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Whose Corner Is It, Anyway?

$31,897 of $33,300 goal

Raised by 578 people in 13 months
Whose Corner Is It Anyway is a Western MA harm reduction task force led by injection-drug-using low-income and survival sex workers who are mostly street-based, many of whom are houseless or living in unstable housing .  We low-income sex workers have created a weekly community and organizing meeting for ourselves--a haven. At each weekly meeting we provide a high-calorie meal/snacks and cigarettes for each other, as well as access to a bad date list, needle exchange and other harm reduction materials such as Narcan and fentanyl test strips, childcare, transportation, and often, toiletry and clothing donations.  At the larger meetings every two weeks, we hold trainings led by local and national organizing and social service experts on  harm reduction topics that are relevant to us as a community, such as a Know Your Rights training from SWOP Behind Bars, a session on navigating the housing and shelter system with YWCA staff,  as well as PEP (post exposure prophylaxis from HIV) and PrEP (pre-exposure prohylaxis from HIV) info and access informational session with Tapestry Health workers. Some trainings we have in the works are ones on stimulant harm reduction, disability rights, and unlearning transmisogyny. We've also incubated many nascent campaigns we're working on in the long term, such as creating a sensitivity training for best practices for treating opioid-using sex workers for local hospitals and our participation in #ReframeTheBlame, a feminist-led national drug users' rights campaign in  which drug users are signing symbolic Do Not Prosecute orders in the event of their deaths from overdose to protest drug-induced homicide laws. 

The focus of the project is on the needs and goals of drug-using Western Mass street workers. Street workers take the brunt of the criminalization and stigma of sex work and so they deserve to be the ones calling the shots on how to fight back. The problem is that in order for street worker activists to lead projects like this one, they need to have the resources to do so. Time spent meeting and organizing is time away from survival work, which is often a financial loss low-income street workers can’t afford. The gift cards provided by some non-profits as a response to this problem do not meet the needs of their recipients. They also demonstrate how non-profits and social services often infantilize poor people and drug users, not trusting them to make the best choices for themselves with their own money.

That’s why we've been raising cold hard cash for a task force meeting every week, to provide a $25 stipend for 20 street workers or other low-income sex workers to attend, as well as $15 on the off weeks for attendance at the agenda-setting premeetings. Their work and leadership are valuable and deserve to be compensated. The street workers of this region constantly suffer from assaults, arrests, and police harassment. A $15-$25 stipend every week is the least we can give them as a community to support their struggle against this marginalization.

