JOB ANNOUNCEMENT! National Organizer for Black and Pink!

national-organizer-job-announcement
(download announcement and job description HERE)

Application Deadline: January 6, 2017

Start Date: March 15, 2017

To Apply: Please send cover letter and resume to Jason@blackandpink.org


Summary

Although Black and Pink provides many direct services to LGBTQ and/or HIV+ prisoners and court-involved people, the goal of our work is to strengthen the movement towards abolition of the prison industrial complex. The role of the National Organizer for Black and Pink is to support local outside chapters in their grassroots efforts, provide support and resources to prison-based chapters, develop and lead a national strategic organizing plan with clear goals and concrete actions to take. The organizer is also responsible for some direct advocacy work with prisoner members who are in crisis. 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 a 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.

Qualifications

The ideal candidate for this position will have some experience with organizing and a willingness to get training on effective organizing tactics. 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. The candidate must also be willing to travel regularly, primarily by plane.

Job Location:

Black and Pink’s national office is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The ideal candidate would either live in the Boston area or be willing to relocate (with financial assistance from Black and Pink to do so). There are possible exceptions. For individuals with extensive organizing experience and a history of working remotely for another organization, considerations for remote employment could be made. That person would, however, be required to come to Boston for 3 weeks of training and relationship building at the start of the employment.


Primary Tasks and Responsibilities:

Outside Chapter Support:
Coordinate national chapters’ call
Ensure resources are distributed between chapters and from the national office to chapters
Volunteer management and volunteer development
In person meetings with every chapter at least once a year
Provide guidance for grassroots efforts being done by local chapters.

Inside Chapter support:
Respond to letters and requests from inside chapters
Support development of new inside chapters
Ensure inside chapters submit reports about their work
Track and respond to retaliation against prisoner organizers

National Responsibilities:
Ensure that national working groups are meeting and help with coordinating them
Workshops, presentations, and public speaking for organizations around the country
Supporting and planning national gathering of B&P members (every 2 years).
Develop new initiatives that increase the effectiveness of organizational work

Resource Development:
Design outside chapter starting tool kit (with the support of existing chapters)
Update inside chapter starting tool kit as needed
Support National Director with resource development as needed

General Administrative Tasks:
Respond to prisoner letters in a timely manner
Respond to emails in a timely manner
Communicate with Office Manager and National Director about needs and work issues

Supervision:

This position is supervised by the National Director. Supervision should occur for one hour every week. During supervision the National Organizer should communicate about upcoming goals, needs for training or support, obstacles in the work, and emotional support needs due to the severity of the work.

 

 

 

We recommit to fighting for liberation!

Given that some adults with voting privileges in the U.S. elected a man who deeply threatens our family members, we recommit to fighting toward our goals and values laid out in our analysis:

Our goal is liberation. We have a radical view of the fight for justice: We are feminist. We are anti-racist. We want queer liberation. And we are against capitalism. Prisons are part of the system that oppresses and divides us. By building a movement and taking action against this system of violence, we will create the world we dream of.
We also celebrate the beauty of what exists now: Our love for each other. The strength of our planet. Our incredible resiliency. All of the power we have to continue existing. While dreaming and struggling for a better world, we commit to living in the present.

Abolition is our goal, and our strategy for action. Any advocacy, services, organizing, and direct action we take will remove bricks from the system, not put up more walls. We want revolution. And we will work on reforms too, even if they are only small steps at ending the suffering caused by prisons.

Our work is based in the experience of people who are or were in prison. We also raise up the voices of formerly incarcerated people as our “free world” members of the Leadership Circle. We know that those most hurt by the violence of the prison industrial complex have the knowledge of how to tear it down.

Black & Pink’s “free world” membership started in Boston and has spread across the country. We will support one another, share the work of our organizing efforts, and grow our family inside and outside the walls. We would like to increase our national and international membership, creating chapters in more cities, towns, prisons, schools, and neighborhoods.

 

Letters to Our Family (October 2016)

Dear Black and Pink family,

Hello to all my sisters inside & outside those walls. My name is Michael AKA Mike Mike. I am a long time reader and will start writing more. You know I was not too big on Relationships while in Custody of NCDOC. They never really worked for some reason or another, But, when I left Avery Prison to go to Hornet for Dart Class I could not help but fall in love at first sight of this sexy one whose name is also Michael who goes by “Lakisha”. Little did I know he felt the same for me. So after being at hornet for a week I asked if he knew anyone willing to jump out the window and get into an intimate Relationship. Lakisha says “yeah, me.” for the next 3 months I forgot I was in prison. I’d wait at the Block at 3pm + wait for him to get out of the Barber School. In the mornings we’d walk together to class, on the weekends he’d play Ball + I’d work out then we’d spend the rest of the day hanging out, plus church on Sunday.

Well, as my class finished and his rolls on I tried to stay. Staff said no. So on January 24, 2016 I asked Lakisha to marry me. Yes, was the response, and with it came a silver ring. (Staff took it at the next camp). Well with any love story goes a sad ending. Jan 28th, 2016 I was put on the Grey Goose to go to “The Rock.” Needless to say I cried that morning because I could not give my love a goodbye hug or kiss. He was in the Block across from mine. I gave him my info as he done too. Needless to say no luck there. I been at the rock for 3 months now and now on Protective Custody trying to get away from here.

Lakisha, if you’re reading this, don’t cry, I’m coming home soon. I may not make it back to Hornet but I get out 7 months after you Boo-Boo. I wear a ring I got off the yard. I brought for 10 stamps. Engraved on it is † Eternal Love † which clarifies to everyone here, “Hands off I am spoken for.” To show my ever loving Support I got ⚣ tattooed on my Right side. One Black, one white for My Boo Boo Lakisha.

To Black and Pink family I love the Cards, Postcards and Letters on the Holidays. Thankyou ALL. Much Love your Brother,
Michael, NC AKA Mike Mike, NC

 

Hi Black and Pink,

I am writing to tell you all about my story and experiences of what I have faced in the streets along with being in prison and I apologize if this is not written correctly. I am a high school dropout and this my first time stepping out of the darkness to show myself to the world.

Anyways… Hello to those Black and Pink and to anyone that might be reading this. My name is David Lyons. I am a bi-sexual male, I am 24 years old, I will be 28 on November 17th of this year. I am from a little town called “Newark” located in Ohio. I am a proud bi-sexual county boy I think lol…

I am a registered sex offender, I caught the case in 2011 when I was lied to by a female that claimed she was 20 years old but was not. I got charged with a felony of the 4th degree and that charge was unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. I am a father of 3 possibly 4 children and their mothers refuse to allow me to be part of my children’s lives because I am a sex offender and they believe that it is a law I am allowed to be around my children with a sex offense.

