Author Archives: Jessy

Brooklyn SAYSO!

As many readers may know, April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One of the ways that folks can contribute to this awareness month is to attend or participate in this year’s annual Brooklyn SAYSO! (Sexual Assault Yearly Speakout). A friend of the For the Birds Collective recently passed along this announcement about SAYSO:


The Safe Horizon Brooklyn Community Program is proud to present Brooklyn’s third annual SAYSO! (Sexual Assault Yearly Speak Out!). SAYSO! is dedicated to promoting healing and raising awareness about sexual assault and New York City’s specialized rape crisis services. SAYSO! will feature speeches from survivors and allies along with diverse music and spoken word performances. Simultaneous healing activities will be offered such as yoga, participatory art and self-defense classes. The Speak Out will take place on April 17th from 4:00pm to 6:00 pm in Cadman Plaza outside Brooklyn Borough Hall.

You can help ensure the success of SAYSO! this year in the following ways:

·         Speak – share about how sexual violence has affected you and/or your community

·         Perform – dance, read a poem, play music, sing, etc.

·         Recruit your friends, family or peers to speak, perform or attend

·         Volunteer to help set up and clean up for the event.

·         Spread the word – post our flier at your workplace or on your website or social media outlets.

·         Donate – If your workplace or business has goods or services that can be donated for raffle prizes, please contact us!

We welcome your suggestions and contributions for this exciting event!  Please feel free to contact Jessica LaHood at (718) 834-6688 ext. 27 or

TONIGHT: 8th Sound Wave Benefit for Project Envision

Searching for a way to help out local feminist, anti-violence work in Brooklyn on your Wednesday night? Look no further! For all of our New York based readers, we hope you’ll be able to make it to the 8th Sound Wave Benefit show organized by Permanent Wave, a NYC based grassroots feminist collective. Tonight’s show, happening at Death By Audio, will benefit Project Envision Williamsburg, a community mobilzation project aimed at developing sexual violence prevention programs. In addition to supporting community based anti-violence work, tonights show also features a line up that includes For the Birds Comp contributors, Aye Nako. Hope to see you there!

Sisters, Loud & Proud: Video Blog Project

SisterSong NYC, a collective of women of color activists who have committed to advocating for women of color and reproductive justice, has sent out a call for interviews for their video blog project: Sisters, Loud and Proud. Please see their call for participants below:

“Sisters, Loud and Proud is a video blog project that is being produced through a collaboration with SisterSong NYC and Planned Parenthood Federation.  The recent attacks on African American and Latina women is deplorable and has tried to use our bodies and dignity to position us as victims. This project will capture the stories of local young African American and Latina women and our allies to discuss what we have been doing for ourselves to preserve and protect our dignity and reproductive freedom in the face of these attacks, in addition to the impact and importance of Planned Parenthood in our personal lives and advocacy.

The fierce activism present in New York City has established itself as leader in successful local and national movements for women of color and reproductive justice.  We want to capture the faces and the stories behind this work to show that it’s not always the big names and recognizable faces that create movement, but it’s the everyday woman who is fighting for respect and dignity for her life and community.”

Email SisterSong NYC at to find out more about contributing YOUR story to Sisters, Loud & Proud!

April is Sexual Assault Activism Month

Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month – or if you take a page out of SAFER’s book it is Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month – there are plenty of events, gatherings and benefits to raise awareness, honor survivors and engage in discussions around prevention. One quick way to take action is to support New Yorkers United Against Sexual Violence, by signing this petition to ask the New York City Council to reinstate funding for anti-sexual violence programming for the 2012 budget. (Much thanks to fellow For the Birds member, Lauren Denitzio, for designing the lovely logo!)

Here is just a sample of what is on tap this week:

Brooklyn SAYSO (Sexual Assault Yearly Speakout) on April 13th at Borough Hall. The event starts at 3pm with an information fair and speak out, followed by the Voice Out from 6 – 7. The event will include numerous activities such as yoga, music, stories, and art that celebrate healing and recovery from sexual violence.

Then head on over to…

Hey Shorty! Book Launch: On April 13th at 7PM, Joanne N. Smith, Mandy Van Deven, and Meghan Huppuch (of Girls for Gender Equity) will be at Bluestockings (172 Allen Street, Manhattan) speaking about Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets. The book narrates the work of teen women of color at Girls for Gender Equity who have been organizing in their communities to end gender-based violence against girls, women, and LGBTQ folks in NYC. The authors and youth organizers will talk about how street harassment and sexual harassment in schools is connected, and what strategies youth and adult allies can use to fight back.

