It is an honor and a privilege to say hello to you as SRLP’s new Prisoner Justice Project Director.
Since I first became involved in 2008, working with SRLP collective members, staff, and clients has helped me deepen my understanding that liberation is a process powerfully led by members of our community who are most severely affected by systematic and interpersonal oppression. For this reason, prison abolition must be at the heart of what we do, guiding the transformative possibilities of our work.
In my years working with Alisha Williams, Chase Strangio, and Gabriel Arkles in their various roles as Directors of the Prisoner Justice Project, I learned that while we can strategically engage the law to reduce violence and barriers to survival, the law itself is a tool of oppression that will not bring justice or build the world we need. All of our work to break down the isolation and violence of prison and lift up the voices of people on the inside is at the heart of my work, and the collective movement of SRLP.
I started my first day on staff in the beginning of January. Since then I have answered over 200 phone calls and letters from transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex people incarcerated in New York State and around the nation. Almost all of these letters detail the almost default placement of trans* people into solitary confinement, the bureaucratic and legal barriers to accessing necessary and affirming health care, and the ongoing sexual violence, harassment, and dehumanization of all people in government custody. My days are spent providing resources and Know-Your-Rights orientations to our many members on the inside, connecting clients and members to affirming legal providers, and representing members as we struggle together to reduce the violence of prisons and jails through legal advocacy.
SRLP has long been a source of political and emotional community for me. The SRLP community has taught me that joy, humor, anger, and love are all key elements to building our future. I am humbled to be following the dreams of visionary trans and gender nonconforming people, and committed to centering these voices and legacies in all of our work.
With so much love and solidarity,
Mik Kinkead, SRLP Staff Attorney & Prisoner Justice Project Director
p.s. Hope to see you at one of SRLP’s upcoming events! Check them out at http://srlp.org/events/
More about Mik
Mik Kinkead has been around SRLP volunteering, interning, and serving on the Core Collective since 2008. He is currently a Staff Attorney with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Director of SRLP’s Prisoner Justice Project. Previously, Mik was a staff attorney at Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York. He graduated from CUNY Law School where he participated in clinics focusing on the rights of youth in adult prisons and poverty law representation. Mik works in areas of racial and trans justice, LGBTQ youth homelessness, suicide and crisis prevention, and disability justice. Mik dreams of a dance party where we can all have our needs met and enough space to dance.