2019 UPDATES FOR SF BAY AREA B&P/FLYING OVER WALLS

In 2019, we be hosting 2 events every month:

Every 1st Thursday from 6-8pm

Wicked Grounds Cafe – 289 8th St, SF, near Civic Center Bart. Wheelchair accessible. 

Every 3rd Monday from 6-8pm

Farley’s Cafe – 33 Grand Ave in Oakland, near 19th St Bart. Wheelchair accessible, though outlets for laptops are on the 2nd floor only.

We always welcome new individuals into our local leadership circle, and the dates our our monthly leadership meetings vary each month. We also coordinate visits to see our penpals and have t-shirts by donation to help with our costs. Email for more info, or drop by an event.

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!

Upcoming Events in August and September

**As always, every Tuesday in SF at TGIJP for legal support. More info here and join the tgijp mail night facebook group to get updates! 

 

Next Letterwriting Night: August 25thBlackAugust_Oakland_2009

Monday, August 25 6-8pm
Aunt Charlies Lounge – 133 Turk St, SF, CA 94102

Come Join us at Aunt Charlies Lounge for our August Letter Writing night honoring the memory and organizing legacy of black revolutionary and political prisoner George Jackson, who was gunned down by prison guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin on August 21, 1971. We will be linking this to larger and current issues of militarization and resistance. Whether you are swinging by to pick up a letter, looking to find a long-term pen-pal, or simply want to write a few cards this is a simple way to brighten someone’s day in prison and hang out with some awesome queers. So come hang out with us! (And bring a dollar to donate for stamps and supplies, if you can).

 

STOP URBAN SHIELD OAKLAND!stop brutality
Friday, September 5, 4-6pm
Oakland Marriott City Center – 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

The 9th annual Urban Shield – the SWAT team training and weapons expo that brings together local, regional and global police-military units – will be held in Oakland this coming September 4-8. Oakland is gearing up to stop it! Building on growing resistance to police militarization in the US, Bay Area community organizations and War Resisters League have come together to call for Oakland’s non-participation in Urban Shield, community self-determination, and solidarity with global movements.

 

Anniversary of Suspension of Historic 2013 Hunger Strike: Sept 6
 
Saturday, September 6, 2014, 11am-4pm
Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St. (W. MacArthur between Webster and Broadway), Oakland
 
This event will be commemorating the suspension of the largest hunger strike in U.S. history-begun on July 8, 2013 by over 30,000 people.   At great cost to their health, dozens of incarcerated people in CA fasted nonviolently for 60 days, ending on September 5, 2013. There will be a picnic, an open mic and food. 
 
We’ll be setting up a blanket and bringing supplies to paint our new Black & Pink banner! Come hang out with us!
 

 

Unicorns in Prison.. Our next workshop: September 8!!feelmore workshop.pptx
Monday, September 8 7-8:30pm
Feelmore Adult Gallery – 1703 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

This workshop will introduce and explore the prison industrial complex, including the abolition vs reform frameworks, a historical analysis of the policing and incarceration of LGBTQ people, and current issues and alternatives to incarceration. We hope this workshop will motivate folks to take action against the policing and incarceration of LGBTQ community and become committed to dismantling the prison industrial complex. We also hope to find new penpals for our queer and trans family currently behind bars. The workshop is 100% free but we will be accepting donations to help cover the cost of our work.

 

rps storefrontSeptember’s Monthly Letterwriting Night: Sept 18
Thursday, September 18 6-8pm
Rock, Paper Scissors – 2278 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Save the date – join us for our monthly letterwriting night! Theme TBD.

Dreaming Wildly, Fighting to Win, with CeCe McDonald and Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, an evening of celebration and political conversation


Saturday September 20 at 6pm
The Omni, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland
Put on by Critical Resistance Oakland. Tickets: $15 -$50 sliding scale. On sale here!

Upcoming events and updates!

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 6/17Please 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.

Not Proud of Pride

not proud

To: Kink.com, SF Armory, Masterbeat, SF Pride, and others,

We are writing out of concern after finding out about the Prison of Love party (and related after party) that will be happening in conjunction with Pride at the Armory this year. We are disturbed by the use of the prison theme and this party’s objectification of prison culture.

Flying Over Walls shares the concerns of Miss Major, TGI Justice Project, Janet Mock, El/La Para TransLatinas, Community United Against Violence, Trans March, and many others  about the Kink’s “Prison of Love” party (and related after party) that will be happening in conjunction with Pride at the Armory this year. We are disturbed by the use of the prison theme and this party’s objectification of prison culture.

This party disrespects the real suffering of incarcerated people, especially since our LGBT 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.

Our trans & queer community has a long history of being targets of police harassment and state-based violence, but we also have a long history of resistance. When our trans and queer elders fought back at Compton’s Cafeteria (1966) and at Stonewall Inn (1969) they gave birth to a new wave of liberation struggles in this country. We are PROUD of our queer  & trans history of resistance against law enforcement, jails, detention centers and prisons. We have PRIDE in our continued resilience and unwavering dedication to ending violence in our communities. That’s why we feel Kink’s choice of “Prison of Love” as their official PRIDE party theme and promotions are disrespectful and insulting.

Their 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. Miss Major has spent her entire life fighting against the prison industry and against the ways our queer and trans communities are targeted.  To be clear, Flying Over Walls isn’t interested in sexual censorship or policing people’s desires, we just think Another Pride Party is Possible, one that gets us closer to the liberation our elders so passionately started and that we continue to fight for today.

Please respect her and all of us by demanding that the party organizers change the theme.

Thank you,
Flying Over Walls – SF Bay Area B&P

 

To anyone opposed to this party, please sign this petition.

 

 

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!