Hello SF Bay Area B&P family! Thanks to all who joined us in May. Lots of beautiful new faces and we got plenty of mail processed, despite some slow internet. We hope to see you in June and July! Our … Continue reading
Our Pride events were very successful- we helped TGIJP table at TransMarch, then on Sunday we concurrently ran our monthly letterwriting event and a booth at the SF Pride Festival. At the SF Pride festival, we handed out lots of schwag, met … Continue reading
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
Ah, Happy Sunday!
TGIJP has published their next issue of the newsletter Stiletto! It is being sent in to 1,800 people, most of whom are TGI, inside of prisons, jails and detention centers along with distributed to our recurring donors and movement allies. For this round, they made Stiletto bigger than ever with articles by members inside and movement allies outside. But now they need to cover the cost of production and distribution, so they’re throwing a huge party. A bunch of Flying Over Walls folks will be there volunteering and supporting, so come on through!
Join us for our next Monthly Letter writing Night! This month we want to highlight our solidarity with long distance revolutionary, Mumia Abu-Jamal who is currently in a Medical Crisis.
Showing our support is critical at this time as Mumia doesn’t have access to internet and unless told, he has no idea that people are mobilizing on his behalf. He once credited his ability to survive Death Row was because he knew he was loved. May he never forget that.
This is a chance to learn, connect, support, shatter stereotypes, and break down the walls of the prison industrial complex through direct solidarity. Even if you can’t attend please send Mumia a letter of support:
As the SF Bay Area chapter of Black & Pink, our focus is to connect the non-incarcerated LGBTQ+ folks who participate in our events to B&P members in Northern California prisons. We have all the writing and card supplies, provide addresses and info of folks to write to, provide a po box for letters back to you, and offer an orientation to new members at every letter writing night. We’re also here to offer support and answer questions. If you’re not ready for an ongoing commitment, you can still come to send a one-time card, learn more about the process and the PIC, and learn more about local organizing.
A Few Upcoming Community Events and Actions in June!
6/11 = tonight!: Passage & Place Letterwriting Night! We won’t be having a B&P letterwriting night this month, so please consider supporting the Passage & Place letterwriting night this Wednesday, June 11, 7-9pm at Alley Cat Books (3036 24th St, SF). They’ll be sending letters to the 100 incarcerated queer/trans folks who contributed to their anthology.
By 6/13: Stop Jail Spending! In the battle over whether to allot up to $500 million to building jails, Senator Hancock said “If there are no alternatives to incarceration, there will be no alternative but incarceration!” Call your legislator!
6/14: Support From Outside the Walls – Training on Advocating for Incarcerated People. Organized by the NLG, as part of their conference, this training will happen Saturday, June 14 at 3:45pm at the Woman’s Building in SF. It will focus on practical skills development for activists, legal workers, and lawyers to understand the nitty gritty methods and best practices for supporting and advocating for people inside prisons.
By 6/17: Please submit a statement opposing the proposed CDCr regulations on “obscene” language. We encourage everyone to send a statement individually and/or sign the petition. These regulations are a blatant attempt at censorship across prison walls and are another aspect of the attempted retaliation against the hunger strikes.
6/25: Bay Area Anti-Prison Happy Hour! Join CURB members, allies, friends and other anti-prison activists at our upcoming anti-prison happy hour mixer. Meet, share stories from these past exciting months, hang out and affirm our ongoing fight to end the caging of our communities! Wednesday, June 25th from 6-8pm @ SomaR Bar (1727 Telegraph Ave, Oakland). RSVP here.
6/27: Bustin’ Out 2014! Party Against the Prison Industrial Complex! Join the annual Trans March after party and TGI Justice Project fundraiser at El Rio! Get there early, cause the line gets long!
Now until 6/28: Stop the Prison Party! If you haven’t heard yet, a darker cloud than usual will hang over Pride this year. Several promoters are banding together to throw a prison-themed party. This party disrespects the real suffering of incarcerated people, especially since our LGBTQ+ communities have historically been (and continue to be) the targets of police and state violence, are disproportionately criminalized and incarcerated and face higher percentages of violence and rape once in prison. The decision feels especially insensitive given that three of the SF Pride grand marshals, Chelsea Manning, Jewlyes Gutierres, and Miss Major are trans women who have been directly affected by the Prison Industrial Complex. See local press coverage or our recent blog to read more about it. Then, please sign this petition in opposition and sign onto our ThunderClap campaign to spread the word.
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!
Support our comrades – check out the PASSAGE & PLACE indiegogo!
The 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!
Many of us are very close with TGIJP organizers and were devastated by the news that Melenie passed away in her sleep in September.
It is only because our energies have been focused elsewhere that we did not post about her sooner on this site. We are currently supporting TGIJP in putting together the next issue of Stiletto in Melenie’s honor and continue to attend mail nights at TGIJP weekly. Below is the announcement from the TGIJP website remembering Melenie.
We are saddened to say that TGI Justice and many more have lost a dear sister, friend, auntie, daughter, and champion. Melenie Mahinamalamalama Eleneke died on Monday, September 9th of natural causes.
Be safe and stay strong,