I was sexually molested as a child and have hid that fact from everyone. I noticed I was a bisexual when I was age 13 but I hid my sexuality from then until last year when I decided to slowly come out about my sexuality to a small group of friends that I had but they ended up abandoning me shortly afterwards because they were “homo-phobes”.

I am currently in prison on my 3rd number because of making stupid choices and getting back on drugs. I’ll be honest, I really let myself go this time. I could hardly find a job. I was homeless and could not find a place to lay my head. I couldn’t even get any help from anyone. I can’t count on my family because they only care about their selves, my mother can’t and couldn’t help me because she is about to be homeless herself and she is now just got approved for SSI because she has to have multiple surgeries for her back. I felt and still somewhat feel like the world and is and was against me. I was denied of so many things because of me being a sex offender (although I know none would admit it on paper to cover their own butts) so I get depressed and just gave up and started using meth again.

I was staying with my cousin’s before the last time I got arrested. I got “rail-roaded” by the law and my own cousin’s wife. But when I finally was able to stay with my cousin, I had re-registered my new address with the sex offender registry detective. And while I was gone one day trying to find a job, the registry detective came to my cousin’s house and asked my cousin if I was living there and then pulled my cousins wife outside and asked the same thing and came to find out in my discovery she stated that I never lived there. She did not like that by then I also had drug addictions. So the detective asked me to report him a few days later in which I did because I had nothing to hide, I did nothing wrong.

Once I showed up and he asked me where I was living and I stated to him, “at my cousin’s house.” He stated that “No you don’t, I spoke with them, they say you have never lived at that residence.” I argued with him and told him that I did live there and even requested that I could prove to him that I lived there. So after a few months of arguing, he stated, “Well Mr. L–, I see too many inconsistencies with your story, so you’re under arrest.” So me being high on meth at that time, I panicked and took off running on foot because I didn’t want to lose my freedom for something I did not do. They just did not want to check to see if I was telling the truth. So upon running I collided with another detective and they finally arrested and jailed me. I was charged with a felony 3 escape, a felony 4 assault on a peace officer, and a felony 4 failure notify change of address. I was sentenced to 18 months and I’ve seen a couple of stories in your newspaper of people experiencing similar problems. So I figured I would put my story out there with you and all and I am open to any and all comments or suggestions. I hope to be able to be part of your fast-growing ad caring family. I hope to be able to a voice among the many for those of us facing problems like all of us. Thank you for your time and for listening.

With much love,
David L, OH

 

Hello family,

I have read about the abomination that occurred in Orlando’s Pulse club maybe six times so far and my soul aches so terribly that it is still difficult, even now, to formulate a coherent message without the urge to yell, scream, and gnash my teeth in rage and lamentation. I’m not at a loss for words, but rather my mental filter isn’t working quite right. I’ll start slow and simple, my name, for those who don’t know me, is Ti’Anna Analise Delarosa. I was born June 30, 1993. I’m 23, HIV positive, transgender, and am Creole.

Okay, now that I’ve calmed myself down some I’ll set to the point. I’m deeply affected and wounded by the events that took place. I know almost firsthand how horrible the immigration laws are, having made the acquaintance of many amazing men of Puerto Rican, Mexican, Honduran, and Guatemalan descent and having been in a county jail where out of the 8 pods, 7 were for immigration and overcapacity and being emptied and refilled/overfilled every day. They are treated in a contradictory manner: 99% of the materials in the law library are en Espanol or all about immigration/deportation laws, which blatantly says they are top priority, while they are housed in overcrowded, unpleasant, and altogether unsanitary pods, leaving the message that “non-Americans” (in the words of racists and bigots) are less than beasts in their eyes.

I’ve also experience homophobia firsthand. My father was a heavy-handed alcoholic gay basher. Suffice it to say 2008 to 2012 were NOT my best years. Here is what I really want to talk about: since first reading the article about Pulse’s Latinx night, I’ve been contemplating what I like to think of as my “counter attack”. My plan is to build/have built a large (aka MASSIVE) facility of 10 stories for the main targets of senseless brutality and bull schnozzle laws. I call it the “TPOC Rainbow Palace”. (TPOC = Truly People of Color) It will house a club on the first and second floor: a cafeteria on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors; and housing on the 6th thru 10th floors. A few details: 4 queen-size bunk-beds per room; internet and Wi-Fi; 2 phones per room; intercom’ emergency call buttons’ interpreters/translators; each window will be 3 layers of 2-inch thickness of bulletproof glass-shatter proof glass-crystal mixture; the exterior walls will be 8-inch thick titanium-steel-iron alloy sheets to promote bullet proof metal-style resistance; metal detectors and super heavy security.

It’ll take me close to about 18 months to gather the appropriate funds in surplus of what is needed for construction, wiring, plumbing, etc. and get the initial structure built to the 6th maybe 7th floor. I am a financial genius (self-proclaimed and titled by others). I actually have a plan of accumulating the funds with very little financial support (loans, etc.) that will place me in Bill Gates’ seat in a timely fashion.

Back to the point. The TPOC Rainbow Palace is intended as a safe haven for LGBTQ and TPOC. The housing is intended exclusively for LGBTQ immigrants, TPOC immigrants and TPOC LGBTQ who either have no home, can no longer afford their home, wish to leave their home or are afraid to have one. There will be space reserved for those who don’t fall in the above stated categories, though they are not my top priority. My main worry is the LGBTQ immigrant community, TPOC immigrant community, TPOC LGBTQ immigrant community, and the TPOC LGBTQ community. That doesn’t mean others are not important to me, they just aren’t my main concern. They’re not being senselessly murdered and/or deported. One of the main objectives of the TPOC Rainbow Palace is to help shelter those considered to be immigrants (though this county was founded by immigrant who enslaved immigrants and made laws to keep other immigrants from following them on more righteous paths and for better reasons than to rebel against their home because they were self-centered, self-serving, greedy, lazy, undeserving, arrogant, deceitful, and outright cowardly flurps and ninnies. I’m not racist. I’m just highly prejudiced against the stupid people who did the stupid things that lead to the even more heinously stupid things that are happening now! Rant over.) and also to help them gain citizenship and temporary student visas and green cards so that the highly ignorant government can’t send them away or hurt them anymore.

