up to her bullies. Gone are the days of a phone call to the parents and in-school efforts to remedy these situations. The D.A. initially reported he had no choice but to press charges, despite the fact that a precedent for this had not been set until it was a transgender teen of color in question. As reported inThe Daily News, a huge force of community resistance swelled and the outcry led to the charges against Jewlyes being dropped after completion of a conflict resolution process. Unfortunately, this is not the case for so many other targeted youth.

As a chapter ofBlack & Pink, a national organization focused on building support and solidarity with LGBTQ prisoners, we are specifically interested in looking closely at the ways that marginalized bodies and lifestyles are stigmatized, surveilled and policed as well as how to resist, respond and build resilience within our communities. That’s why we’re participating in second annual Global Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth, an event developed by the grassroots group,Save The Kids from Incarceration. Our commitment is to host a workshop for our community on Thursday, May 29th in San Francisco entitled, “Caging Deviance: An Introduction to the PIC and Queer Resistance.” Our goal is to support participants in exploring the underlying framework of the prison industrial complex while giving a historical analysis of the policing and incarceration of LGBTQ people.

Criminalization and mass incarceration of LGBT youth, youth in poverty and youth of color is not the solution; another world is possible. Please support the future of our youth by joining the Global Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth – discuss this issue with family and friends, bring it up in your classrooms, support queer and POC youth organizations, uproot and replace the oppressive stereotypes we have been taught about who does and doesn’t deserve to be criminalized and demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline.

 

Sources:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2014/02/27/83604/infographic-schools-are-failing-lgbt-youth-and-funneling-them-into-prison/
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2014/02/27/84179/beyond-bullying/
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/charges-dropped-transgender-california-teen-bullied-report-article-1.1783780
http://savethekidsgroup.org/
http://www.blackandpink.org/

 

If you cross-post, please include: Flying Over Walls is a Queer/Trans Prisoner Solidarity Project in the SF Bay Area, currently working in collaboration with Black & Pink. To find out more about our group, which hosts prisoner letterwriting nights, political education workshops and study groups, focused on the damaging effects of criminalization as it relates to queer/trans experiences and through a queer/trans lens, look us up at https://flyingoverwalls.wordpress.com

May Updates & Events

Hello & Happy May!

Upcoming Events & Updates (including our first workshop – at the very end!): 

Our study group met on May 8 – focusing on intersections of religion, queerness and criminalization. This group is currently closed to new members, but will re-open for a new round in the fall. Check out the reading list & email us to hear about the next round.

We are supporting a local queer arts and prisoner solidarity book project, PASSAGE & PLACE, that will be including voices of B&P and TGIJP members on the inside. Check out their indiegogo! There are 60 hours left to pledge and secure a copy for you and someone on the inside.

This Wednesday, May 14 from 5-7pm: LGBTQ Prisoner Solidarity Project: Letterwriting, Dinner and Discussion with the Pacific School of Religion (1798 Scenic Ave, Berkeley, CA). This evening will include a penpal orientation, letterwriting, and an overview of the work of Black and Pink, an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. There will also be information about current prison abolition campaigns and discussion about theological theory & practices related to prison abolition.

We are also working on collectively writing two pieces to submit to local and LGBTQ news media – one drawing attention to the Global Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth on May 19-25 (including Tuesday, May 20 – National Day Against the Criminalization of Queer Youth and Youth with Disabilities) as well as a piece looking at the newly proposed CDCr regulations to ban “obscene material,” which no doubt will include leftist media and our queer mail/letters. We are encouraging everyone in our community to write in to the CDCr by June 17 to oppose these proposed regulations. Let us know if you want to help with these drafts.

We are also endorsing the upcoming Formerly Incarcerated People’s Quest for Democracy Lobby Day on May 19th in Sacramento, CA. This will be an event focused on supporting “formerly-incarcerated people, our family members, and other community leaders to show our support for pending legislation affecting the quality of life of people directly impacted by incarceration, but to also assert ourselves as leaders, experts, and contributing members of our communities in a space where we are normally considered statistics, storytellers, and seat fillers.” Get involved!

