April 2017 Letterwriting + Other Events + Updates

We are excited to invite you to invite you to a few events we have coming up this month!
Letterwriting and mail processing events:
Join us for our every-other-month at Somar Bar penpal & letterwriting night on Monday, April 17, from 6:30-8:30pm (1727 Telegraph in Oakland).
We will also be hosting a mail processing night  on Thursday, April 27 from 6-8pm in Oakland. As with last time, it’s at one of our member’s homes, so please RSVP to this email (flyingoverwalls@gmail.comfor the address. The night will include a training for new folks and then we will enter the 50+ forms we’ve gotten back from recent mailings. Whether an incarcerated person is looking to get signed up for our newsletter or write to a new penpal, we need to process their info form in order into our database to connect them with the resources we provide. Come read letters, type them up, and help connect folks to the Black and Pink family! Please bring a laptop if you can, but we will also have letters to write and other tasks if you don’t have one. We will send the address only to those who RSVP so that we have a sense of numbers. On Oakland Ave, just off 580 (closest BART is MacArthur).
Our next leadership team meeting will be on Saturday, April 29. If you’re interested in helping out behind the scenes, come find out how! Email back to this email to let us know if you’re interested.

Prison Visits

We continue to plan ongoing prison visits to our locally incarcerated members!! If you have a penpal and are interested in visiting them, request that they send you a visitation form and then send it in. We can assist, if needed. Be in touch if you are interested in joining. We have visited Mule Creek State Prison twice so far together and are there for a 3rd visit on April 8. We have made one visit so far to San Quentin and we are working on getting clearance forms and scheduling visits for California Medical Facility, CCWF, and potentially CSP-Sac.
Other Community events

TGIJP will be hosting mail night every Tuesday in April 

4-8pm on April 4, 11, 18, and 25th
234 Eddy St, SF
Responding to Mental Health Crises without Berkeley Police: A Community Forum 
Saturday, April 8, 2017, 12:30pm – 4:30pm
1924 Cedar St, Berkeley (Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists)
~ Snacks provided ~ Wheelchair accessible ~ Low-scent space ~
Justice Now’s

Pigeon Power Party: Like Pigeons We Adapt, Survive, and Thrive

Tuesday, April 11 6-8pm
Somar Bar  (1727 Telegraph in Oakland)
Without Walls: Abolition and Rethinking Education Panel Event 
Friday April 14th, 6 – 8: 30 PM
Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (4 blocks from BART in Oakland), 1433 Madison St., Oakland, CA 94612
Spread the word and find out more on Facebook.

6th Annual Sing-Along Jesus Christ Superstar to benefit TransMarch

Friday, April 21 7-10pm
The Victoria Theatre (2961 16th St, SF 94103)
One more call!
Black & Pink Job Posting: BLACK & PINK NATIONAL DIRECTOR (STARTING AUGUST 2017)  Details here. 

February and March SF Bay Area Black & Pink Events & Updates!

Hello Family!
Letterwriting and mail processing events:
  • Our next event will be our every-other-month letterwriting night at Somar Bar on Monday, February 27, 6:30-8:30pm (1727 Telegraph in Oakland). We will have letters to stuff to send inside to 185 of our members, so join us even if you aren’t wanting to penpal. Details/RSVP here.
  • And save the date for March 22 – still awaiting venue confirmation, but that should be the date of our March letterwriting night. Not at Somar, but also in Oakland.
  • We’ll be scheduling another mail processing night soon, as we’ll be needing to data entry all the forms we get back from our 185 incarcerated members without bios. Date tbd.
  • We will be back at Somar Bar for our letterwriting nights on the following Mondays: April 17, June 19.
Prison Visits
We are organizing ongoing prison visits to our locally incarcerated members!! If you have a penpal and are interested in visiting them, request that they send you a visitation form and then send that form directly into the prison. We can assist, if needed. Be in touch if you are interested in joining.
  • We have visited Mule Creek State Prison twice so far together and will hopefully be doing another carpool there on April 8 to visit a couple members.
  • We are getting visits scheduled for San Quentin (2/25 or 3/5 and then maybe again in a month or so).
  • We are working on getting clearance forms and scheduling visits for California Medical Facility, CCWF, and potentially CSP-Sac.

