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Sex Workers Invite You to “Sit With Us” for Brunch

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On Sunday, June 2, International Sex Worker’s Day, also known as International Whore’s Day, communities all over the country will gather to advocate for the health, safety, and protection of sex workers. Bay Area harlots, escorts, street workers, strippers, Dominatrixes, and porn and cam performers invite you to “Sit With Us.” Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS), a peer-to-peer support organization for and by sex workers, will be taking over Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland from 11 am to 4pm.

Last year, our June 2nd gathering took place in response to the passing of FOSTA / SESTA (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act), legislation which has further criminalized and endangered sex workers throughout the United States. We gathered over 500 Bay residents and shut down the streets from Oscar Grant Plaza to the Alameda Courthouse while carrying signs demanding to “Let Us Survive!” This year, the Bay Area sex work community is convening to advocate for justice in this continuing struggle, while also celebrating how the sex work community and its allies have organized and strengthened themselves over the past twelve months.

This year’s festivities kick off at 11 am with a community brunch featuring Beauty’s Bagels. Guests will share food and music in the sunshine while enjoying the artistry of Atomic Allure’s outdoor pole performances. Kapwa Flow studio will lead a community movement practice, centering sex workers, at 12:30 pm. You can learn how to save lives at our Narcan training at 1 pm. Then connect with the twenty partnering community organizations that will be tabling in the grass, like the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Anti-Police Terror Project, Public Health Justice Collective, Harm Reduction Coalition, ACLU, Critical Resistance, and the Berkeley Free Clinic. All of these organizations are doing work in the Bay Area that intersects with and supports sex worker rights. Bring a few bucks to tip the pole performers and pick up a fresh BAWS T-shirt. 

The author of this article during the Ask First Campaign at Folsom Street Fair

At 1:30 pm speakers from the sex worker and ally community will take center stage to address some of the specific struggles and triumphs folks are experiencing in the sex trade. Cat Brooks, Celeste Guap, Gina Stella dell’ASsunta, and others will be sharing their stories and perspectives. Local sex worker and comedian Reiko Rasch will be emceeing the festivities. The band Copy Slut will be finishing International Sex Worker Day with slut-groove-glam rock tunes.

The event’s theme, “Sit With Us,” is an invitation to our broader community to rally with us to table about our respective and overlapping work, celebrate, and strengthen the intersections between issues that impact sex workers, women, people of color, LBTQIA+ folks, low-income communities, immigrants and more. We want to work across sectors and identities on our shared issues at a common table – so please sit with us, we hope to meet some new faces. This event is family friendly, all ages welcome. More info on the BAWS website.

If you can’t make this Sunday’s rally, but still want to support your local sex workers, please check out the BAWS fundraiser page for their sex worker community care structures and resources.

Later that evening the St. James Infirmary, a peer-based health clinic for sex workers, is hosting their 20th Anniversary Gala fundraiser. Giving you the perfect reason to wear party shoes for a good cause.

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Maxine Holloway

Maxine Holloway

Maxine is a sex worker, advocate, and new mom. She works for sex worker justice through the ever-intersecting avenues of community organizing, politics, education, and art. Her pornography performances and direction earned her AVN nominations, an XBIZ award, and a Feminist Porn Award. She founded the AskFirstCampaign.org to raise awareness about communication and consent. She co-founded BayAreaWorkersSupport.org, a sex worker resource organization. See more at www.maxineholloway.com (SFW)