Category Archives: Purple Rose Campaign

 AF3IRM and Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Sisters Rise up for Justice! OPBSI Raise $10K for AF3IRM at 5th Annual Ray of Hope Walk, Partner for Purple Rose Day

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Anayeli Gomez, Director of Philanthropy 2017, Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
[email protected]
Barbra Ramos, National Communications Director, AF3IRM
[email protected]

NEW YORK–On this Valentine’s Day 2017, Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated is excited to announce $10,000 was raised for our beneficiary AF3IRM as part of our Ray of Hope Walk to End Violence Against Women (ROHW). We also partner today on the Purple Rose Day Campaign to share love and commitments among our sisters. Sisters around the country are rising up. Will you join us?

The Ray of Hope Walk took place on October 8th 2016 in Berkeley, California, Chicago, Illinois and New York City, New York. Across three cities, more than 800 sisters, friends and families walked to stand up to end violence against women. The walks featured performers such as Nitty Scott MC, motivational speakers, poets and resource tabling from various women’s rights organizations as well as voter registration and #FreeBresha letter writing. AF3IRM members participated at each walk, fighting alongside us as sisters.

We continue our efforts to rise up against violence by partnering up today on Purple Rose Day. AF3IRM has been hosting the Purple Rose Day campaign for more than 18 years to stand up “against the capitalist assault on women’s bodies… and speaking out against the trafficking and commodification of women and children’s bodies!” On Purple Rose Day, AF3IRM hosts educational workshops and discussions around the epidemic of human trafficking. For information on upcoming events and actions visit www.AF3IRM.org. Today, we are participating and sending purple rose commitments to our sisters. This movement for liberation requires action, and this is how we will continue showing up and supporting our sisters.

“We are beyond appreciative of the generous donation raised through the Ray of Hope Walk, which will go towards grassroots organizing efforts against trafficking, sexual violence and exploitation. In this era of neo-fascism, we in AF3IRM believe it is important now, more than ever, that we link arms to end violence against women in order to achieve genuine liberation. Our work with Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. goes beyond partnership and is a demonstration of true, horizontal comradeship rooted in revolutionary love. We are deeply humbled by OPBSI and encourage women to rise up with us in the exciting work to come!”  

– Ivy Quicho, AF3IRM National Chairperson

“Ray of Hope Walk is about building community, sharing resources, and empowering not just our fellow sisters, mothers, daughters but also our partners, brothers, fathers and friends. We were able to bring a ray of hope to three cities for the first time! I joined Omega Phi Beta, Sorority Incorporated to be part of a movement and I am proud of our sisterhood for hosting this initiative. In 2016, we proudly raised a significant sum for AF3IRM, a fierce organization who continues the work to end violence against women”

– Anayeli Gomez, Director of Philanthropy 2016

AF3IRM and Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. look forward to a second year of partnership for 2017. Our partnership will consist of supporting national campaigns, OPBSI sisters participating in AF3IRM’s school of activism workshops and AF3IRM participating at our convention and walks in 2017.  

Omega Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated is a Greek-lettered organization committed to spreading the Awareness of Violence Against Women. The mission of OPBSI is to serve and educate people of diverse backgrounds through sisterhood, leadership and guidance. As positive role models, we promote unity of all cultures, focus on the empowerment of our gender and raise the standards of excellence in our academic, social, and personal endeavors. OPBSI envisions a world without oppression, where empowered women celebrate the essence of womanhood and act as resources in the advancement of their communities. For more information visit: www.OmegaPhiBeta.org     

AF3IRM is a national organization of women engaged in transnational feminist, anti-imperialist activism and dedicated to the fight against oppression in all its forms.  AF3IRM’s diverse, multi-ethnic membership is committed to militant movement-building from the United States and effects change through grassroots organizing, trans-ethnic alliance building, education, advocacy and direct action. With the slogan “a woman’s place is at the head of the struggle,” AF3IRM is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization whose members recognize the intersectionality of their struggles and the absolute necessity of women’s revolutionary resistance. AF3IRM has chapters around the country. These include: Boston, Central Coast, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, D.C./Maryland/Virginia, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, and South Bay – Los Angeles.  Organizing committees are also actively building new chapters in other areas. For more information visit: www.AF3IRM.org