And the next day…

Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) hosts the Take Back the Bar Benefit at the Trinity Pub (229 E 84th St, Manhattan) from 6 – 9pm. SAFER is challenging campus communities to recognize this SAAM as Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month and pledge to change how their campus prevents and responds to sexual violence. Will you take the Pledge?

If you know of other events or ways to become involved in anti-violence work please post in the comments.

International Girl Gang Underground Zine Release Party

For the Birds is happy to say that our very own Kate Wadkins, along with Stacy Konkiel of Soul Ponies have teamed up to create a fantastic new zine – International Girl Gang Underground. Check out the announcement about this zine and the release party happening this Saturday, March 12th at Death By Audio in Brooklyn, NY. Hope to see you there!

Check it:

In light of this week’s 100th International Women’s Day, Kate Wadkins (of For the Birds Collective, Brain Waves) and Stacy Konkiel (of Soul Ponies) announce the International Girl Gang Underground (IGGU) zine, which is now available in print and online. In an effort to highlight contemporary D.I.Y. feminist cultural production, twenty years after the riot grrrl movement, and in the wake of its legacy, the editors collected stories, artwork, and critical work on the subject.

The print zine features contributions from Osa Atoe (Shotgun Seamstress), Hadass Ben-Ari (Fallopian Falafel – אשת חיל), Carla Duarte (Histérica), Billy Cheer (This is Fag City), Katie Crutchfield (P.S. Eliot, Bad Banana), Lo (HEARTSREVOLUTION), Mimi Thi Nguyen (Evolution of a Race Riot, Punk Planet), and thirteen other writers, activists, musicians, and artists from ten US states and five countries; with original cover art by Philadelphia-based artist Sonrisa Rodriguez-Harrison.

Online, International Girl Gang Underground has published exclusive articles not available in the print zine. In the interest of relevance, information-sharing, and community-building, IGGU online has created a directory of feminist cultural projects; all are welcome to submit new or recent additions to the directory. Further, the editors encourage submissions of music reviews and content related to the zine to be released on the IGGU website periodically. We hope to continue these conversations online.

In Brooklyn, New York, the zine will be released on Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at Death by Audio:

$6 | 8PM | ALL AGES





+ readings from contributors of the International Girl Gang Underground zine & tabling by FOR THE BIRDS and SUPPORT NEW YORK. This event will be a safer space, with support from NYC Coalition for Safer Spaces.

@ Death by Audio
49 S. 2nd Street, b/w Kent & Wythe
Brooklyn, NY 11211
L to Bedford | JMZ to Marcy | G to Broadway

RSVP on Facebook.

The print zine is now available for purchase through the IGGU website. For further information, see GIRLGANGUNDERGROUND.ORG or contact the editors at GIRLGANGUNDERGROUND@GMAIL.COM.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

The month of October is a time to honor survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, to raise our voices against abuse and to think about working towards prevention. Throughout the month there are a number of events, such as the 1st Annual Westside Walk Against Domestic Violence on Thursday October 28th, starting at 10:30 am at 112th and Amsterdam Avenue in northern Manhattan. Also, Henry Street Settlement will be hosting their 10th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Conference. For national event listings please click here.

Beyond participating in events during this month, I would also encourage people to use this month to think critically about intimate partner violence. And yes, this may mean questioning the merit of only having one month out of the year to be aware of such a prevalent issue. However, for those cynics out there (myself included) this line can be used as a way to avoid taking a specific amount of time to honor those effected by an issue. So let’s really push our critical thinking skills people…

Who do you think of when you hear the words intimate partner violence? Who do you picture as a survivor? For most Americans the answer would likely be a cis – gendered heterosexual woman experiencing physical abuse at the hands of a husband or boyfriend, and because of this most services are targeted at this demographic. But what if there was no physical abuse? What if the abuse was not happening in a heterosexual relationship? What if the survivor was a man? If your aren’t able to participate in awareness month related activities, even asking yourself or a friend these questions could be a crucial way to expand awareness around the issue.

If you are looking for reading material about intimate partner violence click here for a link to The Revolution Starts at Home, an AMAZING zine about IPV and radical communities. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) blog is running a month long series on the issue. Also, for statistics and more about intimate partner violence within LGBTQ communities please look at the National Coalition of Anti Violence Projects most recent national report. And last the Crime Victims Treatment Center has compiled a fantastic brochure about male survivors of sexual assault, however much of the information relates to intimate partner violence as well.