A few of us are also usually there every Tuesday evening from 4:30-8pm at the new TGIJP office (1372 Mission St. SF, CA): Legal support clinics at TGIJP to provide information and self-advocacy resources for incarcerated queer and trans folks. Training & dinner provided each week. RSVP to Janetta@tgijp.org if it’s your first time.

And… Our first workshop!!

Thursday, May 29 from 7:30-9:30pm: Intro Workshop on the Prison Industrial Complex & Queer Resistance at Wicked Grounds Cafe (289 8th St, SF, CA). Our workshop will explore the underlying framework of the prison industrial complex. Participants will develop a historical analysis of the policing and incarceration of LGBTQ people while exploring alternatives to incarceration. RSVP here.

 

Hope to see you somewhere!

Passage & Place Indigogo!

Support our comrades – check out the PASSAGE & PLACE indiegogo!

passage and placeThe PASSAGE & PLACE publication is a collection of work from queer/trans folx both inside and outside of prison, considering the topic of “Home”. It will be one aspect of a multimedia visual arts exhibition, book project, and skillshare series that explores displacement & movement, freedom & incarceration, and home & im/migration at the intersection of queerness.

The print project is a compilation of a collection of written and visual artwork from queer and trans folx both inside and outside of prison, that considers and complicates the topic of “Home”. Some contributers include Virgie Tovar (author of Hot & Heavy), Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (author of Consentual Genocide, editor of The Revolution Starts at Home), Heidi Andrea Rhodes (co-founder & editor of Reveries & Rage), Ellie Krnich (co-chair of Femme Conference), Veronica Stein (Fabulous Brown Works), Jacks McNamara (author of Inbetweenland, co-founder of The Icarus Project), Banah Ghadbian (Feminist Wire)and more!

As part of reaching beyond walls, they partnered with the TGI (Transgender | Gender Variant | Intersex) Justice Project/TGIJP and Black & Pink to send the Passage & Place call for submissions to currently incarcerated LGBTQ prisoners. They received over 100 letters, poems, and artwork!

A collection of these letters and images will be bound and printed into an anthology released in conjunction with the Passage & Place exhibition at the National Queer Arts Festival, 2014. All participants from the inside will receive a free copy of the finished book. 

Help make sure that the voices of our queer family behind bars are still loud, fierce, and being heard!

End of January Updates!

We have been kicking off 2014 with a lot of getting things going again!   We had a great January Letterwriting night in South Berkeley at the Starry Plough – sending a few cards and making 4 new penpal matches! … Continue reading

An update on TGIJP!!!

TGI Justice Project moved to Oakland! & Mail nights starting up again!

TGIJP is an organization (of transgender people—inside and outside of prison— creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom) that our group has been supporting and loving on for the last year and a half. They are just settling in to their new home in East Oakland with Tracy House (Transgender Resources and Advocacy Center for Youth), an exciting program of AIDS Project East Bay. We are excited for them, because we know they are thrilled with this new partnership and the opportunities it presents.

Their new address is:

1201 46th Avenue
Oakland, CA 94601
info@tgijp.org

AAANNNDDD…

Janetta just called to say that they are going to start up mail nights starting next week. For the next few months, her plan is to open the space every Tuesday evening for volunteers who want to come and help respond to resource-related mail from prisoners. Hope to see you soon!

Here is what they say about mail nights:

As a result of our activism we have become a known resource to people inside prisons and thus receive a significant number of letters from prisoners regarding a variety of issues. Although our agency is focused on providing services to transgender, gender variant/gender-queer, and intersex people in California prisons, prisoners with normative genders from all over the country write us on a daily basis.

We answer all prisoner letters. Prisoners who actively work on their own cases and also help other prisoners inside sometimes request TGIJP to conduct research for them. Volunteers are able to gain experience advocating for prisoners by providing them with information and encouraging self-advocacy. In addition to working under the supervision of an attorney, we have also developed several form letters that are used and can be tailored to answer prisoner letters.