Creative Projects

We are getting started locally on a zine project and a live recording project. If your penpal is a poet or artist, and might want to be involved, get in touch.

Generally, Black & Pink members decide individually if they have the capacity/resources to send money inside to penpals. However, we have a small grant and are able to offer $20-30 for up to five free world penpals to send to their penpals commissary or to use to buy snacks during prison visits. This would ideally be for free world folks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the resources to do this.

Save the dates!
  • Every Tuesday: Support TGI Justice Project with sending in legal and self-help resources  – get updates here.
  • Critical Resistance Oakland and The Oakland Power Projects present: “Know Your Options: Acute Emergencies” workshop. February 25th, 11am-1:30pm East Side Arts Alliance (2277 International Blvd, Oakland) RSVP: croakland@criticalresistance.org Facebook Event
  • August 4-6: Black & Pink Second National Gathering in Chicago. Come together and celebrate, heal, and organize! We will have a weekend that kicks off with a big party followed by a day of workshops and healing arts and closing out with a day of developing a stong strategy for our organization to use fo the years to come. This gathering is intended for ALL formerly incarcerated LGBTQ and/or HIV+ people, any Black and Pink volunteers, all Black and Pink chapter members, donors to Black and Pink, and those interested in the future of Black and Pink’s work. Some events will be exlusively for formerly incarcerated people.
Black & Pink Job Posting
Details here. How to apply: Send cover letter and resume to jason@blackandpink.org
Application Deadline: May 15, 2017
Projected start date: August 1, 2017



How to apply:
Send cover letter and resume to jason@blackandpink.org
Application Deadline: May 15, 2017
Projected start date: August 1, 2017

Organizational Summary
Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing. Black and Pink is a nationally networked grassroots organization working to simultaneously abolish the prison industrial complex while meeting the immediate needs of LGBTQ and/or HIV+ prisoners and those affected by the criminal legal system.

Job Summary
The role of the Black and Pink National Director is to guide day-to-day operations, promote the mission of Black and Pink with our “free world” allies and our inside members, represent Black and Pink’s work to the world as leading figures in the movement towards abolition, and advance initiatives towards our goal of abolishing the prison industrial complex. This individual is responsible for fundraising, finances, communications, strategy development, policy advocacy, research, direct support for volunteers, and communication/advocacy with incarcerated members. The National Director is responsible for the supervision of two staff, the National Organizer and National Office Manager. While the National Director is responsible for the big picture work of the organization, this person is also expected to be involved in direct service with people currently in prison or otherwise engaged with the criminal legal system. The National Director works in partnership with the the National Leadership Circle while also being supervised by its members. This position is based in Boston, Massachusetts (relocation assistance provided), though the individual should be willing to travel occasionally for events and meetings. 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 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.

The ideal candidate for this position will have leadership experience with a social justice oriented organization. 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. Although the candidate’s politics does not have to align wholly with Black and Pink’s politics, the candidate must be able to help the organization live out our purpose of serving LGBTQ and/or HIV positive prisoners while working to abolish the US prison system.

Primary Tasks and Responsibilities:

Grant writing
Communicate with donors
Coordinate the fundraising working group (grassroots fundraising) and grant writing team

Public speaking and workshop presentation around the country
Ensure volunteers and staff communicating on behalf of the organization are using messaging consistent with our values and priorities
Represent the organization and its message to the public at conferences, events, and through media
Final oversight on the creation and distribution of outreach materials and website
In collaboration with the technology team and the National Organizer, ensure appropriate maintenance of the website
Create informational materials and “How To Guides” for members, volunteers, and the public
Coordinate with newspaper editor, edit and review content

