In the Blog

the prisoner correspondence project

December 14th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

Thought I ought to draw your attention to this project being organized by a group of Montreal-based queer activists:

The PRISONER CORRESPONDENCE PROJECT coordinates a direct letter-writing program for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gendervariant, queer, 2spirit & intersexed inmates in Canada and the US, linking these communities with people who identify similarly who are outside of prison. The project also coordinates a resource library of harm reduction practice (safer sex, safer drug use, clean needle care, safer tattooing, etc), HIV and HepC prevention, homophobia, transphobia, etc. The idea of the project is not to match people up romantically, but create accountable friendships where those involved can support and learn from one another. As an organization, we try to be allies to prisoner struggle, and reject the ways that people a part of these communities are targeted and criminalized. THE PROJECT IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NON-INCARCERATED FOLKS TO ACT AS PENPALS WITH INCARCERATED FOLKS IN CANADA AND THE US! Please get in touch if you want more info on becoming a penpal! ** Though the organizing collective is Montreal-based, you can still become a penpal if you’re not living in Montreal. We’re also currently trying to distribute promo materials in other cities, so please please get in touch if you want to do some out-of-town outreach (even putting up a few flyers or asking a few friends would be helpful!) ** For more information, or to otherwise get involved, please contact queertrans.prisonersolidarity@gmail.com

In conjunction with a few other activist groups here in Montreal, the PCP (uh, too bad about the acronym) organized a screening of film responses to the AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s earlier this week. While I’m still working through my own emotional and political responses to the films (political funerals, holy crap cried my eyes out), one thing the evening’s viewing made painfully clear was how marginalized people are routinely crushed by state policy, whether it be ignorance or purposeful criminalization. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of exclusionary injustice are deeply institutionalized, and the prison system is one manifestation where these systems of oppression are very harshly felt. Whether it’s denying incarcerated people access to materials they need to practice safer sex or denying people with AIDS the medicine they need, people deemed undesirable by social or capital standards are always going to be trampled or swept away by the state. All the more reason to pick up a pen, I say.

You can also hook up with the project’s Facebook group here, if you’re that way inclined, and you can read more about it in this Xtra.ca article.

Tags: activist report, queeriosities

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