Ohio sex worker murdered by cops

Yet another life has been cut short by a murderous cop, anti-sex worker bias, and the ongoing criminalization of sex work.

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Donna Dalton Castleberry, a 23-year-old mother of two, was shot eight times at point-blank range on August 23 by Columbus, Ohio undercover vice cop Andrew Mitchell. Castleberry was inside an unmarked police vehicle when she was killed by Mitchell, who alleged that she attempted to stab him in the hand with a knife. Two days earlier, a judge had issued a warrant for Dalton’s arrest for failing to appear for sentencing on a misdemeanor soliciting charge.

Two days later, over 100 friends, family members, and supporters held a memorial vigil for Donna.

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“The family is crying out for justice and answers,” said the victim’s older sister, Bobbi McCalla, on her GoFundMe campaign to cover Castleberry’s final expenses. According to McCalla, enough has already been raised for the funeral, and all additional contributions will go toward a potential legal fight against the city of Columbus and its police department.

“If I were in that position, I might lunge at someone if I feared for my life,” said Castleberrry’s cousin, Mary Laile, about Donna’s last moments.

According to a police spokesperson, other cops on the scene claimed a conversation took place inside Mitchell’s car before he opened fire. While no further information is available concerning the circumstances of Castleberry’s death, we can easily imagine that she may have gotten into the unmarked vehicle believing Mitchell to be a client, then acted in self-defense when she discovered otherwise. Just such situations are all too familiar to sex workers, who face on-the-job violence every day at the hands of both cops and clients. Due to the criminalization of our profession, sex workers are denied redress for this violence. Meanwhile, recent legislation such as SESTA/FOSTA, which targets online discourse concerning sex work, has forced more sex workers on to the street and into more dangerous working conditions. While these conditions prevail, we can expect to see an increase in murders such as Castleberry’s, and other instances of violence against sex workers.

Donna Dalton Castleberry fell victim to intersecting forces of oppression: the ability of police to kill with impunity, and the stigma that says sex workers’ lives are disposable.

SWOP-Chicago stands in mourning, rage, and solidarity with the family of Donna Dalton Castleberry, and Ohio’s sex worker community.

#sexworkersrightsarehumanrights #sexworkiswork #LetUsSurvive #nokillercops

August 16: Brown and Proud Pess Release Party and Benefit

Brown and Proud Press is holding a party to celebrate their new zine, and proceeds will benefit SWOP-Chicago!

 

Thursday, August 16

7-10pm

AMFM Gallery

2151 W 21st St, Chicago, IL 60608

Facebook Link

 

Brown and Proud Press invites you to a nighttime celebration for their newest zine titled, “Secretos: from one hoe to another”

We will have sensual performances, vendors and music. Doors open at 7pm, 18+ for mature content. All door proceeds will pay our performers and a portion of drink sales will be donated to SWOP Chicago.

Burlesque performances by:
Mika
Delikate Doll

Guest of Honor: SWOP members

Sexy Vendors:
Gnat Glitter Kink
Marimacha Monarca Press
Xicana Moon

Kinky Photobooth by Mayra
*props will be available 😉

About Secretos:
“This work is intentionally anonymous. We wanted to provide a space where womxn can express themselves freely, powerfully, vulnerably. As a collective, we believe in the healing power of sharing our stories: some of these stories are straight up hoe ass shit, others are nasty, some are funny and some are heartbreaking. We put out a call for submissions and only asked that names be changed and that the work be anonymous. With this vulnerability, comes triggering stories. Some of the work in this zine may mention mental health illnesses, sexual assault, or intimate partner violence. We ask that you respect these stories as standing entities and that you love yourself, putx.

From,
One Putx to Another & Brown & Proud Press

SWOP-Chicago is hiring a graphic designer

Design Print Materials for the PROS Network Chicago!

SWOP-Chicago is hiring a graphic designer to update print materials related to the PROS-Network Chicago (Providers and Resources Offering Services to Sex Workers).  The PROS Network is a directory of direct service providers and legal, medical and mental health professionals that provide non-judgmental and harm reduction oriented services to individuals currently or formerly involved in the sex industry. For more information, visit http://www.prosnetworkchicago.org.

We can offer a $200 stipend for design of a brochure that will list all of the members of the PROS Network, the services they provide, and their location in Chicago.