My question is this: who is going to join me? I’m going home in a little less than 12 months and when I touch down, I’m setting this plan in motion. I’m not scared to admit I’m going to need a lot of help. I’m only one woman you know. I need to know that I’m not doing this alone and that we deserve this. The sad truth is that so many people are willing to march and rally and protest and write letters, but when it comes time to physically sacrifice oneself: time, money, energy: working, building, laboring, sweating and even bleeding (work does that to people, believe it or not). About ½ to 1/3 of those speaking up actually act out. I’ve seen it in here prison-side. Everybody complains, but only 3 out of 50 (there 2,100 inmates here) people will peak up and act out. Here’s the thing: I’m a born warrior, I know how to battle, survive and WIN. What I’m planning will put a huge target on my head. I’m ready for it. I’ve been raped, beaten, gay bashed, jumped twice, contracted HIV (4 years ago), survived jumping off of a car, and multiple suicide attempts. I welcome death at every turn, we play the game of Life every Friday and chess every Tuesday. As you can see, I haven’t lost. I truly think I’m going to live to be a 120-year-old crone mother. (Great!  … NOT!) If I do I’ll love ever millisecond.

In the case of the TPOC Rainbow Palace (I love that name  ), a great many feathers will be ruffled and a war will be waged. In the end, purple wings and pink flames with black swords and periwinkle halos will fill the sky. Rainbows will be seen all over the world and techno music will rain from heavens. Translation: WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS! If you wish to be apart for that which is being planned or have suggestions, drop a couple hints to me via your poems and letters to Black & Pink if they’ll be a good sport about it. Keywords: #RAINBOWREVOLUTION, #TRP (which is the palace I mentioned), and #RAISETHEPULSE. BTW: I just want to say that Trump can kiss my purple wings, periwinkle halo and sit on my pink tail. The guy’s a jerk and a rich jerk at that. I KNOW we can do butter. I was born and raised a southern Bayou Belle and in my family, every person is loved. Has a home, and has a family, whether blood or not, undocumented, citizen, interplanetary, or multidimensional doesn’t matter. You are LOVED and you are FAMILY-PERIOD. God bless you, blessed be, Goddess keep you, and my love engulf you. Peace, Blessings and

Love,
Tianna D. “Mommy T” IL

 

 

Hey all you fabulous Divas, Dykes, T-Girls, & Studs!!! This is your sister <Ms. Jayde Moonshadow> and I wanna send a shout-out to all my totally fantabulous fellow “T-girls!” Hay ya’ll!!!

I also want to embrace all the recent additions to our “family.” It takes an unimaginable amount of bravery & courage to be all that we are; despite the fact that in doing so, we often are rejected/ridiculed by the very ones we hope will accept & love us (for being us/as we’re meant to be).

I, myself, have had a lot of trouble with this. I am totally “out” (& proud of it), and have been for a while now. However, I’ve lost a lot of those I’d thought were “friends”, simply because they were not able/willing to accept me as I truly am (as a trans-woman).

Those of “us” that’ve experienced this first-hand, are fully aware how “traumatic” these losses are/can be.

That’s why I’m a very firm believer in “HOPE;” hope that I’m strong enough to make it each day, hope that I am being true to myself, hope that I am always there for those who need me, hope that each new day is a bit better than yesterday, and hope that we will all be accepted & loved for being the way we choose to be…>

Speaking of “Hope,” I’m very hopeful that I will get a positive ruling from the “courts.” I’m fighting for a “legal name change,” a “bra (female undergarments),” and “electrolysis/laser hair removal.”

I finally got approval for the “hormones” (in May/2015) and am making steady progress in that area. Though, I’m still absolutely clueless. as to how to measure my “cup/breast-size!” Does anyone know how to do this?! Unbelievably, there’s not one female staff/doctor/nurse that’s willing to tell me how it’s done, like I’m some creepy-ass freak for asking…>!!!

Well, before closing this out, I want to give a loving shout-out to the following “family” members: to L’Don Rose (in CA), all my love & hugs (keep fightin’ girl, I’m right here with ya, honey); to “A.J.O” (in CA), hang in there sweetie. I know it’s lonely and hard, but I love you and accept you for the glorious & perfectly awesome person you are!; to Robin (in Las Vegas, NV) I love your spunky-style/philosophy about all these hater-ass fools! Haters gonna hate, while lovers stay lovin’!!!; to Lexi T. (in MA), I love that you wrote about “making a difference,” not “being different!” Stay strong and know that life is always worth living, no matter how difficult the path laid-out before us is!; and finally to Cassie (in TX), keep being true to yourself girl! You’re so brave and deserving of acceptance <no matter what your chances are in life>!

Lastly, I want to send my love & adoration to “Luna Umbra” (in MA); you’re my light in this dark & lonely world! Thanks for being a “True Friend!” All my love and hugs, cutie!!!

Stay strong, united, and loving always,
Ms. Jayde, CO
(<3 “kisses” ya’ll)

 

 

I write to my GLBT family because I have nowhere else to turn to. I am housed in the Bible belt of West Texas, arguably the most anti-gay place on Earth. For 4 years, I have endured TDJC’s practices of hyper-surveillance and targeting of homosexuals. I really hate that the system focuses more on me writing kites to my partner than all the violence/extortion.

For over a year my partner Shane “Loose Screw” and I have been madly in love. We enjoyed life, supported/encouraged each other, etc. Then one day, out of nowhere, we get a “lover’s interest” flag put on us. We were moved apart from each other. This is 2016! “Homosexual conduct” is no longer against the law, there is nation-wide same sex marriage, and “don’t ask/don’t tell” was abolished. However, TDCJ doesn’t keep up with the times & still has homophobic disciplinary rules. You would think the system would encourage peer-to-peer support. The need to feel loved, wanted, and appreciated is a basic human need. Denying us meaningful relationships hurts our rehabilitation! Love gives us a purpose. And with purpose comes goals and aspirations, I know personally, I feel calloused and bitter that TDCJ has stripped me of my joy by moving my partner.

Screw, if you are reading this, I love you. “Till the wheels fall off.”

B&P family in TX – my heart is with you.
Eric “Angel” (aka YOLO), TX

 

 

 

Hello, Black and Pink family,

This is my first letter to the family, but surely won’t be the last. I just wanted to take time out and send love to this family that has given me strength and power in the recent years of my life. My name is Brandon, and I am a 29-year-old bisexual male from Missouri. I am currently serving time in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I’ve been down for over six years.

