Three months of fury.
A report back from the last three months just some of what No Justice No Pride has been up to this summer.
The NJNP Crew has been on the go since May and wanted to take a moment to breath, ground and give y’all a report back from our last three months!
This past May was a whirlwind as we spent the first two weeks preparing for our first ever Actioncamp. It was not without it’s challenges:
- we were under budgeted by nearly $8,000
- Earlier on we faced difficulties securing venues and had to take on additional costs.
- some venues weren’t fully prepared for us which added to delays and frustrations, one night in particular at our screening of Happy Birthday Marsha; for which we truly apologize for!
- We experienced difficulties with our bank account that continued late into June.
We were committed to this happening so we pressed to continue on. We had dance classes and modeling sessions, moments of joy and moments of healing. We made banners, and practiced street theater, we learned our about our political histories and our personal ones too.
We know for a lot of folks who can benefit the most from these events often aren’t able to attend due to travel costs, admission fees and the fact that often many working class, black and brown trans and queer people are more focus on spending that time obtaining resources for theirs and their loved ones day to day needs. While still under budget fortunately we still were able to fundraise enough funds to provide stipends to 13 TPoC participants and facilitators including 8 Black Trans Sex Workers.
We thrusted into the month of June with a banner drop and climb action in support of sex work decriminalization one day before a new bill to do that very thing was introduced into DC City Council.
Later that week NJNP took action again, this time at the DC Dyke March whose theme was ‘Dykes Against Displacement’, which raised funds for NJNP and other community groups fighting displacement and finally we ended the weekend with Ball 50. Ball50 is a ball that is inspired by the struggles and accomplishments of our fellow trans and queer brothers, sisters and siblings who fought for the right to party as who they are and not as who society wants them to be.
As we continued to move through June, the affects of our bank account troubles were really being felt. The funds that we had direct access to was used on NJNP Collective costs for June as well as the actions and the Ball. We were so incredibly grateful for all of those who fundraised and supported us throughout pride month; the problem was that we couldn’t access any of it during that time. With several loved ones in our circles struggling and a tick of complaints and harassment from neighbors along with all of these stresses, the NJNP Collective Members were really feeling the pressure as we moved closer to July.
On the 19th on the same day a collective member was released from the hospital for a crisis, a group of people were threatening members of the collective outside of our home, misgendering and calling them slurs and threatening to take their lives. With the murders of two Black Trans Women from the community in the past few months, tensions and emotions were already running high. Hours later after one of NJNP Lead Organizers was attacked down the street and followed home. The attacker threw a rock at our house and made hand signals like he was loading a gun.
This followed other local attacks on Trans and Queer community members and unfortunately was not the end to collective members stress. Days following the attacks we learned that not only has the DCRA opened an investigation into the collective but that neighbors also had the health department coming after us as well over petty trash issues. As hard as we know it would be to relive another traumatic housing search like the one we did last summer, that our current situation isn’t working and decided our best option was to pursue a safer housing situation.
We just were not getting a break! Yet when invited to speak of our experiences at Vigil Against The Violence, we did not join others in calls for greater criminalization. We did not join others demands for more money from a corrupt local government while ignoring the larger public housing crisis’s and lack of material support in DC’s Black and Brown Communities.
We instead demanded those with most power in the LGBT Community to hold our elected leaders accountable. To fight for sex work decriminalization. And to truly, not just performatively; support those in our community most impacted by hate & violence.
The following week on June 28th, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots; It was giving City Council Realness as we took our fight directly to the Wilson Building for Stonewall50 Rally + Action to DecrimNow.
It was 3:30PM on a Hot Friday when we pulled up to the NJNP Collective in a Pickup truck lent to us by a community friend. One by one, members of the collective came rushing out to see how we was getting to the Rally. With the truck loaded we was ready and filled with excitement. Upon arriving we were overwhelmed with the support we had for the 4PM pre-rally Action. We had spent the month prior doing outreach to community groups and organizations to sign on to our DecrimNow Organization sign on letter and was ready to deliver it to members of City Council. In particular, we were planning to visit members of the Judiciary and Safety Committee but decided to also stop by Council Chair Mendelson who has been a staunch opponent of sex work decriminalization.
Chair Mendelson met with us the longest as we pleaded our fight. He pivoted consistently, blaming Trump for the attacks; when we suggested that it is the City’s responsibility to protect and fight for their most marginalized despite who is in the White House he rebuffed ‘The City Government is not homophobic’ proceeding to shift the burden onto D.C. Constituents and demanded where our outrage was for Bowser. (We have been a loud critic of Mayor Bowser’s policies.)
Edger to make it to other Council Members Offices before the left for the evening, we waited until he suggested he wasn’t passing the buck to continue on to the rest of our office visits.
The Rally pressed on with a blast. We heard from so many Black Trans Women about their lived experiences engaging in Sex Work, as well as performances from NJNP and HIPS members. The Evening was nothing but love.
As of July after experiencing bank account issues we finally were able to open a new commercial account just in time to pay for July’s housing costs. We were so grateful to all that our community had raised for us during the month of June which created a silver lining to everything else that we faced, the bills were paiddddd.
July has continued on not without its crisis’s but we certainly have been focusing on recovering from all the trauma occurred over the past year. Taking a minute to breath, to catch up, to sleep, to eat and become regrounded and refocused. The past two weeks we have been alot more active. Reengaging with community, building and preparing for the inevitable housing search and move.
Last week, we started our week recharging with the Sex Workers Advocates Coalition Retreat, and later in the week met with staff members from Council Member Gray (D W7) office and Congress Woman Elenor Holmes (D DC) Office to talk about our sex work decrim bill.
We have so many ideas and projects in the works that we will be promoting and seeking involvement and support on after September 1st — for example a second phase of our storytelling project with more organizing trainings, Decrim Pressers and Actions, Direct Action Camps, just to name a few — but for the remainder of the summer NJNP is focusing on raising the funds we need to move as well of searching for a new house that meets our needs without it being to costly. We need the help of our community to make this happen.
Aside from helping us meet our goals of raising $12,000 $9,867 by September, we need help locating ideal homes to rent, we need co-signers to help our collective members meet income requirements and we need help filling out so many applications. If you are interested in this, please stay on the look out later this week when we will be posting a way for people to plug in. For now you can check out www.njnp.house for ways to support and our social media accounts for updates.
The NJNP Collective has been a vital resource to DC’s Trans and Activist Community and currently has nine long term trans tenants, many of whom lack access to stable employment and need our help in order to remain in the district near vital resources and work. No Justice No Pride (NJNP) additionally provides temporary housing, and sometimes in rapid response situations; for 5 to 20 young trans and queer people lacking stable housing a night at the collective or throughout our local network.
No Justice No Pride (NJNP), a collective of organizers and activists from across the District of Columbia; We exist to fight for trans justice and to end the LGBT “equality” movement’s complicity with systems of oppression that further marginalize Trans and Queer individuals.