‘Stonewall is NOW!’ — One week after attacks on LGBTQ, Sex Workers demand action for our safety!
On 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Community Activists plan to hold a rally in Support of Sex Work Decriminalization. (B23–0318)
(Washington, D.C.) On June 28, 2019 at 5:00pm, 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, commonly known as the birthplace of the fight for LGBTQ Equality; the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition (also known as DecrimNow) will be holding a rally in support of sex work decriminalization and B23–0318, the “Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019,” co-introduced by Councilmembers David Grosso (I-At Large), Robert White (D-At Large), Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), and Anita Bonds (D-At Large) and co-sponsored by Councilmember Allen (D-Ward 6).
What: Stonewall50 Rally + Action to DecrimNow (B23–0318)
Who: Sex workers, activists, community leaders and organizations with the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition
When: June 28, 2019 at 5:00pm
Where: Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC
The Stonewall Riots lasted for three days began on June 28th 1969, when Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera resisted police violence inside the Stonewall Inn. While it’s commonly known that Marsha & Sylvia along with others were members of the LGBTQ Community and themselves were Black and Brown Trans Women; what’s less regarded is that they were also sex workers who had to survive criminalization while ensuring their community members had housing.
“Today, 50 years later; Black and Brown Trans Women are under attack! Between recent local and national individual acts of violence against our community members to the repercussions of the Trump Administration and the impacts caused by the passage of FOSTA/SESTA” says Emmelia Talarico, Organizing Director at No Justice No Pride and one of the organizers for Friday’s rally. “WE NEED our local Elected Leaders to show up for us NOW when we need them most.”
“There is no queer liberation without centering trans women of color and sex workers. In a time where we are seeing violence and harassment against trans women in our city and country, we know the time is now to stop disproportionately criminalizing trans and queer people of color for surviving in DC. We work in the legacy of Stonewall to assert that there is no pride in jails. Sex workers need housing, not handcuffs!” says alicia sanchez gill, Interim Executive Director at Collective Action for Safe Spaces
Tamika Spellman, Advocacy Associate at HIPS said: “As a long term Sex Worker with over 35 years of eperience in the harms the system inflicts, it’s a necessary choice to be an active part of this movement to free my community from the opperson our government fosters. So it has been upon us, the voices of the people, to advocate for and demand concrete change, safety, and self determination. The Community Safety and Health Act of 2019 is a vital step in this battle.”
The DC Trans Needs Assessment showed 41% of Trans sex workers in DC felt sex work was their only option for income. 1 in 5 Sex workers in DC have been approached by police for asking for sex. Further research shows that over 80 percent of street-based sex workers experience violence in the course of their work. Criminal penalties have also made sex workers more vulnerable to violence and police abuse. By removing criminal penalties, this legislation will reduce the vulnerability of sex workers to exploitation and violence, promote public health by improving access to services, and help address human trafficking.
Join us as we call on Members of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety to hold a hearing for our new bill, B23–0318, the “Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019.”
The Sex Worker Advocates Coalition (SWAC) is a coalition of more than 20 local and national organizations and advocates working to improve the health, safety, and well-being of sex workers by removing the criminal penalties associated with sex work and increasing sex workers’ access to basic necessities like food and housing. Learn more about the coalition at http://www.hips.org/sex-worker-advocates-coalition-swac.html and the DecrimNow campaign at https://www.decrimnow.org/.