There is still time for change...

It's not too late to help create change for the holidays. 

Donate today to support HIPS work helping sex workers and drug users lead healthy, happy, self determined lives.

 

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Center for Health & Achievement

HIPS Announces our New Center for Health and Achievement in Washington, DC

 It began with a simple question.

What are the biggest challenges confronting people on the streets? 

What keeps these people from achieving their goals? 

What interventions would be the biggest game changers?

 We have the solution - We need your help to make it happen

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Change starts with you

This is a true story.  

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HIPS Recognizes International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Join us today on Twitter and Facebook to call for #SolutionsNotStereotypes to end violence against people in the sex trade!

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ProstiTweet Pledge Drive!

Prince George County Police Department announced that it will live tweet a prostitution sting next week.

HIPS and other community activists are standing up and saying this is a bad call. Join HIPS in protest of PGPD’s plan. Help do something real beyond shaming sex workers and increasing their risk of violence. Support effective responses to violence, coercion and the health issues faced by individuals engaged in sex work and against the failed methods of increased criminalization.

Make a pledge to HIPS for each tweet made by @PGPDNews that is part of their live sting coverage. Instead of incarceration, help HIPS provide non-judgemental support, services and advocacy. We will put that money directly into helping people reduce violence, improve health and create options.

Here’s how the pledge works: You’ll click below and enter how much you want to pledge per tweet – $0.50, $1, $5, etc… After the sting we’ll tally the total number of tweets made by @PGPDNews. We’ll let you know the total amount of your pledge based on the number of tweets.

Here’s how HIPS will use your donations:

$8 – the cost of a health screening for a sex worker including an HIV or Hepatitis C test

$20 – the cost of gas for one overnight of outreach services

$50 – provides one counseling session that can link sex workers to legal, medical and housing services

$100 – a week’s worth of job readiness and skills training for sex workers

Donate and help us change lives.

There are other ways you can help too! Log onto Twitter and use the hashtags #PGPDVice and #RightsNotArrest to voice your concerns over this proposed program by PG County Police Department.

Let’s show the community we are committed to making a real difference!

Questions? emily@hips.org

Click here to make your pledge today!


Repeal Prostitution Free Zones

Help us stop racial and gender profiling in DC!

After 9 years in action, DC's Prostitution Free Zone Legislation has proven an intolerable failure.  Far from ending prostitution it has simply moved street work from downtown into our neighborhoods, increased racial and gender profiling, wasted resources, and perpetuated cycles of abuse, harassment and incarceration.  

The law is dangerous because it lowers the standard of evidence an officer requires to arrest someone on prostitution related offenses - meaning that "looking like a prostitute" or "engaging passers by in conversation", or visiting the HIPS outreach van could be enough evidence that an officer can require a person to leave the area or face arrest. This means that women of color, transgender women, and anyone who's skirt might be considered "too short" can be stopped, searched and told to leave an area -- even if they live there.  

Join us in calling for a more compassionate approach to addressing the issue of street prostitution and sex work. End the harmful and unconstitutional practice of Prostitution Free Zones and clear the way to put resources back into the community to offer reality based, proven services to victims of trafficking and sex workers on our streets. 

Please contact DC Council Members today and tell them you support the repeal of Prostitution Free Zones -- especially Judiciary Committee members Anita Bonds, Muriel Bowser, Mary Cheh, Jack Evans, and Tommy Wells and ask them to support the legislation!  

Please take a moment to take action today. 

Here's contact information for the Council:

Phil Mendelson - Chair 
pmendelson@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8032   

David A. Catania - Councilmember (At-Large) 
dcatania@dccouncil.us (202) 724-7772   

Anita Bonds - Councilmember (At-Large) 
abonds@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8064  

David Grosso - Councilmember (At-Large) 
dgrosso@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8105

Vincent Orange - Councilmember (At-Large) 
vorange@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8174

Jim Graham - Councilmember (Ward 1) 
jgraham@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8181   

Jack Evans - Councilmember (Ward 2) 
jevans@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8058   

Mary M. Cheh - Councilmember (Ward 3) 
mcheh@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8062   

Muriel Bowser - Councilmember - (Ward 4) 
mbowser@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8052 

Kenyan McDuffie - Councilmember (Ward 5) 
kmcduffie@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8028   

Tommy Wells - Councilmember (Ward 6) 
twells@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8072   

Yvette M. Alexander - Councilmember (Ward 7) 
yalexander@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8068   

Marion Barry - Councilmember (Ward 8) 
mbarry@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8045  

 

Have questions? Call HIPS or email Emily@HIPS.org


ACT NOW - Support Marijuana Decriminalization

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Thanks to your efforts, Councilmembers recently gave initial approval to legislation that will end the mass arrests of people in D.C for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Many of the changes we feared might water down the bill did not come to pass.

