Our Back Pockets Donation Program
Our Back Pockets is about building and sustaining community. In this spirit, I have committed to donating 10% of proceeds to an organization that focuses on queer issues. This quarter - July, August, and September - I am donating to Black and Pink.
About Black and Pink
I had Black and Pink on my list of "organizations to donate to" for later this year. But especially with recent events, it felt more urgent than ever to say loudly and often: the police state needs to be stopped. Incarceration is inhumane and abusive.
We have spent the past month (or decades, depending on your position) being collectively horrified by how the U.S. treats immigrants, and I believe that anything we can do to support incarcerated individuals will contribute to dismantling the system that allows these atrocities to continue.
Black and Pink works towards ending the Prison industrial complex and specifically supports LGBTQ prisoners. Their mission, as articulated on their website, reads:
Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.
They run a myriad of programs, both as a broader organization and as locally-focused initiatives. The projects range from building prisoner-led platforms and means of expression to providing direct monetary or in-person emotional support. For example, they produce and distribute a newspaper full of stories, art, and poetry by incarcerated folks, as well as relevant news and updates from the "free world." They also conduct research and report on the abuse endured by incarcerated LGBTQ individuals. Some chapters are able to offer in-person support in court, and working groups across the nation focus on different aspects of prison abolition.
On of the biggest projects Black and Pink runs is a pen-pal program. I had already planned on attending the Boston Chapter's volunteer nights, and as both a lover of snail-mail and the owner of a queer stationery business, donating to this organization was a bit of a no-brainer.
I don't have much direct experience with this organization, but I am excited to get more directly involved and educate myself about the structural oppression that runs through our culture, but that is especially apparent in our unethical and highly abusive prison system.
If you feel so called, you too can donate your time or money to Black and Pink directly.