Current and retired sex workers, people of color, and trans* and gender-nonconforming folks are especially encouraged to apply. Please send a brief (1 paragraph) introduction and a few samples of your work to info@swop-chicago.org. In your introduction, please address your familiarity with SWOP, the sex worker community, and/or sex trade. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. To ensure your application receives priority review, please submit by noon on Sunday, August 19.

 

 

 

 

CHICAGO SEX WORKERS FURTHER CRIMINALIZED BY NEW ORDINANCE

 

On June 20, Chicago City Council quietly and unanimously passed a substitute ordinance that specifically outlaws “prostitution-related loitering.”

 

Introduced in November 2017 by Aldermen Joe Moore of Rogers Park and Jason Ervin of Garfield Park, the ordinance amends the city’s Municipal Code by adding Section 8-4-016. This new law imposes fines of $50-500, along with potential arrest and imprisonment, on individuals deemed by police to be engaged in “prostitution-related loitering.”

 

The new language also instructs the Superintendent of Police to “designate areas of the city in which enforcement of this section is necessary because the areas are frequently associated with prostitution-related loitering.” The ordinance also amends existing Section 8-8-060 to include more detail and specificity concerning “solicitation for prostitution.”

 

The ordinance was introduced in the wake of months of targeted harassment of both street-based sex workers and SWOP-Chicago outreach workers in Rogers Park, on the part of Alderman Moore and some residents.

 

On the advice of some members of the local social services community, the ordinance was revised prior to passage to lower potential fines for sex workers while raising them for customers, thus partially embracing an “end-demand” approach to policing sex work. While this “end-demand model” purports to transfer legal liability from workers to clients, in practice criminalizing our clientele harms sex workers by keeping our industry marginalized and our work environments unsafe.

 

By passing this ordinance, Chicago City Council compounds the harm inflicted on sex workers by SESTA/FOSTA, the Federal “anti-trafficking” legislation recently passed by Congress. While this legislation erases sex workers’ access to safer online means of conducting business, thereby forcing more workers on to the streets, the City of Chicago has now chosen to add to the danger faced by street-based workers by creating new levels of criminalization.

 

SWOP-Chicago joins our city’s harm-reduction community in opposing this new assault on the safety, livelihood, and self-determination of sex workers. The new and revised laws reflect the worst of both the dangerous criminalization of sex work, and paternalistic “rescue-based” treatment of workers. Only the full decriminalization of sex work can ensure safety and self-determination for individuals engaged in trading sexual services, whether by choice, circumstance, or coercion.

International Whores Day + Workshop 6/2 and 6/3

This Saturday is International Whores Day/International Sex Workers Day/PutaDei! There is a direct action being held at Daily Plaza at the Picasso Statue at noon, as organized by Miss Mercedez, Miss Velvet, Marten Katze, Sophie Bee and Leah Levine.
They are still looking for people who want to speak at the action about their lived experiences, loved ones, or general solidarity with sex workers rights movements. You don’t have to have a big speech or anything planned, we just want to offer people a platform to voice their thoughts, anger, concern and fears. Feel free to check out the Facebook event for information:
*Flyers designed by Sema Graham, an artist from Chicago*
On Sunday, 6/3 Chicago Skill Share Network is organizing a net-safety workshop for sex workers. If you’d like to get more info on this, email info@swop-chicago.org. The event is in Pilsen from 1:00-3:30, and it is free. Any donations will be given to Lysistrata funds.

A Funeral for the Death of Safer Sex Work!!! – Planning Meeting

Emily is throwing a great event after the support group on Saturday to plan efforts to channel art in protesting SESTA/FOSTA/CLOUD! Read her description below.

As an Art Therapist & Current Sex Worker, I am in the process of organizing an Art Protest titled “A Funeral for the Death of Safer Sex Work” set for May 1st, 2018, (international laborer/worker rights day) as a way to collectively greave the end of an era for sex workers, as a way to object to the passing of SESTA, FOSTA & CLOUD as well as to show physical visible solidarity with sex workers experiencing negative effects from the implementation of these laws!

The first planning meeting and funeral hat making workshop will be held after the Sex Worker Support Group this coming Saturday the 21st around 3:00pm at my place (close to the corner of Clark & Lunt) in Rogers Park. I will have music, food & art supplies (but would like to empower people to bring their own supplies as well)!

I will lead a hat making workshop and allow for any further processing that folks want to do after the support group!

FB Event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/585723308452645/permalink/587032228321753/?notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&notif_id=1524036839377237

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/TheArtOfHoetest