I have been involved in same sex relationships since I was 14, however I’ve only been open about it for about 4 years. Up until recently, I have always been afraid of being who I truly wanted to be mostly out of fear of what my mother and two brothers would think of me. Father was never around, so mama worked extra hard to provide for her three boys. I didn’t want to hurt her by letting her down despite her doing her best, her son still turned out gay. I didn’t know how to tell my little brother who looked up to me so much the I wasn’t the idol he thought I was, or how to tell my big brother that his little brother (me) has sexual experiences with other men. I couldn’t bring myself to hurt my family like that. So, I continued living a lie. I would be in relationships with women when I’m thinking about, dreaming about being with a man. I would hang out on the block with the fellas, wishing I was up the street at my “play sister’s” slumber party. I lived this lie until it eventually landed me in prison.

I was still hiding who I was when I first came into the system out of fear of being taken advantage of. Then one day, a friend of mine who also happens to be gay, approached me on the yard and said “check this out” while handing me a newspaper. I waited to get back to my cell during count before I opened up the newspaper and started reading. At first, I thought “this some type of scheme to get gay people to spend money”. Then I continued to read. Not only was this paper free, it was filled with stories and articles of people that fared the same adversities I faced as a gay male. I was thunder struck! Never in a million years did I imagine that there could be such a large group of people that not only understood my problems but have lived and overcame them. I immediately subscribed to Black and Pink that very same day, and started receiving this wonderful blessing of a paper shortly after.

After receiving Black and Pink for about a year, and witnessing all our family members come together and help each other live our lives in peace and happiness, through positive words of encouragement, consistent dispersing of useful resources, and honest, non-judgmental feedback between one another, I made the decision to come out.

So, I asked my mama and brothers to come up to visit. During that visit, through many tears and emotional despair, I poured my heart out to my family. I told them of my sexuality and how sorry I was for keeping it from them all this time, my mother grabbed my hand and through teary eyes stated “Brandon, you are my son, and there is absolutely nothing you can do that will change or take away the love I have for you.” My little brother hugged me and said “big bro, this just made me look up to you even more,” my big brother also hugged me and said “I love you little bro, and you got my 100% support…but don’t think I hooking you up with any of my homies (lol).” I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. I’ve never felt so alive…I’ve never felt so loved…I’ve never felt so free.

I wanted to share that special moment with this Black and Pink family because I was through you all…the love, the support, the unity, and the understanding that I found the courage to be who I am today. A proud gay man, full of love and joy from the bottom of my heart…I thank you, and I wish everyone under this magnificent rainbow…love, peace and happiness…

Your brother,
Brandon, IL

Message from Jason (October 2016)

Dear friends,

I hope this note finds you as well as possible. By the time you get this October will likely be almost over. Did you know that this autumn month is considered LGBTQ History Month? Did you know that October 11th is considered National Coming Out Day? I wanted to take a moment to share some reflections about both of these things.

There are lots of different feelings that people have about National Coming Out Day. For some people this day is a celebration and a day to tell stories about how they first knew, who they first told, what the first kiss was like, how the first dress felt, or any number of other funny or heart breaking stories. For other people it is a day that ignores their experience. Not everyone chooses to come out. Not everyone has a choice not to come out. Visibility, being seen, is not what everyone is looking for. When it comes to policing in queer communities of color, being seen often then means being arrested. Coming out, or being known, turns into repression. Closets are not only places people choose out of fear, closets can also be places of survival.

I think a lot about the stories many have shared here about coming out. Telling others you are LGBTQ while in prison can be a big risk. Sharing your status as being HIV+ can bring harassment or isolation. Yet so many of you still choose to do so and doing so can take great courage. This is not to say that all coming out is intentional though. Sometimes other people can tell, sometimes we get clocked, sometimes we are forced out of the closet because prisons lock us in a prison that does not match our gender.

Coming out can look different for everyone. Some of us sashay into a crowd and proclaim ourselves as if we were fabulous divas on a stage. Others of us come out quietly in whispers with our closest friends, sharing something that feels precious. There are those of us who come out with our fists in the air demanding our rights be respected. There is no wrong way to come out. There is no wrong way to be an LGBTQ person. While we are part of a larger community, and as Black and Pink we are part of a big family, we are also very different from each other. Each one of us has our own unique needs. As people with differing races, genders, abilities, religions, and other identities, we have different experiences of privilege and oppression. These are differences we must not ignore and these are differences we must understand so that we can be stronger together.

What about your story? Have you ever come out about your gender or sexual orientation? Have you come out to others about another part of you? Have other people ever “outed” you without your permission? Have you ever felt like the closet might be your safest option? Has anyone ever come out to you? How did you respond? How would you want someone to respond to you?

One of the tricky pieces about LGBTQ History Month is that it requires us to know the stories of people who are known to be part of our community. It requires us to know stories of those who have come out in some way or another. As such, LGBTQ History Month will always be incomplete. There are countless people throughout history who were attracted to people of the same gender or who identified as a gender they were not assigned at birth who we will never know about. While we may know the stories of people like Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Christine Jorgensen, Rock Hudson, Sylvia Rivera and so many others there are even more of our LGBTQ ancestors we will never know about. Their spirits may be watching over us, seeing how we make a path for liberation and justice today. I like to imagine that their spirits may be part of what gives us the strength to keep up our struggles, knowing that once there were no prisons, that day will come again.

In loving solidarity,
Jason

Intimate Partner Abuse & LGBTQ Prisoners

intimate-partner-abuse-excerpt

domestic-violence-awareness-monthGiven that October is observed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we wanted to highlight stories from LGBTQ prisoners, people ignored by the movement to end domestic violence.

Many leaders in social service organizations working with survivors of domestic violence push for tougher laws that will incarcerate abusive partners for longer periods of time. Abolitionists have critiqued this idea, drawing attention to this as a form of carceral feminism. The truth is that the criminal legal system does not care about the healing of survivors of domestic violence. Even when we look at the resource allocation from the Violence Against Women Act, the far majority goes to law enforcement and prosecution, not to services for survivors. The critique of carceral feminism is an important one, prisons are not actually ending intimate partner abuse, but instead give a liberal face to imprisoning people.

There is, however a missing piece of the critique. Not only do prisons not put an end to intimate partner violence, the reality is that intimate partner abuse continues inside the prison walls. Just as people engage in intimate relationships outside of prisons, so to do people in prison create intimate partnerships. People in prison have boyfriends, girlfriend, fuck buddies, wives, husbands, partners, intimate relationships of all kinds with other prisoners locked inside the walls. People in these relationships then try to navigate the dynamics of their relationship while also surviving in a violent and traumatic environment, one that actually forbids their relationship from existing. There has been inspiring work done with survivors in refugee camps that would actually be helpful to apply to these situations, navigating intimate violence within a larger violent system. When abuse happens in an intimate partnership in prison, there is, essentially, no where to turn. It is difficult to turn to prison staff for many reasons. Firstly, if one admits to a prison staff person about being in an intimate relationship with someone they might find themselves thrown into solitary confinement for violation of the rules. Secondly, telling prison staff about any kind of harm by another prisoner will get one labeled as a “snitch” and that label can lead to even greater violence from any number of other prisoners. This leaves survivors with very few options.

