People asked us for the piece that Red shared this evening for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, below is their introductory statement and Alisha’s poem.
Tonight I’m reading a poem written by my friend and comrade Alisha Walker. Alisha is a self-described queer, mixed, Black woman and unapologetic whore. She is a member of the Support Ho(s)e collective, a poet and an artist. Alisha is also a criminalized survivor, currently incarcerated at Decatur Correctional. LeLe was sentenced to 15 years in state prison because she fought back against a violent client, Alan Filan, who was demanding unprotected sex and threatening her and her friend with a knife. Alisha saved her life and the life of her fellow worker that night. When Judge Obbish sentenced Alisha to 15 years he ostensibly said that she should have died that night when Filan attacked her. He ostensibly said that her life didn’t matter as much as that well-connected white man’s. Alisha’s survival and subsequent punishment underscores the racist and whorephobic violence of the police, courts and prisons. When Alisha called me a few days ago, she was adamant on me also sharing with y’all the violence of erasure that prisons perpetuate. She excitedly yelled into the phone, “tell them to remember all the hos in county and in the prisons! Remember us!” She wanted me to me also share that as it’s so important to come together to mourn and grieve our lost, it’s equally important to organize and fight to end the everyday violence sex workers face at the hands of the police, the courts, the prisons, the jails, the detention centers. She sends her love, rage and support to all y’all tonight.
Here are Alisha’s words:
I wrote this poem called “Battle” in honor of December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. It’s gonna take all of us to fight this hatred of us, and we need you to fight alongside us now. If you support sex workers rights you are supporting all other kinds of rights too–because it’s the most diverse and marginalized profession out there. Show up for us.
How did I get here? What wrong did I do?
Defending myself? I guess was the wrong thing to do.
They said I should have laid down, that I should have gave up and quit.
Should have been a compliant little whore. Gave into a trick.
That I have no right to say no, I don’t deserve to choose “She’s nothing, she’s useless, what’s she going to do?”
My escorts, workers, my family, you feel my pain, as I do you.
They have a plan: “take away our little security,”
Kill us off, decrease our numbers, divide and conquer
But they forget, we are mothers, daughters, partners, and friends. We have our own army. We will never end! We’re survivors!
When you knock us down, it makes our skin tougher See….
We are a different breed
They fucking envy us! So they try to make us bleed.
We’ve lost so many in this war.
Just to name a few…
So listen up!
We as a community have shit to do. Stand! In solidarity!
Because this is a fight for our lives, WE WILL NOT LOSE!
(art by SWARM comrades)