Strategy and Direction:
Support National Organizer with strategy development and implementation
Ensure organization is following its mission and strategic priorities set by the Leadership Circle
Evaluate effectiveness of programs and progress on strategic priorities

Policy and Research:
Attend meetings with Federal LGBTQ/HIV criminal justice policy working group
Inform policy work at the local and state level, including and beyond Massachusetts
Stay on top of current legal news and policy research regarding the criminal justice system
Strategically share current datasets with appropriate partners towards goals that align with our values and mission
Make decisions about new research for the organization to conduct (like 2015 survey report) and find support from partner organizations

Working Group support:
Provide administrative support to four national working groups: Transformative Justice, Fundraising, Newspaper, and Technology
Ensure each working group is meeting monthly and their work is progressing
Recruit a member of the group to represent the working group at monthly Leadership Circle meetings

Inside Member Support and Advocacy:
Respond to individual advocacy requests from prisoners
Coordinate the hotline for prisoners
Coordinate bail support
Participate in local court support and jail visits as possible

Create annual budget to be approved by National Leadership Circle
Track receipts and work with bookkeeper to monitor income and expenses
Present monthly year-to-date budget to National Leadership Circle
Pay all bills as the sole holder of the debit card and sole signer of checks for the bank account
Schedule and coordinate yearly audit

Staff Supervision:
Weekly hour long check in with the National Organizer to evaluate progress and needs
Weekly half hour long check in with National Office manager to evaluate progress and needs
Create an annual review system for staff
Responsible for personnel decisions for staff members under Director’s supervision

General Administrative Tasks:
Maintain healthy relationships with landlords of office space
Oversight on all Black and Pink related projects (e.g., holiday cards, Hot Pink, Religious zine)
Other tasks as made clear from the National Leadership Circle

Next Letterwriting Dates

Save the date for our upcoming monthly letterwriting events:

SF Afternoons
Sunday, April 24 3-5pm
Sunday, June 26 3-5pm (canceled)
Wicked Grounds – 289 8th St, San Francisco, California 94103


Oakland Nights

Monday, May 9 6:30-8:30pm
Monday, July 11
Somar Bar – 1727 Telegraph in Downtown Oakland

February Letterwriting Event

Join Flying Over Walls for our Monthly Queer & Trans Prisoner Pen-Pal Letter Writing Event at Wicked Grounds to write letters to incarcerated queer and trans people. Join us to help create a critical lifeline for queer/ trans prisoners. This event meets in the front room.

We’re always looking for new penpals to join our team, so please tell your friends!

Sunday, February 28
at 3 PM – 5 PM

Wicked Grounds
289 8th St, San Francisco, California 94103

October & November Upcoming Events

Next Monthly Letterwriting Event:
Sunday, October 25th 3-5pm
Wicked Grounds Cafe
289 8th St, San Francisco, California 94103
We’ll make time for letterwriting, sending one time cards, penpal checkins, and orientations for any new penpals.
Support our Indiegogo!
Also, the 2015 round of our study group started!!!! We have so many amazing folks involved – both incarcerated and non-incarcerated, and we could really use your help making it happen through support of our indiegogo fundraiser. Our topics include the history of prisons, queer and trans experiences of the PIC, and envisioning the future without prisons. We’re trying to raise $800 to pay for stamps, copying, materials, complete transcription of all the meetings, and possible prison visits after the study group ends, so that we can break down the walls and our inside members can have the fullest experience possible. Please check it out and support if you can! Also, we currently have one of our non-incarcerated penpals set to do the transcription, but if you know of a formerly incarcerated person who does transcription, please put us in touch. Check out all the details here!
Other Abolition Community Events!!

As always, we’re supporting TGI Justice Project with their Legal Support Mail Nights for queer and trans incarcerated folks. Some Mondays and almost every Tuesday night from 4-8 at 1372 Mission St, San Francisco, California 94103.

Justice Now’s Building Our Future: Celebrating 15 Years Towards A World Without Prisons will be on Saturday, October 10 at 1pm at Omni Commons, and we’ll be co-hosting a workgroup on building solidarity through letterwriting.

