Hi again, and happy spring! We’ve had a busy and productive few months over here at St. James, and the summer is only going to bring even more excitement.
First, we just kicked off our first round of self-defense classes here in the clinic! They will be taking place every Tuesday night from 5:30-7pm in the Audre Lorde room at 730 Polk, 4th floor. We’re still raising money to be able to fund future cohorts, so please go donate if you can!
In addition to the on-site services we offer, several of our staff were able to represent St. James at national conferences last month. I was fortunate enough to speak on a panel at the US’s pre-eminent anti-trafficking conference, put on by the Freedom Network, about the importance of collaborating with sex workers to put an end to human trafficking rather than treating them as collateral damage in a zero-sum game. In Atlanta, Cary Escovedo and Juba Kalamka of our HIV Services team helped ensure that issues relevant to sex workers, trans people and people of color to the CDC’s annual HIV Conference were kept at the forefront of every conversation.
Thanks to some diligent work by our Community Engagement Coordinator Raul Hernandez, the Bad Date List will re-launch on May 1st. This important tool helps our community keep itself safer by allowing sex workers who experience violence, harassment, or other forms of abuse to share information with other workers so these people can be more easily avoided. If you have information you’d like to submit, you can do so here.
Our outreach team, led by the fearless Celestina Pearl, has recently expanded efforts to get back into the strip clubs, which had been on hiatus for several years as we focused on getting the van up and running. Especially given the difficulties so many dancers in California have faced recently, we want to make sure that these amazing folks know that they are loved and supported! We are also gearing up for some exciting collaborations with our new sister organization, Oakland’s SWISH, (Sex Worker Integrated Support and Health) to ensure that safety information and harm reduction supplies get into the hands of those who need them most.
We are currently in the process of reviewing and revising all of our programs, to ensure that our efforts are meeting the needs of our communities. This is a long-term and ongoing effort, but we know that there are a number of opportunities for growth. We can’t do it without you, so I hope you’ll support our continued evolution by donating your money, time, or skills to our important work. Thank you for standing up for sex workers and the people who love them. We are always honored to have your support.
Pike Long, MPH