We asked respondents to the Black and Pink National LGBTQ Prisoner survey about their experiences with sexual violence.

One third of respondents reported that they had experienced abuse in one or more of their romantic relationships in prison.

This is a similar rate or higher than what most anti-violence organizations highlight for relationships outside of prison. LGBTQ prisoners need more appropriate services that actually meet their needs when they are trying to navigate and survive an abusive romantic relationship. Hopefully this data from prisoner, these stories below, can push a conversation forward so that new programs can be developed and a strong commitment can be made to include the needs of prisoners as we come up with authentic solutions to ending intimate partner abuse.

Download PDF of factsheet HERE

October Update from Chicago

Greetings family!

We’re writing as the season begins to change.  Leaves haven’t quite changed colors, but the sticky heat and humidity are on their way out, and cool fall breezes are on their way in.  While there’s much that’s beautiful about this time of year, it’s also a scary political climate as the presidential elections are less than two months away.  We’ve seen terrifying increases in hate crimes against people perceived to be Muslim, driven by the racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric of a certain presidential candidate, whose name rhymes with dump.  In Illinois, we are still reeling with the effects of severe budget cuts, despite a stop-gap budget agreement that was finally put into place earlier this summer (after over a year without a state budget).  The war on the poor, the war on Black lives, and wars abroad continue – but so does beautiful, people-powered resistance.   

In Chicago, this summer gave life to a 41day encampment of what become known as ‘Freedom Square,’ just across the street from a CPD torture site called Homan Square.  Led by the young Black organizers of the #LetUsBreathe Collective, they gave out free food, free water, free clothes, free books and held space in North Lawndale for envisioning what a world without police could look like, on a formerly abandoned grassy lot.  Numerous Black & Pink volunteers brought food, volunteered in the kitchen, played with children, and helped with the upkeep of the encampment. While the overnight occupation came to an end at the beginning of September, hundreds of people across Chicago no doubt learned lessons that they’ll carry with them for a long time about what it means to practice building the world we want to see.

Our Black and Pink chapter has also been hard at work on a number of other projects.  At the beginning of the summer, we tabled to sign up new volunteers at the Chicago Dyke March, and had a photo-booth encouraging passersby to share messages against solitary confinement.  One of our volunteers also made fantastic new shirts that say “Solidarity not solitary,” which debuted at Dyke March.  In August, we hosted a hopping community dinner with the Chicago Community Bond Fund, a grassroots organization that raises funds to get community members out of Cook County Jail, and organizes for an end to cash bail, for the ways that it unfairly criminalizes people without access to money.  We also partnered with ‘Love and Protect’ for a letter-writing night to incarcerated women and girls – including 15 year old Bresha Meadows.  She is currently in jail pre-trial facing murder charges, for defending herself and her family against her abusive father.  

We recently hosted a highly attended new volunteer orientation, with nearly 30 new people wanting to get involved in our chapter’s work. Two of our working groups, Penpal Support Team & Re-entry Support Group, are able to get re-started now that new people have joined. Earlier this summer we also received our first ever grant as a chapter. It was for $3,000 from the Crossroads Fund and it will largely go towards operations and political education. We’re very excited to have funds to pay for postage and printing, as our inside membership has grown to nearly 600 people in Illinois alone. Operating costs for this volunteer effort are significant.

We also want to acknowledge that two of our formerly incarcerated members, Afrika and Eddie, have been doing well and continue to support B&P fam in Chicago by regularly speaking out at events and protests.  We also send love for our fam who’s been entrapped by the system again, and miss having them on this side of the walls.  We’ll continue to match penpals, teach folks on the outside about the violence of incarceration, and offer what support we can to our ever-expanding family, and hope that you’ll continue to stay in touch and let us know what’s happening on the inside.  Here’s some other news that we think you might find interesting:

Update on Anti-Solitary Bill HB5417

The bill to limit the use of solitary confinement in Illinois made it out of the House Restorative Justice Committee but did not get called for a vote on the House floor last session, at the end of May. Many are committed to continuing to organize and lobby for it this coming legislative session starting in January, 2017. In the meantime we are working with a budding coalition of prisoner solidarity organizations to build more of a grassroots campaign to end solitary confinement in Illinois. 

If you have family on the outside who you think would like to help us, please have them visit http://torturesurvivorsagainstsolitary.com/  or e-mail Blackandpinkchicago@gmail.com to find out more information about upcoming actions and events.  The more connections we have to family and friends, inside and out, the stronger we will be. We’ve continued to gather ideas and testimony from inside members about why we need to stop solitary, which we’ll share with community members and legislators. 

On September 9th, our coalition organized a march in solidarity with the national prisoner work stoppage day. In memory of the prisoners of Attica, dozens of people gathered from across Chicago to speak out in front of the Thompson center and march to the Metropolitan Correctional Center for a noise demo in solidarity with those inside.

Recent Victory – Prison Phone Justice Bill!

A bill was recently signed into law, HB6200: The Family Connections Bill, that will cut in half the cost of phone calls from Illinois prisons. Under the measure, prison phone call rates will be cut in half, or a maximum of 7 cents per minute, starting January 1, 2018. For years, Securus, one of the two largest prison phone providers, has profited from overcharging those incarcerated and their families. As part of the contract, IDOC makes $12 million annually in “commissions,” or kickbacks to the state, which is the highest in the nation. This bill will stop prison profiteers from picking the pockets of poor families. If you know someone on the inside who would like to share their story of paying the high cost of prison phone calls, have them contact: Illinois Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway, Urbana, IL 61801.

#NoDAPL (No Dakota Access Pipeline)

Open Letter of Solidarity with Standing Rock and Everyone Resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline – 7.14.16

Today, on this global day of action against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Black & Pink Chicago shares this letter of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all people in the struggle to save our water. Water is life. Our work towards abolition requires us to ensure that all people have their basic needs met: housing, food, air, water. The Dakota Access Pipeline stands in the way of our vision of a world without police and prisons, a world that values life over profit.

