One of our organizers spoke at #SlutWalkChi about Alisha’s case and the need to center sex working people in anti-victim blaming, anti-slut shaming movements.
During this event, one of our comrades was assaulted and arrested by the CPD, here’s a fundraiser supporting them: https://fundrazr.com/51GvGe
You can also preorder a sticker in support of Lee here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/538648986/preorder-free-lee-sticker
SlutWalk Chicago 2017 Transcript
I’m going to ask y’all to do me a favor. Oh, you’re beautiful. You’re such beautiful, beautiful people out here. Thank you for standing in the sun. Standing for resistance. Thank you for being here at SlutWalk Chicago. Can y’all do me a favor? Can we take a couple steps back? Can we take up more space? That’s what we’re doing today. We are taking up our space in our city. Okay? That’s what we’re doing. That’s what SlutWalk always does.
And if you feel so moved, you can link arms with the people next to you. You can create a strong presence. You can stand shoulder to shoulder. And make sure that if something is making you uncomfortable, that you let an organizer know. I’ve had to do that. I’ve had to check in with the organizers so far today. But if something’s making you uncomfortable, let someone know. Stand together. Create a strong presence. And if anyone starts shouting at you, turn your back to them, and recenter, refocus, and shout louder for the people who are up here taking a stand against rape culture.
Like one of organizers said, my name’s red. I work with Support Ho(s)e Chicago. Yeah! Oh, some of y’all know us. Hey, I’m also a queer non-binary fem, a sex worker, and a student here in Chicago. Oh, yes. Thank you. I primarily organize with the small collective that seeks to build radical community for sex workers and our accomplices right here in the city, and actively campaigns for the decriminalization of our sex working labor.
Now, central to our organizing is our demand for the immediate release of our fellow sex worker and fellow collective member, Alisha Walker. How many of y’all know about Alisha Walker? We want her free from Decatur Correctional. She’s being punished for defending herself against a violent client. She’s being punished for surviving. Alisha is a fierce and beautiful person whose only crime against this racist, sexist society is being a black queer woman and a sex worker. Alisha is being made an example of by the courts and by the state of Illinois.
When they sentenced her to 15 years for defending herself, they effectively said that her life didn’t matter as much as the well-connected white man who attacked her. She’s dealing with harassment and further arbitrary punishment right now in Decatur Correctional Center, all because she refused to be disposable. Because she fought for her life. Just this morning, we learned that [Lele 00:02:58] has been degraded. How many of y’all have loved ones who are locked up? Y’all have loved ones who are locked up? Me too. Me too.
Now, y’all know what degraded is. But for y’all who don’t have folks on the inside, this means she has no access to gym or yard, which means she can’t see sunlight. It means she could only make two phone calls over the next 30 days, and she can no longer electronically write to friends and family, and her commissary spending has been reduced to $1 a day. That means she has to choose between snacks that are edible, soap, or stamps. That’s what that means.
The reason for this new punishment? Because they had put her in segregation for five days after she named her harassers and a phone call to her mother. So, after punishing her, putting her in segregation, they were punishing her again with degrading. We demand this punishment cease immediately. Access to commissary and correspondence with loved ones is essential to people’s mental health and survival while inside. Her incarceration is another manifestation of rape culture, racism, and whorephobia. Rape culture, misogyny, and whorephobia coupled with the criminalization of sex work, create a toxic stigma-fueled society that breeds violence and aggression toward women, femmes, and gender nonconforming folks.
This directly contributes to slut shaming and victim blaming. That is why it is so essential to lift up and send her sex working people’s voices, and anti-gender based violence movements like SlutWalk. Y’all, we’re not going to get free until sex workers are free. Free from targeted police attacks, free from criminalization, and free from client violence. Like so many of the speakers who have gotten up here before me and said this, “This toxic society must be shot down.” This rape culture has got to be shut down. This bigoted, misogynistic society that is hell bent on perpetuating violence, like some of the people who are gathered here today are, must be shut down.
Resistance. Resistance. We’ve heard that word a lot in the wake of Trump, right? We’ve heard the word resistance a lot. But that means putting our bodies on the line when trans folks, folks of color, prisoners, and sex workers need us to. The way that they’ve been putting their bodies on the line for decades at the forefront of justice movements. We need to support women like Alisha Walker. Will you say that with me? We need to support women like Alisha Walker? Will you say with me, we need to support women like Gigi Thomas? We need to support women like Gigi Thomas! We need to demand that they be free, and demand an end to the incarceration of survivors and sex workers.
Free Lele! Free Gigi! Free Lele! Free Gigi! We need to work, support, love, and demand justice for all hoes now. [inaudible 00:06:30] Don’t you let anyone tell you why you’re out here. You know why you’re out here. You’re standing on the right side of [first 00:06:40] street. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for centering and lifting up sex workers.