Learn more about the world of modern slavery: American Crime Season 3

American Crime Season 3 Watch Party Toolkit

As trafficking advocates we spend every day working toward a world without human trafficking.  The first two episodes of American Crime have been intense and pretty emotional. They also present a pretty realistic account of what trafficking looks like. We’ve been so excited to see trafficking themes drive the plot of a TV show on a major network like ABC. The show has characters preying on vulnerable migrants and drug addicted youth to traffic them on a family farm, as well as pimps and buyers of sex preying on young, vulnerable boys and girls. Our team can’t stop talking about the show, so we thought we’d record our “watch party” conversations to share with you all. We encourage you to have watch parties of your own and really learn about the trafficking happening in our own neighborhoods everyday. - Medium Our team is live-tweeting each episode at twitter.com/fempubworks. For a sample of the ways the tweets directly engage with thematic elements and contextualize the plot in the reality of human trafficking work, checkout this Storify from episode 1.
Every Tuesday we'll also release a blog post on Medium of our group-engagement and discussions around the themes each episode, hopefully they'll inspire and inform your discussions! See the post for Episodes 1 and 2! If you want to host your own watch-club parties, checkout the toolkit below for tips and resources!

The Team:

Rochelle: former SVU/trafficking prosecutor, current program Director working to disrupt human trafficking

Meghan: Advocate working to disrupt human trafficking with a background in education policy and trauma

Veronica: Data Analyst doing anti-human trafficking work with a federal government background

    American Crime Season 3 Watch Party Toolkit

Assessing the Safety of San Diego’s Comic Con International 2014

Cross-posted from GeeksForCONsent. It’s officially a week away from Comic-Con International 2015. After over a year of pressure for a more detailed policy, or any sort of promise for the convention to publicize or effectively enforce its harassment policy: SDCC has still not complied. Below is the gender-based safety audit conducted by GeeksForCONsent of the 2014 convention. Join us in demanding better from Comic-Con International!  

RELEASE: An Exhibition and Program Series on Gender Justice and Mass Incarceration

Leeway Foundation and Bread & Roses Community Fund present RELEASE: An Exhibition and Program Series on Gender Justice and Mass Incarceration

       On View February 26 – June 30, 2015        At the Leeway Foundation        1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832, Philadelphia, PA 19107        (Venue is wheelchair accessible) brr elewayRELEASE is an exhibition and program series that explores the intersection of gender justice and mass incarceration. RELEASE aims to provide shared spaces for women, transgender, and gender non-conforming survivors of the prison industrial complex, local artists, cultural producers, and activists to critically reflect and build power for change. The exhibit features No Selves to Defend, curated by Mariame Kaba and Rachel Caidor, and Lifers by Mary DeWitt (LTA '10, ACG '09, WOO '03, '00). Exhibit Hours: By appointment only. MondayFriday, 10:00am – 5:00pm. Please call to schedule a viewing.  About No Selves to Defend No Selves to Defend features the stories of women of color who have been criminalized for self-defense. The exhibition also addresses the campaigns and mobilizations that emerged to resist their criminalization and demand their freedom. About Lifers For almost 40 years, Mary DeWitt has painted portraits and recorded the stories of women sentenced to life without parole in Pennsylvania. The selected pieces shown in this exhibit tell their stories and expose the injustices they have suffered before and after their sentencing.

HollabackPHILLY Officially Transitions to Feminist Public Works. Join them!

Cross Posted from HollabackPHILLY. The members of the HollabackPHILLY team are separating from the main Hollaback! organization. We will continue to post street harassment stories at philly.ihollaback.org as it is a valuable story-sharing resource that contributes to the rich international network of activism, but all of our ongoing local and national activism will now take place through Feminist Public Works, an organization we launched in Spring 2014. Our decision to leave the Hollaback! organization was catalyzed by the recent release of the “10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman” video. We were just as surprised by the content of the video (which had serious representation issues) as everyone else. Some important details:
  • The main Hollaback! organization, based in New York City, released the video independently.
  • None of the 79+ international branches were involved in or aware of the project.
  • While we all share a brand, each local Hollaback! branch operates independently and receives no funding or significant operational support from the paid Hollaback! staff at the main branch in New York City.
Feminist efforts are not successful unless they simultaneously address other forms of structural and institutionalized prejudices, like racism, ableism, and classism, alongside gender. A movement must have this kind of thinking at its heart to successfully promote the kinds of nuanced conversations necessary to create change that is as expansive, varied, and complex as the people the movement represents. Despite the inspiration and growth we have enjoyed from our involvement with this international network of passionate activists, when our brand affiliations begin to call our intentions and integrity into question, and start to contradict our actions, we know we have a responsibility to act. When our concerns were raised with the Hollaback! leadership in New York, they were not addressed sufficiently enough for us to continue the affiliation. We choose to release a statement publicly distancing ourselves instead of transitioning more quietly because part of being intersectional feminists means we cannot leave all the hard work for others. As we regularly discuss in our workshops, calling out those closest to you is oftentimes the most difficult, but also the most important, stand you can take.  

The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden describes her role in Colombian sex trafficking sting

The Walking Dead's Laurie Holden describes her role in Colombian sex trafficking sting

Laurie Holden became famous playing the brave civil rights lawyer, Andrea, on the hit TV series The Walking Dead. But offscreen, the Canadian-raised actress recently took on the role of a lifetime. Earlier this year, she took part in an undercover operation that resulted in the rescue of 55 sex slaves in Colombia, some as young as 12. "I had a pretty good disguise — I had a wig and glasses," said Holden in an interview with CBC News. Her role in the sting was to keep the young girls distracted as armed authorities closed in on their traffickers.
Watch her interview here, describing the sting and how they busted the traffickers in Colombia.  

