April 2015 Updates

Ah, Happy Sunday!

We just wanted to let everyone know about our next couple of events coming up –
 
tgijp stilettoTGIJP Stiletto Release Party!
Saturday, April 18 5-11pm
Omni Oakland Commons (4799 Shattuck Ave)

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!

Monday, April 20 6-8:30pm
St James Infirmary (1372 Mission St in SF)
We’ll be hosted by TGIJP for our next workshop! There will be a few similarities from our last workshop, but we’ll be focusing a little less time on exploring all the ins and outs of the PIC in order to have more time to spend envisioning alternatives. We’ll bring some snacks, and invite you to as well!
In this workshop, we will look at what the prison industrial complex is, the ways LGBTQ+ people are policed, and what we mean when we say abolition. Through presentation, activities, and discussion, we will break down “crime” versus “harm,” what we really need to feel safe, and how we can envision alternatives to prisons in order to create a more just world. We strongly welcome folks who have been incarcerated as well as those who wish to work in solidarity (workshop facilitators have not been incarcerated and will make space for people to share personal experiences). We will also draw on materials from Critical Resistance, Black & Pink, and Captive Genders. The workshop is 100% free to the public but we will be asking for donations to give back to Critical Resistance & TGI Justice Project (TGIJP). We hope this workshop will motivate folks to take action against the policing and incarceration of LGBTQ community, become committed to dismantling the prison industrial complex, and possibly join us at our monthly LGBTQ+ Prisoner Letterwriting Nights or weekly TGIJP legal mail nights.
Sunday, April 26 3-5pm
Wicked Grounds Cafe (289 8th St in SF)

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:

Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335 mumia
301 Morea Rd
SCI Mahanoy
Frackville, PA 17932

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 other things!
We are about to have the last meeting of this round of our study group (thanks so much to everyone who participated and to Lauren & Charlie for organizing), and will be recruiting free word folks soon to join the next round of our study group. We will be matching each free world participant to an incarcerated participant for the duration of the group. We already have recruited our incarcerated participants.  More details soon, and we will start in the late summer/fall!
We will be tabling at SF Pride this year! Be in touch if you want to volunteer with us.
There is a March/vigil today at 3pm in Emeryville for Yuvette Henderson, continuing to demand accountability from EPD and Home Depot.

Tuesday at 12pm there is a rally at SF City Hall as part of a day of resistance – April 14th is A NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION.

April 17 is Palestinian Prisoners Day, and there will be a roundtable discussion. The ReVisions art exhibit and round table discussion draws connections between community struggles and cultures of resistance to challenge state violence, policing and prisons.
April 27 is the Quest for Democracy Day– a day of grassroots legislative visits at the California State Capitol led by formerly incarcerated people, supported by Their Families, Friends, Allies & Comrades.
April 29 – Training on meeting people where they’re at – This training will teach participants how to be conscious of the experiences and conditions incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people face, in order to improve participants’ advocacy.
May 7 – Mariposa & the Saint – Join CCWP for a performance and a conversation about the shocking conditions in California’s women’s prisons and what can be done to change them.
Oct 16-18 – 10 year anniversary celebration and conference for Black & Pink – if your penpals are getting out this year, please put them in touch with us, because they are invited to join this weekend and we will help them get travel stipends to get to Boston!
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mailJoin Flying Over Walls – SF Bay Area B&P for our Monthly Letterwriting Night! 
Monday, April 21 from 6-7:30
At the Napper Tandy (3200 24th St in SF, just a block from 24th St BART)

This month, in addition to letterwriting, our discussion will focus on our place and strategies in the larger movement, in light of an invitation we received to join a roundtable of LGBT2IQ prison penpal projects for the International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA) on June 13-15 in Ottawa, Canada on Algonquin territory. 

BECOME A PEN-PAL OR DECORATE A ONE-TIME CARD

No matter which way you choose to go, this is a simple way to brighten someone’s day in prison. Prisons are very lonely, isolating, and disconnected places so any sort of bridge, supportive human contact from the outside world is a powerful method of solidarity & is greatly appreciated.

