Yesterday, SRLP Members and Staff attended the Women’s Building opening, “Transformation from the Inside Out”, at the former Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility in NYC, hosted by the Women and Justice Project. This historic opening symbolizes the importance of abolishing prisons and jails everywhere – the Bayview Facility opened in 1978, driven by racist War on Drugs policies, and closed in 2013 after being evacuated post-Hurricane Sandy. SRLP Staff and Movement Building Team Members met with the Women and Justice Project 6 months ago to support the vision for this building and opening and to ensure that trans women and trans people impacted by incarceration were included in the framing, planning, and visioning.The building will open in 2020 and has signed a 99 year lease; the aim of the Women’s Building is to create a space for all women on both sides of the wall, their families, and communities to end mass incarceration and provide crucial support, space, employment, leadership, and vision.
Xena, an SRLP Member, was amazing in a performance that featured her and 10 other formerly incarcerated women telling their stories monologue-style in front of a newly-unveiled mural which was created by formerly incarcerated women and their families. A short film created by the children of incarcerated women who were once at Bayview and the energy in the physical space filled with powerful women and community was a reminder that hope and resilience are found in the most challenging places.