 

AF3IRM Condemns Oakland’s Predatory Police, Demands Accountability and the Resignation of Pimp-Protector Libby Schaaf!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts
Daniella Navarrete, AF3IRM SF Bay Area Chapter Coordinator, [email protected]
Leah Sicat, AF3IRM Central Coast Chapter Coordinator, [email protected]
Carly Ritter, AF3IRM Central Coast
Catherine Mendonça, AF3IRM San Diego Chapter Coordinator [email protected]

NORTHERN CALIFORNIAAs an anti-imperialist, transnational feminist organization, AF3IRM condemns the predatory actions and systemic oppression perpetuated by the Oakland Police Department (OPD). Allegedly committed to combatting the sex trade and entrusted to serve victims of gender violence, the Oakland Police Department has instead given badges, weapons, institutional power, and impunity to abusers, traffickers and johns. Officers who are valorized under the guise of  “protecting the community” have repeatedly shown themselves to be the very predators who endanger our existence. Specifically,  AF3IRM denounces the OPD’s perpetuation of sexual abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and rape of Celeste Guap. We also unequivocally condemn OPD’s corruption and potential cover-up of intimate partner homicide against Irma Huerta Lopez. We in AF3IRM see the victimization of Celeste Guap and the suspected murder of Irma Huerta Lopez as attacks on transnational women of color’s bodily autonomy, survival, self-determination, and liberation.  We name this malfeasance and violence for what it is: the ruthless triple oppression of patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy.

For over 25 years, AF3IRM has waged the Purple Rose Campaign against the trafficking of women and children. The most impacted communities in the sex trade are women of color, girls of color, and queer & trans people of color. Globally, women and girls comprise 97% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation. Every 2 out of 3 trafficked youth are girls from the global south. California is one of the primary hotspots for domestic and international human trafficking in the U.S and local conditions in the Bay Area mirror international trends.  Trafficking reports from Contra Costa, San Francisco, Santa Clara Counties, and the city of Oakland demonstrate that Black and Latina women and girls are the most susceptible to sexual exploitation. In the Bay Area alone, 46% of all prosecuted human trafficking cases came from Alameda County, with the most common form of sexual exploitation in Oakland being homegrown domestic minor sex trafficking.   Oakland is also the epicenter of the Bay Area’s largest “trafficking triangle,” with International Boulevard as the city’s most active area for street prostitution — the same street where Celeste Guap ran from her pimp towards Officer Brendan O’Brien, who later became the first police procurer.

Contrary to opinions which express that the OPD “sex scandal” detracts from “the real issues”, we in AF3IRM recognize that the fight against police terror and sex trafficking are interconnected and aim to abolish both! We echo some of the same demands made by other organizations and collectives, such as the Anti-Police Terror Project, but as transnational women of color who recognize the deep machinations and intersections of oppression, we must demand much more.

AF3IRM’s Demands:

1. Investigate & hold OPD accountable for Celeste Guap’s sexual exploitation, trafficking, & rape!
All predator police, as previously stated by Anti-Police Terror Project, should be arrested and all officers who were aware of trafficking but failed to act should be fired. Furthermore, we in AF3IRM want a release of the names of all implicated officers and a full investigation launched by an outside agency that will investigate predatory officers participating in the sex trade. Their simultaneous roles as first-responders and perpetrators of rape and trafficking are undeniably dangerous to youth and women of color and should no longer be tolerated. Additionally, OPD must publicly state that coercion and enticement of a minor is never the fault of the child or youth.

