2018 has been an incredibly challenging year for so many of our communities – the visibility of white supremacist, rape apologist, and drug user stigma is on the rise. However, sex workers are nothing if not resilient and at SWOP-USA we are confident that through continued grassroots advocacy and the building community power will win us some hard fought campaigns. We wanted to present a series of announcements today, on the fall equinox, to mark this period of intense change.
Today we are announcing our 2018 December 17th campaign, our logo and overall redesign, as well as the hiring of our inaugural Executive Director. This is a time of great transition for us and the movement at large and we are dedicated to proceeding with increased intersectionality and accountability. We will be meeting next month as an organization to lay out our strategic plan for the next several years and will have tangible steps to share after that.
Decriminalization of sex work remains one of the primary goals of our work, but we believe that decriminalization is just one step in our fight for justice. Criminalization of sex work is one of many avenues that the police and state use to justify systematic violence against people of color, transpeople, indigenous populations, and other historically marginalized groups. We must challenge and interrupt these avenues at every opportunity, and we believe that working towards decriminalization means challenging white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and colonialism at each step of the way. Fighting for decriminalization for sex worker, and ultimately the entire sex workers’ rights movement, must be a movement against white supremacy.
December 17th, 2018 will mark the beginning of our #RestInPower campaign, while we are far from the first movement to ever use this epitaph, we feel that it best encapsulates how we wish to honor our sex worker siblings that we have lost. We will be providing our annual mini-grants to chapters and affiliated organizations, if you are not part of the SWOP network please be sure review our values page to assure that you fit our granting criteria. Apply Here
Starter Kits and mini-grant funding are only available presently to those in the United States
As many have noticed, we have recently changed our logo and some of our branding. We recently reached a settlement with Travelers Insurance in regard to the red umbrella logo. Our new designs were done by Dorothy Tang. We recognize that the red umbrella is larger than just one organization, and that its loss as one of our emblems is felt deeply across the organization, we also feel that the sex workers’ rights movement is such much more than just one symbol and that tangible organizing is more important than icons.
Finally, we are pleased to announce the hiring of Christa B. Daring as the inaugural Executive Director of SWOP-USA. Choosing Christa as our Executive Director is a testament to our desire to expand beyond representing our local chapters and affiliates, and fully step into our role as assisting in building power with sex workers everywhere. Centering the voices and experiences of those most impacted by policing and criminalization is at the forefront of our agenda. Originally founded in 2003, and then becoming a 501c3 in 2013, we have historically been an organization run, managed, and led by volunteers. It has become increasingly clear to our board of directors the necessity of having a person fully committed in time to the maintenance and growth of organization.
Christa B. Daring (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is a non-binary transperson who has served on the board of directors since 2015 and held the position of the President of the Board from April 2017-May 2018. They have been working in the sex industry for the past eleven years in a variety of modes and sectors. They were a worker-owner of Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse for six years, and formerly a collective member at AK Press. Most recently they were a small business and entrepreneur coach with mission driven organizations at Impact Hub Baltimore. Christa has a long history of grassroots organizing with a focus on non-hierarchical and participatory models, and loves to nerd out over: bylaws, accounting, recruitment strategies, and building community power.
We thank you for your continued support, participation, and critical engagement with SWOP-USA.
The SWOP-USA Board and Staff