So come hang out with us!

As always, we’ll have some basic supplies, but feel free to bring pens, markers, paper, envelopes, watercolors, pencils, stamps or a small donation toward supplies. Please do NOT bring any stickers, glues, glitters or adhesives.

towards a world without prisons

Flying Over Walls

March 2014 Letterwriting Night

This month, in honor of International Women’s Day / Women’s History Month we want to reflect on the particular challenges faced by queer & trans women in the criminal justice system. We’ll also be lifting up the legacy of queer and trans women leadership in the prison abolition movement.

BECOME A PEN-PAL OR WRITE A ONE-TIME CARD

No matter which way you choose to go, this is a simple way to brighten someone’s day in prison. Prisons are very lonely, isolating, and disconnected places so any sort of bridge, supportive human contact from the outside world is a powerful interruption & is greatly appreciated.

So come hang out with us!

Thursday, March 20, 2014
6-8pm
Jump’n Java Coffeehouse 6606 Shattuck Ave. Oakland, CA 94609

As always, we’ll have some basic supplies, but feel free to bring pens, markers, paper, envelopes, watercolors, pencils and stamps. Please do NOT bring any stickers, glues, glitters or adhesives. 
towards a world without prisons

Flying Over Walls

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

Letterwriting Night this Thursday!

Prison is a f**ed up place to be. And queer/trans communities are disproportionately criminalized. And making a real life connection based in friendship, support and solidarity with someone behind bars is one of the most important ways to fight the prison and criminalization systems, which are *designed* to isolate folks from their families and communities.

I know it’s short notice, but we’re trying to get monthly letterwriting nights going again by exploring new venues for the next few months.

We will be having our January letter writing night this Thursday 1/9/14 from 6-7:30 at the Starry Plough in South Berkeley. (here’s the facebook event link)

Please stop by anytime to pick up your letter, write a letter, pick out a new penpal, bring a friend, share an idea or have a bite!!

Holiday Card-Making Events!

Flying Over Walls will be hosting 2 holiday card-making events to benefit Black & Pink, as part of their Multi-City Holiday Card Party!!snowmen1

The holidays can be a challenging and lonely time when you’re locked up, so help us send some cards to member of our queer/trans community who are incarcerated in and around the SF Bay Area.

We’ll have paper, fun ink stamps and other permitted supplies as well as info and ways to get involved. Bring some change to help with postage and anything you’d like to donate to B&P.

San Francisco: Sunday December 15 3-8pm at El Rio as part of the ‘Homo for the Holidays’ Queer Craft Bonanza!

North Oakland: Monday December 16 6-8pm. Email flyingoverwalls [at] gmail.com for Location/Details.

Email flyingoverwalls@gmail.com with any questions or if you want to volunteer to help at either event!

Call out to join a Queer/Abolition Study Group

Dear Community,

Please help us spread the word – we are putting out a call and forming a Queer/Abolition Bay Area Study Group.

It will likely look like a group of 5-10 folks who are invested in deepening their critical and intersectional understanding of the prison industrial complex and prison abolition frameworks as they relate to queer/trans bodies and identities.

We will meet one Sunday afternoon/evening a month for a few hours (likely on 1st Sundays, except around the holidays – but this is negotiable) from about September through January (alternating meeting in east Bay and SF living rooms). We’ll hopefully do it dinner or potluck style and keep it casual. In our first meeting, or prior to it, we will collectively create a structure around readings/films/lectures that we want to use for our discussions and everyone will have a chance to propose material and/or co-facilitate a discussion group. We ask for a 5-month commitment, and we can decide in January if we’d like to keep meeting.

This study group will be held in conjunction with prisoner letterwriting times – an hour prior to every study group will be open for anyone in the community that would like to connect to a queer/trans prisoner penpal. We will hold orientations for new folks at this time and wrap up prior to the study group starting. Study group members would be welcome to come early to join letterwriting times, but not required.

