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WEBINAR OCT 18, 4pm ET: Moving Forward from Sex Work Diversion Programs to Harm Reduction and Rights

IntersectionalHairLogoAwareness of the negative impact of arresting and incarcerating people for engaging in sex work is growing nationwide in the United States. This webinar discusses the place of diversion programs in efforts to build health and rights for sex workers and communities routinely targeted by anti-prostitution law enforcement. Speakers include Monica Jones (CEO of The Outlaw Project), Jules Kim (CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Australia) and other experts in the field of sex worker rights. This webinar is convened by the Outlaw Project and BPPP with the assistance of NJRUA on social media.

Title: Moving Forward from Sex Work Diversion Programs to Harm Reduction and Rights: Putting Diversion and Prisons Out of Business

TIME: October 18 at 4 pm US Eastern time

RSVP for the webinar details.

Key issues explored during the webinar:

  1. What is diversion? This section will consider how diversion functions and what we know about its effectiveness and financial incentives in relation to the prison industrial complex.
  2. Should organizers and service providers have to choose between being for rights or supporting diversion in order to be able to help sex workers? This section will describe how debates about diversion have been framed in a binary fashion, inadvertently creating divisions in sectors that are already under-resourced and oppressed in the US.
  3. Placing diversion in a bigger rights affirming context with the expertise of our global partners and intersectional thinking from our US partners. In this section we will explore if elements of diversion can be reframed as harm reduction and how to think about ending the business of diversion and prisons as our ultimate goals.

#freeGigi sentencing tomorrow

Tomorrow May 9, 2017 Gigi Thomas will be sentenced as a result of being found guilty after a trial earlier this year in which she was repeatedly misgendered. On March 2 the jury returned with a verdict of guilty of second degree murder. In Maryland sentencing is carried out by the presiding Judge who in this case can sentence Gigi to a minimum of “time served” up to as long as 30 years in prison. Gigi has asked us to be present in the court in support of her on May 9 but for friends and supporters of Gigi who cannot make it please be sure to keep her in your mind and to share about her achievements as widely as possible. Below are some ideas for social media and you can find more about Gigi’s work and achievements at these links.

Some ideas for tweets, please tweet at 9 am EST May 9, 2017 if you have a moment. Let’s flood twitter with #FreeGigi

In solidarity with #GigiThomas as she faces sentencing May 9 #SurvivedandPunished. Pls Judge #FreeGiGi, not give prison time #Gigisaveslives

#GigiThomas 2 b sentenced May 9, she has saved so many lives #freeGigi read about her achievements & donate if u can https://www.generosity.com/emergencies-fundraising/support-gigi-thomas/x/1778989

#GigiThomas 2 b sentenced May 9. She survived and has been punished for it. Tell the judge 2 #FreeGigi

#GigiThomas 2 b sentenced May 9 #SurvivedandPunished. Power to all Black women fighting for their lives! #FreeGiGi #BlackTransPower

As we mourn the latest dead, let’s also support those who have survived like #freegigi #stopkillingblacktranswomen

Gigi Thomas: Last Call for Letters of Support in Sentencing

The window of opportunity to send a letter of support for Gigi Thomas, a social worker and leading advocate for the transgender community, is closing. Letters must be received by her attorney by April 15 if they are to be used at her sentencing hearing next month. We have checked with the attorney’s office and letters can be faxed to 301/474-9639. And/or sent to this email: dsimpson@davidsimpsonpa.com

There is a template that you might find helpful here in terms of how to write the letter. This template link focuses in on DC connections but do not fear that this means you cannot write a letter. If you know, have been assisted by or have been inspired by Gigi Thomas from across the nation and the world, use your own experience and write the letter. Every letter counts to help Gigi.

Don’t have a fax? Don’t fear. BPPP has a fax. Email us at bestpracticespolicyproject@gmail.com with your letter midnight tonight April 14, 2017 and we will fax it for you by the deadline, no problem. We also have an email that seems to work for letters to her attorney: dsimpson@davidsimpsonpa.com

Who is Gigi and why are letters of support important? Gigi Thomas, MSW, is a leading human rights advocate and a transgender woman of color who has worked for more than 15 years in the support of people in need in the DC area. She has never hesitated to provide outreach, client advocacy and harm reduction services to transgender women, people in the sex trade, low income people of color and LGBTQ people in the DC area. Since October 2015, GiGi has been held without bail in a men’s prison awaiting trial. At her trial in February 2017,  the prosecuting attorney misgendered her and erased the context of her experiences as a trans woman of color, social worker, and community leader. In Maryland sentencing is carried out by the presiding Judge. Sentencing in this case will occur on May 9. Anyone who has had experience working with Gigi (or being the recipient of Gigi’s amazing support) can write a letter for the judge to read before she sentences Gigi. Her attorney is collecting support letters and will get letter sent by April 15 to the Judge. More about Gigi Thomas, her trial and why we need to write letters of support is also available here at her fundraising page and here from the Collective Action for Safe Spaces.

Read more about Gigi’s years of work at these links:

Community Growth

Death Strikes in Transgender Community

 

MARCH 17 EVENT during CSW61

CSW61PhotobyPJSTarr

During the Commission on the Status of Women in NYC we will co-host the parallel event Sex Workers’ Rights, Economic Empowerment & the World of Work.  The event will be moderated by Monica Jones and will describe the policies that allow sex workers to thrive and defend their rights. Speakers include Beyonce Karungi of Transgender Equality Uganda and Elena Reynaga of RedTraSex.

Friday, March 17 at 12:30 PM – 2 PM
Location: 221 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022

The event is co-sponsored by The Outlaw Project, Best Practices Policy Project, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, American Jewish World Services, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and other groups. Follow @njrua for live tweeting of the event by Janet Duran.

Find out more information at www.facebook.com/events/1943993132487591/