Time and again, we have seen that prisoners are often the last to get access to clean water under disaster capitalism. We saw it after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy and so many other “natural” disasters. We saw it in Illinois a couple months ago after Gov. Rauner’s refusal to pass a budget in Illinois left some counties with exorbitant water bills and threatening to cut water off to thousands of people locked in state prisons. This pipeline is a threat to hundreds of our Black & Pink family, thousands of other incarcerated people, and millions of non-incarcerated people in its path.

In addition to the environmental destruction this pipeline will create, we abhor the militarized violence that water protectors have faced while resisting its construction. In North Dakota, security guards working for the pipeline company have attacked indigenous water protectors with dogs and pepper spray. We must resist the ongoing genocide of native peoples through toxic polluting and theft of sacred lands, as well as the brutalization and incarceration of those who resist. May enough of us be enraged and moved to action by this to stop state and corporate violence, to stop this pipeline, and to disarm the police. No to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Not at Sacred Stone. Not in Illinois. Not anywhere.

Free Bresha Meadows (Taken from FreeBresha.wordpress.com)

Bresha Meadows is a child survivor of domestic violence who just turned 15 while incarcerated at the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center. Bresha is charged with aggravated murder for defending herself, and her family from a father who had a long history of abusing them. We demand that the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office drop all charges against Bresha Meadows and release her immediately. Like Bresha, an estimated 15.5 million children in the U.S. are exposed to domestic violence each year. Girls and women incarcerated for actions taken in self-defense are disproportionately Black. 84% of girls incarcerated in the US experience family-based violence prior to being criminalized. Three women are killed per day in the US by a current or former partner, and 75% of these women are killed within hours, days or weeks after attempting to escape the abuse. Bresha’s father was also five times more likely to kill his victims because he owned a gun. Criminalizing Bresha in this context sends a harmful message to survivors and their children—that even in the most desperate of situations, they will be punished instead of helped.  

Open Letters Project: Bresha Meadows is still in jail. It’s likely that she’ll be in jail until at least 10/6 which is the date of her next hearing. That means that she will have spent over 70 days in a cell for defending herself and her family against he abusive father.  It’s terrible. We invite those of you who would like to help to please join the “Open Letter to Dennis Watkins” project. Dennis Watkins is the prosecutor who has the discretion to decide to drop charges against Bresha and to release her.  The organizers hope to publish at least one open letter a day on their site.

Letters can be anonymous but they’d have more impact if they are signed and if you’d be willing to include the state you live in. Elements of a good letter: 1. Explain why you think that Bresha should be free. 2. Do you have a personal story about domestic violence and its impact(s) that you would be willing to publicly share. 3. Include information about the impact(s) of detention and incarceration on children.4. Make it personal.

If you want to participate, send us a letter to us at Black & Pink Chicago / c/o Bresha Open Letter / PO Box 577942 / Chicago, IL 60657 by September 25 or sooner. Together we will help to #FreeBresha. **We cannot promise all letters will be published, and there is no compensation for participating.

 

 

Letters to Our Family (September 2016)

To my Black and Pink family,

How is everybody doing? Both behind the walls and in the free world. Well, my name is Edward a.k.a. Sincere. I have been receiving this newsletter for some time now, but, this is my first time writing. So, real quick, I’m a Black and Indian bi-sexual man locked up in Rhode Island’s (A.C.I.). I’m 29 year’s old serving a 24 year sentence and been locked up for 12 1/2 years and counting!! Yes, I been down since I was 17 years old.

Well, there’s a whole lot I’d like to speak about that’s really weighting on my mind. This past month has been crazy and there’s event’s that brought tear’s to my eyes. Homophobes like “Omar Mateen” gunning down our sister’s and brothers in the month of gay pride, their has been two more black men murdered in cold blood by police, and five officer’s has been killed. Now, those in power are trying to paint the Orlando attack as “radical Islam” as a way to point finger’s at all Muslim’s. Its just wrong.

First, the attack on our LGBTQ community in Orlando although it’s labeled as one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history, its only one of many racist and hateful act’s that we, as a family, live with today. It just never been this bad for our people. In 2016, LGBTQ people are still not accepted, we’re looked down on, and hated.

Understand that LGBTQ people, and people who are non-white has never been loved, respected, or treated equally in America. In my eyes, it’s been that way in the past and the present. Even though we’ve come a long way from the past, we still have a longer path to march down. So, as long as we still have to fight for our right’s these act’s will still be committed.

This is a time when we can’t allow the media or the government dictate our future or allow them to place distrust among us as a community, and family. We need unity among us all, and protest, demonstrate, and what ever else we have to do, to receive and demand our respect, equality, love, and trust. Demand a end to discrimination, unemployment, police brutality and the end to prisons. It takes unity, and do what need’s to be done by any means necessary. We need the unity of all people white, black, straight, LGBTQ, all religions (Islam, Jews, Christians, etc).

My heart goes out to the polices family as well. While keeping it real with you (my family), I dislike cop’s. But, at the same time I do not agree with the act’s of senseless murder. No matter who does the murdering (US, cop’s, the government with the death penalty, etc.) to me, murder is murder and all should stop. And let love and unity murder hate.

I’m going to end this now with hopes of everybody coming together to fight this fight as one. I’ll leave you with something that “Karma” from Georgia said in Junes Black and Pink paper “I challenge each and everyone of you, my brothers, sisters, & those undecided or indifferent either way, to fight along my said as i fight along yours. Why you experience defeat, push on harder. When you feel weak or in despair, just know I have too. But continue & you will win! Wars are won through many battles, & a battle lost is not the war! You must be stronger than the opposition!

Love you all. Xoxo
Sincere, Rhode Island

 

Dear Black and Pink,

My name is Lance. I’m a 46 year old uber healthy gay black male. And I’ve been down since 1989. I’ve been receiving Black & Pink since 2012-13. I love the up to date news and historic political articles and the poetry is very powerful. I often shed tears reading about all the different struggles that my brothers and sisters go through.

I just got done reading the June 2016 issue and would never have known about that massacre at Club Pulse in Orlando. The young lives that were needlessly lost just broke my heart to pieces.

In today’s society homophobia and transphobia are not fears they are a deep seated hatred towards us. Like racism it is taught. Any-phobia starts out as a fear. Fear of expression, fear of being seen, fear of not being accepted, fear of not being loved, fear of loss. These are the only fears people of that -phobia- feel. In time that fear becomes so suffocating and confining that for one who is not but wants to be, that fear morphs into anger and hatred aimed at that desire to be like us. Some people can break through that prison and become that beautiful butterfly. For others, unfortunately, that inability to break through, the cowardice all become a boiling pot of hatred, first for the self then for us (LGBTQ).