2. Release the autopsy report to Irma Huerta Lopez’s family!
On June 16, 2014, Irma Huerta Lopez, wife of OPD Officer Brendan O’Brien, was found dead in his apartment. The death was first classified as a homicide, but then ruled a suicide. The investigating sergeants maintain that Irma Huerta Lopez shot herself twice in the head with O’Brien’s gun.  However, Paulina Huerta, sister of Irma Huerta Lopez, remains unconvinced: “Why were there two shots if she killed herself?” Even the coroner’s report stated that there was no visible gunshot residue on her hands; it also noted her death to be suspicious. The family of Huerta Lopez believes that O’Brien murdered her and that OPD did not conduct a thorough investigation. AF3IRM supports Paulina Huerta’s call for accountability and justice and the family’s repeated demands for a copy of the autopsy report.

3. Defund the police!  Commit funds to the community! 
In Oakland, nearly all services provided to sexual exploitation victims begin after arrest, often resulting in criminal records. AF3IRM stands against the criminalization of people in the sex trade since the policing of those victimized does not end sexual violence and instead seek an investment in the community. We demand that the Oakland police budget be cut by 50%. In addition, law enforcement funds for anti-trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault response should be redirected into community-based programs–independent from police departments–that center survivors’ self determination and benefit the broader community. Here are a few places to begin:

  • Services for Self-Determination: Trauma-informed & survivor-centered services as designated first responders (such as Sexual Assault Response SART or Domestic Violence Response DVRT teams), reentry programs, community-run job centers, legal aid;
  • Health: Sexual/reproductive health care, community health clinics & low-income dental, community mental health & recovery services;
  • Housing: Tenant protections, low-income housing, emergency & homeless shelters;
  • Education: Public schools , after-school tutoring programs, extended library hours, trafficking awareness education (not to be mistaken for more cop trainings);
  • Children & Youth: Low-income child care, youth programs, foster & transitional-aged youth services.

4. Resignation of Libby Schaaf!
Time and time again, the Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf has demonstrated that she is a threat to transnational women of color and our communities. From the ban on nighttime street protests, which were instituted aggressively on the evening of the #SayHerName campaign to end police violence against Black women, to the seven deaths of Black men under her watch, and the diminishing of Celeste Guap’s abuse as “sexual misconduct” and “frat-house” behavior, Libby is not a feminist ally. Her role in political repression, her investigation on whistleblowers, and the violation of women of color and Black lives shows that her power is harmful, oppressive, and deadly. Libby Schaaf poses as an ally, co-opting the language of “toxic masculinity,” while sanctioning white supremacist, patriarchal violence against our communities. AF3IRM calls for Mayor Libby Schaaf’s immediate resignation!

5. Decriminalize Sex Trafficking Victims/Survivors!
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office blames Celeste Guap for not reporting her own sexual exploitation. According to their spokesman J.D. Nelson, “She never came to our agency with any sort of complaint,” thus they “had no way of knowing about this sort of conduct.” However, 28 East Bay law enforcement officers were directly involved in the trafficking of Guap, including 14 Oakland police officers, 5 Richmond police officers, 3 Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies, a Livermore police officer and a Contra Costa County Sheriff’s deputy. It is outrageous to expect the victim to report their sexual abuse to the police, when the cops are the very people perpetuating the harm.

In the case of Celeste Guap, Oakland police officers extorted her for sex in exchange for avoiding arrest. Coercion is not protection. The business of this trade and the criminalization of the sexually exploited puts the most vulnerable in the hands of oppressors to coerce, to violate their autonomy under the threat of arrest, and consequently channel them into the prison industrial complex. By ending the criminalization of those prostituted and trafficked, we enhance the possibilities for survival and safety. AF3IRM demands the decriminalization of people exploited in the sex trade and denounces all systems of sexual enslavement!

We in AF3IRM believe deeply in the liberation of womankind and in dismantling systems of oppression. We see through this state institution’s  so-called  “protection” and challenge the patriarchal violence that has run rampant to abuse and subjugate transnational women of color.

We are most vulnerable to sexual violence. Our bodies are already deemed accessible, criminal, and violable by the state. We must build real power, demolish the systems that ensnare us and our communities, and create structures, systems, and resources that can protect us and our families.  Denouncing the patriarchal violence, trafficking, rape, and murder of women perpetrated by the Oakland Police Department is just one step.  If we call for the abolition of one arm of the state, such as the system of policing, we also have to dismantle the systems that maintain it, namely patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism. We know “the existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery.”  We aim to abolish all systems of enslavement- racial, sexual, and waged.