GeeksForCONsent (a project of Feminist Public Works) Takes on San Diego Comic Con International.

GeeksForCONsent (a project of Feminist Public Works) Takes on San Diego Comic Con International.

After receiving no response to multiple attempts to contact the conventions, our project, GeeksForCONsent petitioned San Diego Comic Con International this past spring asking for a more thorough and effective approach to the Convention's harassment issue at the July 2014 event. San Diego Comic Con did not respond to the petition, but in interviews stated that harassment was not a problem at the convention, and to put more energy into an anti-harassment effort would make it look like a bigger problem than it is. Their concern with bad press outweighed their consideration for the safety and enjoyment of the women and LGBTQ attendees of the convention. So, the team flew out to San Diego (thanks to generous crowdfunding for their comic book campaign to send them to the convention). While at the convention, GeeksForCONsent posted "COSPLAY =/= CONSENT" flyers throughout the convention and the events downtown but outside the convention hall. Staff tore the signs down and threatened to kick them out if they continued to post them. The next day, the team decided to post "official" anti-harassment posters, to show the convention how easy a solution would be to implement. cosplay posters sdcc sdcc policy poster Throughout the convention they also gave interviews to NBC, CBS, The LA Times, TMZ, and even the Associated Press. They transformed the conversation from a handful of geeks shouting about harassment at the convention, into hundreds of thousands of people across the globe talking about harassment at conventions. sdcc press montage   A few weeks later, New York Comic Con (another convention that had ignored GeeksForCONsent's emails seeking collaboration to improve their anti-harassment efforts) convened a panel to revamp their entire approach to harassment. And New York Comic Con's improvements to their anti-harassment policy is setting an incredibly example. The policy outlines unacceptable conduct in detail, provides clear mechanisms for reporting the harassment, and, via the addition to their convention app, allows for real time reporting for prompt response by convention staff at the location of the harassment. nycc sdcc

GeeksForCONsent (a project of Feminist Public Works) modifies the gender-based safety audit for use in convention spaces

GeeksForCONsent (a project of Feminist Public Works) modifies the gender-based safety audit for use in convention spaces

  GeeksForCONsent modified the United Nations best practice gender-based safety audits for more streamlined use and relevance in comic-convention settings. The United Nations recommended gender-based safety audit is a tool used by community groups and municipalities to audit public spaces for gender-based feelings of insecurity, incorporating objective observations of the spaces as well as subjective interviews of the people who interact with those spaces on a regular basis. The objective and subjective data is then compiled into an audit report and used to make recommendations for improved policy and suggestions for making the spaces feel safer. Safety audits incorporate desires of the people using the spaces, validating women and LGBTQ folks as experts of their own experiences, and minimizing the risk of new policies that could make the space feel less safe by incorporating subjective experiences into the decision-making calculus. GeeksForCONsent changed the questions to be relevant to convention spaces and updated the objective inquiries for relevance. The first test run of their modified audit style was used this past weekend at San Diego Comic Con International. The GeeksForCONsent team audited the convention hall, the convention policies, and the overall mechanisms for gender-based safety in the convention space. The audit report is expected to be published late 2014, including data collected at the convention and recommendations for improvements for San Diego's 2015 convention. If you're interested in auditing a convention near you, stay tuned in early 2015 for opportunities to use their streamlined model at your convention!

New bus shelter ad aims to undo VisitPhilly damage

Have you seen the new bus shelter at 16th and JFK? With a welcoming message, it lets visitors to Philly know that our city takes pride in its streets and that street harassing behaviors are not tolerated here. joined2   HollabackPHILLY, a project of Feminist Public Works, designed this ad in response to a large billboard that GPTMC, Philadelphia’s tourist marketing company, ran as part of its VisitPhilly campaign in 2012. That summer, HollabackPHILLY protested the placement of GPTMC’s enormous street-harassing billboard on the side of a parking garage in a prominent location in Center City. The billboard (pictured above), said “Dear Walking This Way: I like the way you move it move it. With Love, Philadelphia XOXO.” GPTMC justified this ad by saying that is is a play on a lyric from the song “” from Madagascar 2. HollabackPHILLY, however, pointed out that there is a significant difference between “I like to move it move it” (a person having fun dancing) and “I like the way you move it move it” (unwanted commentary on passersby). It also quickly became obvious that this was not GPTMC’s first ad to “accidentally” promote street harassing behaviors. Check out this example from 2010: DearFellas GPTMC refused to remove the “Walking This Way” billboard, stating that it was set to come down soon, but they did agree to meet with HollabackPHILLY to discuss the issue. The meeting resulted in an offer by GPTMC to work with HollabackPHILLY on the design and placement of a welcoming ad. However, despite multiple attempts by the HollabackPHILLY team to contact GPTMC following this meeting, they were unresponsive. Disappointed but unfazed, the HollabackPHILLY team decided to incorporate a new spin on GPTMC’s offensive “Dear Walking This Way” ad into its April 2014 anti-street harassment ad campaign. The new ad (which had previously been proposed to GPTMC) reads: “Dear Walking This Way: Welcome to the city of brotherly love (and sisterly affection). Our streets are your streets. With love (and respect), Philadelphia XOXO. PS: #ENDSH.” This new ad was specifically designed to show - despite past mistakes by our city’s tourism marketing company - that Philadelphia is proud to be making steps in the right direction to make sure that all people walking its streets feel safe and comfortable. HollabackPHILLY welcomes your thoughts on this ad, and its entire 2014 campaign.