National Black & Pink is raising funds for the upcoming Decade of Black & Pink in Boston, October 16-18. Speakers include: Miss Major, CeCe McDonald, and Bo Brown. There will also be evening celebrations and a day of healing for formerly incarcerated members of Black & Pink. We are raising funds to give travel stipends to any formerly incarcerated Black & Pink that wants to attend the weekend!
October 25 from 4-8pm will be Miss Major’s Retirement Party in SF! At 73 years of age, following a lifetime of struggle and dedication to this work, Miss Major has decided to retire her position as Executive Director at TGI Justice. This event will be a fundraiser for her retirement.
CCWP’s anniversary event – 20 Years of Speaking Truth to Power! – will be November 7 at 7pm at the Women’s Building in San Francisco. Featured guests include Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Jayda Rasberry, organizer with Dignity & Power Now, and Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. A major highlight of the event will be the presence of many formerly incarcerated women and trans people who have been leaders and members of CCWP over the years.

November 21 will be a recruitment training for Prisoner Advocacy Network (PAN) – Our focus is narrow and specific – supporting people in California’s solitary confinement and similar conditions of isolation such as security housing units (SHUs), administrative segregation, and gender-based segregation. We prioritize advocating for jailhouse lawyers and those engaged in political activity.

Stop jail expansion in Alameda County! (From our friends at CURB and EBC)

We need transparency and a public meeting

Just days ago, we learned that Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern submitted an application to the state for $80 million dollars of jail construction funds. The Board of Supervisors quietly authorized this move at the end of June, in an apparent effort to avoid the attention and opposition that has risen against new jail plans throughout the state.

CURB members have been fighting jails from Los Angeles and Contra Costa to Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Sheriffs are moving forward with plans for new jail beds, often advertised as “nicer” jails that would supposedly provide treatment and opportunities for rehabilitation. But we know better. We know that what we need are treatment and services based in the community — not in cages.

We have a lot of questions for Sheriff Ahern: Will there be new jail beds? Why a mental health unit in the jail, instead of more services in the community? What better alternatives to incarceration could this money be spent on?

Now, after several attempts to get our hands on the application for a new jail, Alameda County’s Sheriff has arranged a small meeting with a few local allies to discuss the jail plan.
That’s where you come in.
We plan to bring the list to our meeting with the Sheriff and we will keep you in the loop on how the community can continue to push for jobs not jails, healthcare not handcuffs, and books not bars.

In Solidarity, 

Tash Nguyen

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

A member of Californians United for a Responsible Budget

P.S. Please share Emily Harris’s commentary about the jail plan in last week’s Oakland Tribune on Twitter andFacebook!

Will you add your name to the list of community members who are concerned about the jail plan?

Support the #BlackFriday14

On Black Friday last November, Black Lives Matter activists participated in a peaceful, non-violent, three and a half hour BART service shut down.

They stood together on the platform that day to shut down BART to protest the killings of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and countless others who have been victims of the cycle of police brutality, mass criminalization, and incarceration faced primarily by black and brown communities.

Fourteen activists were arrested that day, and initially, the Alameda County District Attorney and BART’s Board of Directors were demanding that they pay $70,000 in restitution to BART. Now, BART officials are instead considering asking for community service or a restorative justice alternative. However, we must join together and stay strong in our demand that BART drop the charges altogether. 

As we all know, BART has a long history of attacking and disrespecting black and brown communities. In 2009, BART police killed Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man. Last year, BART police beat and arrested Nubia Bowe, a young black woman suspected of dancing on the train.

By pursuing criminal charges against these Black Lives Matter activists who were expressing their first amendment rights, the DA and BART’s board of directors are clearly showing that they value commerce and money more than black lives.

Please tell the District Attorney and BART’s Board of Directors to drop the charges against the #BlackFriday14 by signing Black Lives Matter and Black Out Collective’s petition on ColorofChange.org.