However, Councilmembers did take a huge step back and voted to continue the criminalization of people who use marijuana in public. In doing so, Councilmembers rejected a plan to end arrests for public smoking and treat it as a civil matter, as we do with tobacco smoking where it is not permitted.

We need your help to let Councilmembers know you oppose locking people up for using marijuana on the street.

We know from decades of the war on drugs that threatening people with jail time for using marijuana doesn’t work. We also know that the people who will continue to get locked up for smoking in public will disproportionately be people who have no place to go other than the street. While more affluent residents have options and privacy, people residing in public and low-income housing face eviction for using marijuana in their home and are criminalized for stepping outside to smoke. Thousands of homeless residents have no alternatives at all. 

Locking people up for 60 days for public smoking threatens to undermine the ability of this legislation to end the mass arrests of African-American residents – and also low-income and homeless residents.  Councilmembers rejected common sense and ignored public demands to stop criminalizing people who possess and use marijuana.

Before Councilmembers take this bill up for the last time on March 4th, they need to hear from you.

Please take just a minute to call or email your Ward Councilmember and At-Large Councilmembers Mendelson, Orange, Bonds, and Catania now and before Tuesday, March 4th to let them know you oppose the criminalization of public smoking.

Through our work with the court system, HIPS has seen the harmful unintended consequences of criminalized drug use that perpetuate cycles of abuse and incarceration, and how it disproportionately affects people of color in D.C. We have seen jobs lost and lives damaged by arrest and incarceration.  This legislation will help us focus on what's important here in D.C. -- addressing problematic drug use as a public health issue and remove barriers to changing lives.   

Please take a moment to take action today. 

Here's contact information for the Council:

Phil Mendelson - Chair 
pmendelson@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8032   

David A. Catania - Councilmember (At-Large) 
dcatania@dccouncil.us (202) 724-7772   

Anita Bonds - Councilmember (At-Large) 
abonds@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8064  

David Grosso - Councilmember (At-Large) 
dgrosso@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8105

Vincent Orange - Councilmember (At-Large) 
vorange@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8174

Jim Graham - Councilmember (Ward 1) 
jgraham@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8181   

Jack Evans - Councilmember (Ward 2) 
jevans@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8058   

Mary M. Cheh - Councilmember (Ward 3) 
mcheh@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8062   

Muriel Bowser - Councilmember - (Ward 4) 
mbowser@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8052 

Kenyan McDuffie - Councilmember (Ward 5) 
kmcduffie@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8028   

Tommy Wells - Councilmember (Ward 6) 
twells@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8072   

Yvette M. Alexander - Councilmember (Ward 7) 
yalexander@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8068   

Marion Barry - Councilmember (Ward 8) 
mbarry@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8045   


In Solidarity,
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Cyndee Clay
Executive Director


February 11 Film Screening

Please join us on February 11 at 6pm at Busboys & Poets to honor legendary sex worker rights activist Gabriela Leite (1951-2013) with a screening of the film "Um Beijo para Gabriela" (A Kiss for Gabriela)!

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Rally to End Racially Biased Enforcement of Drug Laws

Rally Tomorrow: Community Leaders and Civil Rights Organizations Demand Legislation Must Remain a Tool to End to Racially Disparate Enforcement of Drug Laws and Unlawful Searches and Seizures 

Contact: Seema Sadanandan                                     Renate Willer
                917.403.4779                                                630.379.4801
                seema@aclu-nca.org 

Rally to End Racially Biased Enforcement of Drug Laws 
John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 
8:45 am
 

WASHINGTON D.C. – A coalition of civil rights and civil liberties activists, community leaders and faith based organizations will meet on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building on Tuesday morning to call on the District of Columbia Council to vote to end racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws.  There is a real and imminent danger that some Council members will introduce amendments that water down the bill to decriminalize marijuana and gut the legislation’s protections against racial profiling.