We call upon transnational women of color to get organized. Collective struggle calls for collective resistance. Together, we will apply pressure. Together, we will get our demands met. Our liberation depends on the work that we do together and the strength which our voices speak to power. Our oppression as transnational women of color has not only been social, emotional, and cultural but also material – and so must be our liberation.

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4/9: Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley

Join AF3IRM SF Bay Area, AF3IRM Central Coast, and the Urban Promise Academy Warriors for Justice on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 for the Empowering Women of Color Conference (EWOCC) at UC Berkeley! We will be leading a workshop in the second session entitled Purple Roses from 1PM-2:15PM. Purple Roses is an inter-generational dialogue for praxis against sexual and economic exploitation. Here, we will analyze the intersections of sex trafficking, street harassment, and technology, and move toward co-creating community and school-based solutions. Together, we will strategize how to address domestic trafficking and marginalization from a transnational feminist, anti-imperialist perspective.

For registration and additional details see the EWOCC Website at: https://ewocc.wordpress.com/

EWOCC 1

AF3IRM Workshop Description:

PURPLE ROSES: AN INTERGENERATIONAL COMMUNITY DIALOGUE ABOUT TRAFFICKING, TECHNOLOGY, AND MARGINALIZATION WITH DANIELLA NAVARRETE, LEAH SICAT, CORY JONG, CARLY RITTER, MONICA NORIEGA, VIKI BRENER, CYNTHIA GUTIERREZ

SESSION 2 | 1:30 – 2:45 PM

The age of entry into minor sex trafficking is 12-14 years old. This workshop, co-facilitated by AF3IRM and Urban Promise Academy Warriors for Justice, is not an academic exercise, but an intergenerational dialogue for praxis against sexualized violence and exploitation. Our discussion seeks to understand how marginalization shows up in our daily lives (i.e. street harassment) and what role technology plays in the participation and/or perpetuation of patriarchy, imperialism, and white supremacy. We explore systems of power by examining the impacts of prostitution and trafficking and how they affect our communities. As part of an ongoing series, we will build on our Purple Rose event previously held in January at Eastside Arts Alliance and discuss a short documentary about prostitution on International Boulevard. Together, we will strategize how to address domestic trafficking and marginalization from a transnational feminist, anti-imperialist perspective.

Orange County | First Podcast Show: “Mujeres de Las Maquiladoras” on March 1st

As part of our commitment to transnational feminism, AF3IRM Orange County will be discussing the femicides of Ciudad Juarez that began with NAFTA’s exploitation of Mexican labor. We seek to empower the voices of women of color who have risked their lives to fight for Juarez’s victims of trafficking and sexual violence.

We are sharing this discussion with our community in support of AF3IRM’s Purple Rose Campaign – an international movement to stop the commodification of women and children’s bodies.

AF3IRM OC Podcast

Tuesday, March 1        12:00 Noon
Orange County | First Podcast Show: “Mujeres de Las Maquiladoras”
Online
For more info, contact: [email protected]
Facebook Event Page: Coming Soon

Purple Rose Day 2016: Radical Love and Work for Women’s Liberation

For Immediate Release
February 14, 2016
Barbra Ramos
AF3IRM | National Communications Director
(323) 813-4272 | [email protected]

NATIONAL–Today on February 14th, we the women of AF3IRM take time to mark Purple Rose Day. For seventeen years, AF3IRM has waged the Purple Rose Campaign to stand up against the capitalist assault on women’s bodies. We call on all to join us in speaking out against the trafficking and commodification of women and children’s bodies! Join us and engage in radical love and imaginings to work for justice and true liberation for all women!