Islam does not prescribe to self-loathing suicide, it is a sin. I think Omar loved everyone in that club and because he feared to express it he destroyed the object of his desire and that my friend is the saddest part of this tragic story. Rest in Peace Omar Mateen, I forgive you.

In spite of the anger we feel we must continue to love. I’ve lost 49 beautiful family members, but this tragedy only fuels my desire and ambition to work for and join forces with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth ages 24 or under. Suicide prevention is my biggest concern.

All my life I’ve been gay and I’ve fought for and protected gay people. Some of my closest friends growing up and in prison were gay and lesbian. Although all our lives are precious and for all areas that I still don’t fully understand I’ll always have oceans of love and emotional support and physical unity for all of you.

Stay strong in solidarity.
Lance, New York

 

Dear Black and Pink Family,

This is my first time writing, so please bare with me…Before I further apply these words of true feeling to this paper; I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all my brothers and sisters out there, by hoping that every last one of you that’s in solitary confinement like myself are remaining strong and emotionally, mentally, as well as physically!! Properly introducing myself my name is Kevin, but prefers to be addressed as “Kev”, I’m a black 36 years young bisexual male who is currently confined at CCI in Tehachapi, CA. I’m in the cell with an individual who makes degrading statements and comments about individuals who are gay, transgender, and bisexual, but watches Ellen on tv every day. Which shows and demonstrates to me a negative, confused, cold-hearted and unempathic person…seeing all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters go through the unthinkable at Pulse nightclub in Orlando touched me emotionally and I grieved and felt all those who were killed, their families their pain and hurt. I have a auntie who is considered a “dyke” and that could’ve been her there..The dumb and stupid comments my cellie made about those innocent people who were at Pulse enjoying themself really and truly not only pissed me off, but also made me lose a a lot of respect for him, and made me have a different perception of him as a human being. Before I terminate this missive, I would like to tell all my brothers and sisters behind the walls to stay strong emotionally and mentally, don’t let no one get you down, keep ya head up, and most importantly continue on being who you are and don’t let no one stop you, this missive is concluded!!

Respectfully,
Kev, California

 

Dear Black & Pink Family,

First off let me shout out to all LGBTQ’s world wide! This is my first time writing so bear with me ya’ll. I go by the name of Baby J I’m a 26 year old gay male-top, from the Dominican Republic on lock-down in the great state of Texas! I’m serving 15 yrs for agg assault with a deadly weapon. I’ve been getting B&P for a few months now and I must say I love it, I love it, I love it lol!

Thanks to Black & Pink I have come out of the closet!! I am no longer hiding who I really am. For too many years I have lived how others want me to live and I’ve never been more happy with myself than I am now. So I want to thank Black & Pink and the whole LGBTQ community for helping me see that I can be me, myself and I all day everyday! I see now that I am not alone, I have the whole LGBTQ community behind me! It feels so good to be loved, to be accepted, to be me!!! The only support that I have in prison is Black & Pink and I look forward to the newspaper every month.

I’ve been locked up now for 3 yrs and it has been pretty hard. Due to me being a known member of a organization/family I have had to hide my sexuality, but no more…… I have given up my position in the nation, laid down my pitchforks and brought out what I’ve been hiding since I was 12 yrs old. Although I am uber-masculine still have a feminine side! I decided I’d leave the organization not only because they wouldn’t accept me anymore, but out of respect for my brothers and myself. I couldn’t lie to them any longer and most importantly, I couldn’t continue to lie to myself.

I want to touch on what Kidd-G said in the June 2016 newsletter. Kidd-G you said that the love of your life came running into your life and told you if they can’t accept who you are then they are not a true brother anyways…. Man if that ain’t a true statement I don’t know what is. Shout out to Kidd-G from Ohio!!

Well let me stop running my mouth and come to a close. Sometimes I seem to develop a bad case of motor mouth lol!! Once again thank you Black & Pink and thanks to all LGBTQ’s for all your love and support!! My heart and love will forever go out to the lives lost in Orlando and they families que descansen en paz y en poder!! Until next time mi familia……

Tu Sabre Qen Ye Soy,

Amor,
Baby J, Texas

 

Dear Family,

I have wrote once as “Alexia,” but due to a choice I like more, I now go by “Melaina.” I am a 26 year old transwoman who is passionate about being a woman, and strongly believes/supports the LGBT community. We are who are, choice as not – it’s time we are accepted.

This week has proven interesting, as the events that have taken place are signs of pure ignorance and refusal to understand. The first event that has occurred is the Mass Shooting in Orlando, FL. May God bless those who survived, the families who lost, and those we lost. Hatred is not the answer, but it does make us stronger as a community – it shows us what we need to improve.

The other incident I speak of has taken place here at the Wyoming State Penitentiary. As a transwoman, I am wanting to be able to shower separately – as allowed under PREA -, be pat searched by females, have female under clothes; the lovely warden here informed me that I would receive NOTHING!! Even though policy and law state that I can receive once accommodation. I have made the choice to take the battle, not just for me, but for my future sisters who may come through. No one should have to be forced into being someone they aren’t, all because no one wants to understand.

I will keep my family updated on this process, I do ask for support, letters would be great. Luckily I do have a supportive sergeant and officers, I’m thankful for both.

Not only do I have the supportive WDOC employees, I have my supportive Brothers here who have not given up on me. Thank you, all of you, for your continued help! I love you!!

One day we will have a world full of people who can be themselves. A world with no hate. We cannot give up.

My best goes out to all my Brothers and Sisters! We are strong, we WILL WIN!!

Love Always
Melaina D. Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

Message from Jason (September 2016)

Dear friends,

I hope this note finds you doing as well as possible. I want to begin by recognizing all of those who participated in any kind of action on September 9th. We cannot go in to much detail about the actions that took place on that day around the country. If we did, the newspaper would probably be rejected from many prisons. I do want to honor the brave organizing that took place. I know some Black and Pink members took part. There has been some major media attention to what prisoners did. All of us should remember the events that took place at Attica prison in 1971. We must remember that the government killed 43 people when they retook Attica, 33 prisoners and 10 guards. The actions on September 9th showed incredible bravery. Without risk, change is not likely. We are in solidarity with all people resisting prison violence and exploitation.