If you are interested in joining or learning more, please contact flyingoverwalls@gmail.com by August 25-ish. Let us know: what interests you about this group, any potential readings you would like to suggest (articles, blogs, book excerpts, videos) and whether one Sunday evening a month would work for your schedule (and, if not, what days of the week/month would work for you).
Please forward out to others.

In Solidarity,

Beja & Charlie

prisons will not protect youqueer injusticecaptive genders

7/29 – Queer/Trans Prisoner Solidarity Letterwriting Night!

We’re rolling again!

Image

After a not so brief hiatus, we’re picking back up with monthly letterwriting nights. It’s gonna get revamped a little bit, including a 5 month study group, but more on that in a future email. For now, we decided to get a casual night together just to re-connect and get some new folks matched up!

Save the date:

Monday, July 29
6:30-8pm
Location TBD in Oakland

If you have a penpal already, please join us to check in and share how things are going. Bring past letters if you’d like to share something powerful or painful.

If you (or someone you know) is interested in getting matched to a penpal, pleeease come (and invite them)! We have about 20 letters to match. We’ll have an orientation to review guidelines for becoming a penpal and look through the letters of potential queer & trans penpals.

If you just want to join the fun and spark discussion, we’ll bring the political prisoner birthday list so you can send a one-time card. We’ll have paper, cards, envelopes, stamps/ink (that we all made in Paper’s stampmaking workshop!) and other art supplies.

And why do we do this? Because prison is a f**ed up place to be. And queer/trans communities are disproportionately criminalized. And making a real life connection based in friendship, support and solidarity with someone behind bars is one of the most important ways to fight the prison and criminalization systems, which are *designed* to isolate folks from their families and communities.

Bring snacks, bring your dinner, bring stamps or ink pads if you have em, bring a little cash to donate for postage. We won’t have a formal political ed discussion, but we can certainly get an informal one going!!

Email flyingoverwalls@gmail.com with any questions or if you’re really stoked to host. Otherwise, it’ll probably be in Beja’s living room (which has 10 stairs and 2 pets).

And please rsvp/invite folks on the facebook page.
Much love,
FoW

Tonight: our FIRST letters-to-prisoners night!

Originally posted here on4/25/12.

Join HAVOQ for our FIRST Prison Pen-pal Event!!! Wednesday, April 25 6-8pm @ Modern Times Bookstore (2919 24th Street)
Alright friends, HAVOQ is stepping it up. In addition to our monthly TGIJP legal support nights, we are officially embarking on a SECOND monthly letter writing event!

But this time, we’re getting a little more personal. We’re going to “create relationships of friendship, support, and solidarity between inside and outside folks and help break isolation for incarcerated members of our communities.” (MPCP)

Join us at Modern Times Bookstore for a choose your own adventure..

Adventure 1 – Choose a FOR REAL pen-pal. This is for those of you who want to start building relationships with folks behind bars. You can make it as personal or as political as you want, but it’s about learning the names and faces of real members of our queer family who are locked up inside the system – and being the kind of pen-pal that’s gonna stay in touch with them.

Adventure 2 – Send some ONE-TIME love. This is for those of you who want to send a semi-anonymous but sincere or artistic or inspiring message as a sign of support – but without the ongoing commitment. It will still be a reminder to them and everyone else on their block that they have support and have not been forgotten.

Whichever adventure you choose, we’ll have some basic supplies, but feel free to bring pens, markers, paper, envelopes, watercolors, pencils, stamps and a few bucks to cover postage for your letter(s). Please do NOT bring any stickers, glues, glitters or adhesives. These will get your letter returned to you.

****Please arrive on time, if possible, so we can introduce ourselves, review the basic guidelines together and answer any questions.****

We’ll have names from Black & Pink’s Prison Penpal list and from the Montreal Prisoner Correspondence Project in order to support the work of these two amazing organizations. We’ll also have some readings and resources available.

Facebook rsvp here and invite friends!