The BSWC Story
A message from the Executive Director and Founder
ow did it all happen?
One of the many questions I get asked as an activist is how did I decide to start this group?
Other than the obvious legal and legislative reasons such as SESTA/FOSTA and the ceasing of backpage.com, there were lifelong experiences that brought me to this place.
I was a young mother estranged from most of my immediate family. By the time I turned 19 I had two children by two different men.
One who died very young and the other who made my life a living hell because he wore whorephobia and misogyny like a second skin. He used the court system to abuse me, along with his religious and affluent family to separate my children and make every attempt to destroy my life. This was from getting the house phone disconnected, keeping my children from any family I was in touch with, separating the children and threatening to have my first child put in a group home, having me arrested on bogus claims of threats. Constantly having child protective services at my door. Demeaning and degrading me anywhere at anytime, in front of anyone. Although he met me working at a strip club (and he worked at some too) he showed up at the club scolding and threatening to have the child we had together taken from me—oddly enough this was while he wasn’t supporting me and I relied on the welfare system to offset many of my basic needs. There was even theft of child support payments, the list goes on and on.
The court system, which can be very much centered around the man and the facade they put up, was just as abusive. My mild depression caused by this spineless male, made the court look at me side-ways because parents with mental health issues only need their kids taken away from them, not actual support and for their abusers to be held accountable. Lawyers which were offered to me by the courts or outside agencies, would take his side. Most family members who knew what
was happening from my dad to my mom, uncles and so on, stood by and watched the shit show while I became more and more depressed and stressed.
Once I found Sex Worker organizations existing in NYC, I finally found a new way of thinking and being. From there I devised a plan to create a Black lead group which supported single mothers. As far as I was concerned, I could not have been the only one going through what I did at the time. I wondered where would I be and who could I have become had I a community supporting me instead of being left to figure out this life on my own? It took organizing for several years with
white lead groups where I noticed there were no dedicated spaces for Black Sex Workers or adult entertainers. White spaces were well, white. Running off different systems of oppression and at the time in the early 2000s, if there were any Black Sex Worker lead spaces, I never heard of them.
As someone that started in the strip clubs and worked in many different aspects of the industry, I know all too well about how society will ostracize us and become vengeful because they see a woman doing what the world has told her was impossible. Make money based off her looks. I’ve worked as a nude model, dancer, escort, domme, cam girl and now have settled into the old form of striptease (burlesque) which I have been doing now for 16 years. I am a full-time organizer and work intercontinentally. When I am not in New York I am in Berlin, in between I am trying to create spaces on the continent of Africa. I make interdisciplinary art, I cook food while teaching about racism, I fundraise, I organize, I hold a master’s degree and I am pushing my group for world domination and the decriminalization (not just) for sex work globally, but to decriminalize being Black, being a woman, being Trans, being disabled, fat, poor etc. Black Sex Worker liberation doesn’t stop at the laws around sexual services. That is just the beginning. Sex Workers are in every aspect of our lives and stand at the forefront of everything from climate change to reproductive justice. With The Black Sex Workers Collective, I look forward to reshaping public perception of Sex Workers and having respect put on our names for our contributions to society.
About our logo...
Our logo has many interpretations. One of which is a representation of the tree of life, (or specifically a Banyan fig tree). Each person who comes through the collective will pass on their knowledge and use their success to feed the next generation of activists. Tthus, like a well rooted fig tree, building such a strong foundation it would be impossible to tear us down. As a coalition of groups, we have sister groups which we depend on for support and growth to expand our footprint and build a more stable and sustainable foundation.
Our theme color purple is very significant throughout herstory and has many representations in Black culture and throughout herstory of people forced on the brinks of oppression. From the anti apartheid protest (The Purple Protest in Capetown 1989) to it's signifer of royalty. Purple represents the people and a movement that is in solidarity with like-minded movements fighting for similar demands to be met. Trans people, gender non-conforming persons, womn, the disabled, laborers, immigrants and more. Unlike the red umbrella, (the international symbol of Sex Worker rights), purple represents a long herstory of people pushing back against the oppressive class and fighting for humn, civil and workers’ rights globally.