Most troubling, one of these amendments would permit the use of marijuana odor as a pretext to initiate stops and profile members of the community. The amendment would allow racially disparate arrests to continue unabated in the District. The current language of the bill states unequivocally that the odor of marijuana alone will not constitute reasonable suspicion; this is a critical declaration that DC will not tolerate pre-textual stops on the basis of race. DC's decriminalization bill is not just about marijuana; this bill is about racial justice and a free an safe community for all. 

The ACLU of the Nation's Capital and Washington Lawyers Committee have documented the high rate of marijuana arrests, gaping racial disparities in marijuana arrests, and wasteful spending on marijuana enforcement policies in the District. Passing the Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014 without amendments -- in the form approved by the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety -- is a necessary first step towards ending racial profiling and selective law enforcement in the District.  


CALL TO ACTION - Support Marijuana Decriminalization in DC

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We have a huge opportunity to end the mass arrests of people in DC for the possession of small amounts of marijuana and we need your help -- today. 

Legislation is on the Council's agenda tomorrow that includes important revisions to the original legislation introduced last summer. Despite two public hearings that showed overwhelming support for this change in DC - the Council could still make changes to weaken the bill. It is anticipated that several amendments will be offered that may attempt to water down the effectiveness of the bill by increasing the fines, criminalizing public consumption or weakening the provisions protecting people from searches by officers – all of which would disproportionately harm African-American residents and also low-income and homeless residents.

 The legislation is now on the Council’s agenda for tomorrow,  Tuesday, February 4th. Please take just a minute to call or email your Ward Councilmember and At-Large Councilmembers Orange, Bonds, and Catania before Tuesday to ask them to approve this bill “as is.”

Here are the important changes that make the legislation a much better approach to reducing arrests and addressing the harm associated with criminalization of marijuana:

  • The fine for possession one ounce or less was lowered from $100 to $25 for both adults and juveniles.
  • The required drug awareness class for juveniles was dropped but they still get a letter sent home to parents.
  • There is a new fine for public consumption (smoking) of marijuana of $100 for both adults and juveniles. This applies anywhere in D.C. including inside schools and other public buildings and spaces.
  • Both the possession and consumption fine are handled in a similar manner to a parking violation.
  • There is a new provision that bars the police from treating odor of marijuana and/or possession of an ounce or less as probable cause to conduct a search of a person or their possessions for criminal conduct.
  • There are new provisions that state that refraining from marijuana use is not an automatic condition of probation or supervised release for both juveniles and adults. The judge has to explicitly forbid marijuana use.

Through our work with the courts, HIPS has seen the harmful unintended consequences of criminalization of drug use that perpetuate cycles of abuse and incarceration, and how it disproportionately affects people of color in DC. We have seen jobs lost, lives damaged by arrest and incarceration.  This legislation will help us focus on what's important here in DC -- addressing problematic drug use as a public health issue and remove barriers to changing lives.   

Please take a moment to take action today. 

Here's contact information for the Council:

Phil Mendelson - Chair pmendelson@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8032   

David A. Catania - Councilmember (At-Large) dcatania@dccouncil.us (202) 724-7772   

Anita Bonds - Councilmember (At-Large) abonds@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8064  

David Grosso - Councilmember (At-Large) dgrosso@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8105

Vincent Orange - Councilmember (At-Large) vorange@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8174

Jim Graham - Councilmember (Ward 1) jgraham@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8181   

Jack Evans - Councilmember (Ward 2) jevans@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8058   

Mary M. Cheh - Councilmember (Ward 3) mcheh@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8062   

Muriel Bowser - Councilmember - (Ward 4) mbowser@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8052 

Kenyan McDuffie - Councilmember (Ward 5) kmcduffie@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8028   

Tommy Wells - Councilmember (Ward 6) twells@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8072   

Yvette M. Alexander - Councilmember (Ward 7) yalexander@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8068   

Marion Barry - Councilmember (Ward 8) mbarry@dccouncil.us (202) 724-8045

 



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