According to the International Labour Organization, 20.9 million people are bought and sold worldwide. 94% of those trafficked in the United States are women, with native, black, transgender women especially at risk. Even without the statistics, we know that trafficking occurs – it can be found in the wake of natural disasters and in the shadow of major sports events. It happens in our neighborhoods and schools and it can be found at our airports and borders. Trafficking is quick to prey on the vulnerable whether it is the Syrian refugee populations, the migrant populations attempting to cross borders, the communities suffering from disease outbreaks such as Ebola, or the people who survived catastrophic typhoons in the Philippines or earthquakes in Nepal. At our Purple Rose Educational discussion in Oakland on International Blvd, middle school girls spoke on how more needed to be done to stop traffickers in their neighborhoods, how they wanted to feel safer walking home from school – just two weeks before traffickers were arrested around the Super Bowl and as local airport and airline workers were being trained to spot human trafficking.

As transnational feminists and women of color, we realize that it is not enough to just recognize that trafficking exists and to speak out against it. To imperialist patriarchy and capitalist exploitation, the bodies of women of color are fair game. By merely occupying space, women are vulnerable. This is why we women must organize and stand up against trafficking but more importantly this is why we must resist the underlying assumptions and mindsets that allow it to go unchecked. We must defy the perceived right to sexual access of women’s bodies, the normalization of catcalling and street harassment, and these notions that women are the only ones responsible for stopping sexual violence. We must end this persistent idea that women’s lives are second-class and cease not only the exoticization but the criminalization of transnational/women of color and our bodies.

We know that we women are tired. We are tired of walking down streets and being harassed. We are tired of turning down unwanted advances politely for fear of being fired, harmed, and even killed. We are tired of discovering another woman has been trafficked, is missing, or murdered. We women are tired of merely fighting back against the assault on our black and brown bodies or to simply mourn the sisters we have lost.

So we women fight back – but we also theory-build and write. We gather together and connect with women across oceans and miles. We collectively demand justice and recognize the lives and histories others try to erase. More importantly, we in AF3IRM have been working to engage our radical imaginations and envision new futures for transnational/ women of color, and we have begun to move towards the liberation we seek on the local and transnational levels.

We prepare to embark on the next phase of Justice Not Charity – bringing skills trainings to the communities in Tacloban and Manila still affected by Typhoon Haiyan and to prepare communities to combat sexual violence and trafficking for the next disaster. We are working with the local tricycle union there to empower them with the tools to recognize trafficking. We have been in contact with women’s groups in Peru and with the First Nations women of Canada to figure out new ways to imagine and fight for women’s liberation throughout the world. We build transnationally to ensure that the work we do can not only work locally, but can also transcend boundaries.

In honor of Purple Rose Day this year, AF3IRM SF Bay Area held an educational and intergenerational discussion on trafficking for women and girls of color in late January. Our South Bay chapter crafted origami purple roses from the classified sex ads to bring awareness about trafficking. The women of AF3IRM Los Angeles hosted Revolutionary Love: A Visionary Workshop and Women’s Marketplace earlier this week, to push our communities to really imagine what true liberation looks like and to imagine new ways for our communities to thrive. AF3IRM Boston posted ads on Craigslist that led potential sex buyers to read statistics about the trafficking of women and children. Our San Diego chapter did a social media campaign and will work with the Overpass Light Brigade tonight to share information about local trafficking issues in San Diego. Later this month, our Orange County members will host a radio show with mujeres de la maquiladoras, connecting the femicides of Cuidad Juarez with the exploitation of labor by NAFTA. Our New York chapter will host a women’s dialogue on women of color on February 20th and connecting that to hypersexualization and commodification of women’s bodies.

We in AF3IRM know there is much more that needs to be done and we continue to fight against the commodification of women’s bodies and violence against women. We cannot silence ourselves nor silence the truth burning through our hearts. There is no justice while women’s bodies are being exploited. There is no justice when men’s pleasure is paramount. Our bodies are not here for your pleasure. Our lives are not disposable. Our resistance, our love, and our radical imagination are necessary for our existence in this time of women’s continued subjugation.

Join us in the Purple Rose Campaign today and every day – it is only through the persistence of our collective vision and action that we will be able to bring an end to sex trafficking and to change the devaluation of women’s lives and bodies. Onward to women’s liberation!