There has been some other pretty amazing resistance in the news lately. Have you been following what is happening with the Dakota Access Pipeline? There has been some incredible resistance coming from Indigenous people from all across the country. Leaders and members of Indigenous nations have been coming together to stop the Army Core of Engineers from giving permission to a group of companies that are stealing land to build the pipeline. The primary company that owns the pipeline is called Energy Transfer. The company is run by Kelcy Warren, who is a multi-billionaire from Texas. He is planning to make enormous amounts of money off of the pipeline. The pipeline would move oil that is drilled in North Dakota all the way down to the Gulf. The pipeline would go through burial grounds and holy land of many Indigenous people, but in particular the Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota people. The current encampment began with people from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and has grown to include countless other nations and tribes. In the middle of September a call was made for all Indigenous people to come to the encampment in solidarity. Palestinians, Aboriginals, and other First Peoples arrived at the encampment to show their support. The power and strength of the resistance is beautiful, they are already winning some major victories. As the saying goes, direct action gets the goods.

While the current encampment, or prayer camp as people are calling it, is getting a lot of attention right now, the resistance to this pipeline is not new. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribal government have been in the federal courts fighting against Energy Transfer since 2014. The pipeline was originally supposed to cross the Missouri river just north of of the capital of North Dakota, Bismark. According to a report on Indian Country Today, “The route was changed to cross north of Standing Rock instead because they weren’t willing to put largely white Bismarck’s drinking water at risk. Apparently it’s ok to put Native people’s water at risk though.” Even as the peace camps continue to grow, over 4,000 people camping out, others are still fighting to secure victories in the courts and with the federal government. After the media highlighted the violent attacks by a private security force against Indigenous protestors, during which the security force sicced dogs on the people, the federal government released a statement requiring a review of the situation. While a review and an investigation is not a complete win, it shows that the resistance is working and the people are winning.

The peace camp resisting DAPL is the largest gathering of people Indigenous to North America in centuries. It is the first gathering of all seven bands of the Lakota people since the defeat of Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. As people build the protest encampment they are also offering meals to the thousands gathered, providing healthcare, and even running a school for children. Whenever people fight for their right to safe water, sovereignty, and the ability to live free from violence, we must align in that struggle. We are striving to create a world where we do not keep people in cages. The United States government has created giant cages out of the reservations that Indigenous people have been relegated to. As abolitionists, we must be willing to connect our struggle with this one. We build our movements together knowing that once there were no prisons, that day day will come again.

In loving solidarity,

Jason

Open Letter of Solidarity with Standing Rock and Everyone Resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline

9.14.16

Today, on this global day of action against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Black & Pink Chicago shares this letter of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all people in the struggle to save our water. Water is life. Our work towards abolition requires us to ensure that all people have their basic needs met: housing, food, air, water. The Dakota Access Pipeline stands in the way of our vision of a world without police and prisons, a world that values life over profit.

Time and again, we have seen that prisoners are often the last to get access to clean water under disaster capitalism. We saw it after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy and so many other “natural” disasters. We saw it in Illinois a couple months ago after Gov. Rauner’s refusal to pass a budget in Illinois left some counties with exorbitant water bills and threatening to cut water off to thousands of people locked in state prisons. This pipeline is a threat to hundreds of our Black & Pink family, thousands of other incarcerated people, and millions of non-incarcerated people in its path.

In addition to the environmental destruction this pipeline will create, we abhor the militarized violence that water protectors have faced while resisting its construction. In North Dakota, security guards working for the pipeline company have attacked indigenous water protectors with dogs and pepper spray. We must resist the ongoing genocide of native peoples through toxic polluting and theft of sacred lands, as well as the brutalization and incarceration of those who resist. May enough of us be enraged and moved to action by this to stop state and corporate violence, to stop this pipeline, and to disarm the police.

No to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Not at Sacred Stone. Not in Illinois. Not anywhere.

#WaterIsLife
#NoDAPL
#FreeLeonardPeltier
#AbolitionNow

JOB POSTING – Black and Pink National Office Manager Job Description

Job Announcement! Job Announcement! Job Announcement! Job Announcement!

Black and Pink National Office Manager Job Description

Summary:

The role of the Black and Pink National Office Manager is to ensure an orderly and efficient office to enable the extensive work of the organization. This individual maintains healthy office systems, at both office locations (The City School, 614 Columbia Rd. Dorchester and Encuentro 5, 9a Hamilton Pl. Downtown Boston) that facilitate timely communication between prisoner members, “free world” volunteers, working groups, the leadership circle, and the National Director. The individual helps to create a culture of prioritizing needs of those directly affected by the prison industrial complex.

Hours/Compensation:

This is a half time position, 20 hours per week (which hours and days are flexible based on the needs of the individual, though Sundays from 3-6pm are required). This is a salaried position, $20,000 year, paid on the 15th and last day of the month. There are 4 weeks of paid vacation yearly, and comp time is accrued if working over 20 hours in a week (though working over 20 hours in a week is strongly discouraged). The individual is welcome to be a volunteer with Black and Pink, though the volunteer aspects are separate from staff time (this tension can be discussed in supervision with the National Director). Black and Pink does not provide staff with health insurance at this time, though will pay any monthly/yearly premiums for healthcare obtained through Mass Health (the state funded healthcare in Massachusetts). Black and Pink will also pay a $60/monthly Massage Envy membership or up to $60 for a gym membership, or some other self care practice.

Qualifications:

The ideal candidate for the job will have computer skills including an ability to learn our data system, utilize gmail, navigate Microsoft word, and other assorted computer tasks. The candidate should also be familiar with social media as some of our leaders primarily communicate via facebook. The candidate should also be able to communicate effectively with currently and formerly incarcerated people with compassion. While the candidate does not have to align with all of 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.

Tasks:

  • Sort prisoner mail
  • Respond to requests for addresses of prisoners for community group events
  • Coordinate meeting times and reminders of meetings for national working groups, national leadership circle, national transition team
  • Update Black and Pink events/workshops/presentations on Facebook, google calendar, and website
  • Communicate with Newspaper Editor about ensuring timeliness of the newspaper schedule
  • Send immediate thank you notes to new donors
  • Update “free world” database in zoho with newspaper subscribers and donors
  • Help ensure clean organization of the office space
  • Mail reports and other requested materials to organizations and individuals seeking more information about Black and Pink
  • Ensure mail and newspaper submissions are available for volunteer drop-ins that happen across Boston
  • Respond to emails that go to members@blackandpink.org and office@blackandpink.org
  • Communicate with the National Director about other necessary tasks

To Apply:

Please send resume and a letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the job to jason@blackandpink.org by September 23rd. This job is only available to formerly incarcerated people (those who have done at least one month in a jail or prison). Hiring preference is given to people who are part of communities directly targeted by the prison industrial complex.

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