Project Envision: What would it look like? What would it take?

Have any of you ever thought what it would take to completely end sexual violence? If someone asked you what it would take or what the world would look like after, how would you respond? Asking these questions and working towards the answers is exactly the work of the three neighborhood based coalitions that comprise Project Envision. Each coalition works in concert with the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, local rape crisis programs and community activists passionate about ending sexual violence.

Of course the need for crisis and counseling services for survivors of sexual violence and intimate partner violence still exists. Project Envision’s work comes out of a lack of work towards primary prevention, that is a change is the social conditions that permit and promote sexual violence. To this end each coalition, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg and the South Bronx, conducted a participatory action research study to determine what folks in their neighborhood thought would be the most effective route to prevention. For their results please click here.

Despite the need for prevention, as is made especially clear by recent findings that the New York City police department regularly downgrading charges of sexual violence, the New York City Council elected to cut prevention services in their budget for fiscal year 2010 -11. Although I agree that the burden for supporting such programming should not fall solely on a city council, this does send the message that programming aimed at larger social change is not as important as programs for those who have already experienced violence. Should we not all be invested in working towards a world in which violence is not as accepted in the first place.

If you would like to find out more about Project Envision, their history as well as present and future work please attend the Lower East Side coalition’s open house this Thursday from 5:30 – 7:30 at the 6th Street Community Center. Further, to support the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault in the wake of City Council budget cuts please go here.

Stand Against Arizona Immigration Law SB1070

As most folks out there probably know by now Arizona recently passed SB 1070, an immigration law that requires police officers to detain individuals whom they have “reasonable suspicion” are not legal residents of the United States. Many fear, including myself, that this law will basically legalize racial profiling in Arizona, despite Gov. Jan Brewer’s insistance to the contrary. For those of us in New York City looking for a way to stand against this dispicable piece of legislation, there are several demonstrations tomorrow, Saturday May 1:

Rally in Union Square, starts at Noon, sponsored by the May 1 coalition

Rally and March in Foley Square (near City Hall), starts at 11 am, sponsored by the New York Immigration Coalition, The Alliance for Labor & Immigrant Rights & Jobs for All

And for those of you who can’t make it to these rallies or aren’t in NYC, please write to Gov. Jan Brewer here to express your opposition to SB 1070.

Since this law was passed I have read a number of moving blog posts, but one I would most highly recommend is over at the INCITE!blog, entitled “Confonting Citizenship in Sexual Assault.” (They have posted a trigger warning,  so keep that in mind before clicking the link.) As someone whose professional work focuses on sexual violence and intimate partner violence, my mind immediately went to the detrimental effect this policy will have upon immigrant people who are harmed by intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence. This post really highlights for me one of the numerous ways that immigration issues and feminism are linked.

Support Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls!

If you want a chance to support Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls and hang out with amazing female musicians, here is your chance! The Fourth Annual Rock N Roll Auction will be held Tuesday February 9th, 8 pm at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn.

The auction helps provide much needed scholarships for young rock stars to attend camp. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $75 for a VIP Ticket that includes pre auction reception with Kathleen Hanna and Kaki King, plus complimentary hors d’oevres & cocktails from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, gift bags, & mini drum lessons! The event will be hosted by Mr. Murray Hill with performances by Kaki King, Saffire and Erin McKeown. Come support!

Juvenile Justice in New York

For folks who follow local New York politics there has been a lot of buzz recently around how broken the New York State juvenile justice system is. Reports published in 2009 indicate high levels of re-arrest after release, abuse of young detainees by guards and staff and an over representation of young people of color in detention centers. While in most recent news the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice(DJJ) was merged into the Administration for Children’s Services(ACS).

Disturbing (yet not entirely surprising) information about juvenile detention in NYS started coming to my attention in my professional life. By chance I’ve also been reading Victoria Law’s Resistance Behind Bars which turned out to be key in keeping a radical feminist perspective while researching juvenile justice in the context of a liberal work setting. Law reminds the reader at the beginning of Resistance that she is not advocating for a more humane prison system, but rather to “strive for a better world – one in which prison’s are obsolete.” I would tend to agree that the prison system for adults and juveniles cannot simply be reformed into a slightly better place. I also believe that the struggle for some changes which can prevent the most egregious violations of human rights, such as the shackling of birthing women’s legs and the level of physical restraint which lead to the death of 15 year old Darryl Thompson at Tryon Boys Residential Center in November 2006, are crucial to advocate for.

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