However, the scale of our project has been growing at an astounding rate, and we are now seeing 36-46 sex workers attend every weekly meeting when we started off seeing  8-20 people at each!  We've recently had to cut stipends for the first time in a year by $5 for two meetings. We want to continue to offer every drug-using survival sex worker who needs one a place at our table. We aim to keep offering a stipend close to living wage and will not hold meetings in which we have to offer one below minimum wage.  The organizing efforts of low-income injection-drug using workers are unique and invaluable in a sex workers' rights movement where privileged sex workers are over-represented and a harm reduction and drug users' union movement in which women and sex workers have often taken a back seat. We hope that you can help us broaden our fundraising efforts to keep up with the amazing recruitment efforts of our membership and the obvious, desperate need for our task force's work in our area.
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Down to needing $360 (short stipends)-$620 (full stipends) for the weekend/by Thurs for Whose Corner Is It Anyway, Western MA's harm reduction task force by& for low-income/street/survival sex workers who inject drugs, for our upcoming meeting on navigating public housing. The news about Cyntoia Brown's absurd, punitive sentencing for the crime of being a trafficking survivor got me thinking about how in a world with no justice for low-income sex workers or trafficking survivors,we're forced to create justice and community for ourselves. WCIIA is one such weekly pocket of community for low-income, street-based, and survival sex workers who inject drugs, where we can cook for each other, organize together, swap clothing & necessities, get needle exchange supplies, and get childcare for our kids. Even as our criminalization intensifies in this city, we're writing grants to invite community members to join us in transformative justice processes so can live together on these streets instead of having them push us to the fringes and incarcerate us. We create our own justice where justice systems fail us--on a weekly basis, we even talk through intercommunity problems in our meetings as well. We plan trainings for our meetings to learn what we as a community are interested in knowing rather than what social service agencies, the treatment industry, and the prison industrial complex think we need drummed into our heads-----again,some upcoming trainings and potential trainings: street wound care, stimulant harm reduction, a presentation on sex working w/ disabilities, a local activist presenting on court support that they offer, a presentation on diversion program research, a presentation on getting a bank account & dealing with old debt, one on unlearning transmisogyny, etc. etc. etc. We've created and regularly update a local bad date list which we've made easily accessible from local street sex work markets all through the week. Through your incredibly consistent support through this weekly crowdfunding campaign, we are creating functional community where there is none for us--as drug-using sex workers, as pariahs. Your support affords us the ability to build our own community and forge our own path when there's nothing else out there for us---certainly nothing which we direct ourselves. So, by now you know this song--please give if you can or share this fundraiser along with fulsome praise for us in non-local networks free of sex work/drug prohibitionist assholes if you can't!
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It's the weekend again, so Whose Corner Is It Anyway, Western MA's #harmreduction task force by and for street-based/low-income/survival #sexworkers who inject drugs, is seeking funds for our next meeting--$1330 for full stipends and $1090 for short stipends. We did that presentation on needle gauges and harm reduction when injecting outside in the winter last week, and get through a lot of housekeeping, but we're actually going to be doing our navigating the public housing system presentation w/YWCA staff this week. New England Users Union exec. dir. /hrh413 co-founder Jess Tilley did a thorough job schooling us on which needle gauge/barrel size went w/what kind of vein-we learned a lot about bevels & things like how to correct a common prob w/many 28 full cc syringes (the way they always pull back a little on many companies' version of the 28 full?) Most importantly, she pointed out that many women/non-men learn how to inject first from male partners/other men, in a way that doesn't work well w/AFAB ppl's or people who are on estrogen's veins, damaging them--she taught us a lot about how to inject when one has more fatty tissue. As I wrote earlier,we just need to get through next week & this public housing presentation-the week after that our financial needs will be offset somewhat by a SWOP-USA mini-grant for our International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers in-house event. We have a lot of planning to do at this meeting as well! Opportunities have come up for a wound care presentation in the future, as well as a local anti-criminalization activist coming in to offer court support. Plus, we're eagerly anticipating our stimulant harm reduction presentation with Reframe Health and Justice phenom Magali Lerman in the beginning of Jan. In the meantime, as usual, we just hope you can get us through this week, and are, as per usual, eternally grateful for all the love and material support you've showered on an org of injection-drug-using low-income #sexworkers! You know the drill--at each meeting we provide needle exchange/narcan/fent test strips, a high-calorie meal/snacks, access to the bad date list, clothing/toiletries, cigs, transport, and childcare by low-income drug-injecting sworkers for us--plus stipends for our invaluable organizing. And, as always, please give if you can and share us along with superlative praise for our work with non-local networks free of drug/sex work prohibitionist assholes if you can't!
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We're down to needing $916 more by Tues for full stipends/$660 for short stipends for our next meeting on navigating public housing at Whose Corner Is It Anyway, Western MA's harm reduction task force by and for low-income/street-based/survival sex workers who inject drugs. We have so much in the works right now--a volunteer from a local anti-criminalization org will be coming to talk to us about the services they can offer doing court support, and we've scheduled a brainstorming session on grants and fundraising with membership. We have our upcoming in-house memorial event for International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th, plus a presentation this winter on diversion program research by renowned sex worker activist Cyd Nova. We also have a session planned on how to obtain a bank account and/or how to deal with a lot of old debt with local financial professionals. Many of our members are unbanked and/or without any documentation, and the mundane hassles this problem adds to living houseless or in insecure housing are considerable. Just the other night, for example, a recently houseless member activist couldn't find a local motel which would allow her to check in because she had no ID or credit card, though she had more than enough cash for her stay. Hopefully, Whose Corner Is It Anyway members can start chipping away at some of these issues with this banking presentation. As always, we're blown away weekly by the generosity of your donations. We were honored recently to be included in Femminary 's list of grassroots harm reduction causes to give to for the holidays ( http://goo.gl/L1onH8 ), along w/such luminaries as Tino Fuentes, St James Infirmary, and the Church of Safe Injection. We just hope you can help us meet our number this week for this vital meeting on housing and harm reduction for injecting outside in the winter. In the meantime, I'd love any guidance on a free monthly crowdfunding platform which allows for recurring donations which we could use as a supplement to GoFundMe, which nixed its monthly giving option. (Fundly/Stripe is kicking my ass.) In general, I'd love to hear any suggestions for how to expand my fundraising from donors and supporters. Our fundraising model of spamming harm reduction and sex worker twitter & FB (and prison abolition FB) has been improbably effective, but I'm aware it's a LOT, and at this point with 35-45 members attending every meeting, our needs may be growing beyond that. How would you suggest expanding fundraising for such a controversial cause for vulnerable ppl while still keeping us safe? As always, we're too fucking grateful for words for what you've allowed us to create for over a year, relying solely on your crowdfunding donations. You know the drill: please, please give if you can and/or share us along with fulsome words of praise to networks non-local to us & free of drug and sex work prohibitionist assholes.
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Whose Corner Is It Anyway, Western MA's harm reduction task force led by low-income/street-based/survival sex workers who inject drugs, is raising funds this weekend for a vital upcoming meeting on navigating the public housing system--$1300 for full stipends and $1050 for short stipends. This meeting will be a doubledecker of presentations, both pivotal as we move into winter for our houseless and insecurely housed members. The first, as I've mentioned, is a presentation on securing housing by Western Mass YWCA staff in a variety of situations, whether you're pregnant or in a domestically abusive relationship or in a number of other vulnerable positions. The second is a presentation by New England Users Union Executive Director Jess Tilley on how to practice harm reduction in choosing needle gauges while injecting drugs. Injecting in winter outside exacerbates drug-related harm--your veins are cold, and it takes longer and creates more abrasions, increasing the risk of severe infection, esp if you're using the wrong needle for that particular type of vein. Additionally, this week as the cold weather starts in earnest, we’ve had a few members contact us personally asking for an uber to get to either detox or a place to sleep for the evening. Detox beds become available on very short notice, and informally arranged housing situations also often shift quickly. We know when we get these calls that failing to send a car could mean one of our members sleeps outside that evening, and that doing so in this weather puts their lives at risk. We send the car from our personal accts. Bc the two of us doing admin for this project are also low income workers, it’s not sustainable for us to continue to personally pay for these rides from our own pockets. At our next meeting, we'll discuss a plan with our members to set aside money to be available for cold weather emergency transportation. Anticipating that conversation, we'd like to raise $50 this week to seed an emergency transport fund for people needing evening rides to detox or to respond to a housing emergency. We were bowled over by all the new donors who responded to our ask last week leading up to Giving Tuesday, and we hope you can help us this week as WCIIA galvanizes to make sure all our members survive the winter. I'm also going to get us a monthly pledge platform--I'll announce that this weekend, hopefully! As usual, as at all our weekly meetings, needle exchange and other harm reduction supplies, a high-calorie meal, access to our bad date list, cigarettes, clothing/toiletries, childcare, and transportation are provided by low-income sex workers for low-income sex workers. And most importantly, at each meeting members are stipended to compensate them for the time they spend organizing, so that they can afford to take time away from survival sex work to participate in these community meetings in the first place. Please give if you can and share us with non-local networks free of drug and sex work prohibitionist assholes if you can't!
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$31,897 of $33,300 goal

Raised by 578 people in 13 months
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