Stand with Monica in Court
In May 2013 after protesting a sting operation targeting sex workers in Phoenix known as "Project ROSE," transgender rights activist Monica Jones was falsely arrested for "manifestation of prostitution" as part of the sting. Monica repeatedly asked to speak to a lawyer and was denied. The police claim that they don't arrest anyone during Project ROSE, that all they are doing is offering people a ride in a police car in handcuffs. So, people transported to a participating church are prevented from accessing legal counsel. Now that Monica has received her summons to court she is going to fight her rights and for the rights of others targeted under these police actions.
Support her fight for her rights and for all! She needs the community to show their support in Phoenix and beyond. She is pleading NOT GUILTY and taking this to trial in November 2013.
If Monica wins her case, this will be a significant victory for all people targeted by anti-prostitution and related laws in Arizona. Her victory will help make it clear to the powers that be that when an activist's rights are under attack that the community will stand up and fight back. Monica's fight is supported by Arizona Prison Watch, SWOP-Phoenix, SWOP-Tucson and many more local groups. Monica is a well respected, young transgender activist who has fought for the rights of transgender students at Phoenix College (and she won) and in many other locations.
What happens if Monica doesn't win? Unfortunately she will be sentenced to 30 days in jail. Jail and prisons are NOT safe for anyone in Arizona so we hope this won't happen but if she does go to jail her struggle for her rights will continue. And we will call on all of you out there to help us keep her safe in whatever way she needs until she is released.
Perks and Benefits
We need to cover the costs of additional legal research and any additional representation. While we love public defenders, the problem is that in almost all cases (98%), people charged with something in Arizona plead guilty. Monica needs excellent legal information to help her mount a good fight for her to plead NOT GUILTY.
We will also use money raised to create fliers and materials and to support outreach to distribute information across Phoenix to inform the communities of people affected by Project Rose and policing (homeless groups, trans communities, sex workers, migrants) of their rights and to build interest in Monica's case.
The perks offered in Monica's Indiegogo campaign come from the community spirit of activism in Phoenix. We will send you personal thanks. We will chalk your name or slogan in front of the court and send you a digital photo of it for your FB page or to print and put up in your cubicle (or where ever it is that you are making the money to donate to us). We are also offering personalized art works and t-shirts created by Monica herself.
More about what Monica is fighting forManifestation of prostitution is a vague and oppressive Phoenix law that allows the police to arrest anyone they think might be a prostitute and is frequently used against the transgender community. If she wins her case this will be a victory in itself and we will have educated many people in Arizona about the problems with policing and discrimination. As the campaign continues activists in Phoenix will seek ways to push back on the manifestation statute as unconstitutional and defend the rights of many more people in Phoenix and beyond. Stings such as Project Rose that violate the rights of large numbers of people profiled as prostitutes, will also be challenged.
Other Ways You Can Help
We know that so many of you out there who would like to support Monica's cause do not have the financial means to make a contribution. We understand, and we know that you need to take care of you and your family first. But you can make a bunch of noise online and at your events about our campaign raising awareness of it and the rights violations that are happening in Arizona every day. Parties and fundraisers are being organized in Phoenix for Monica and we invite you to come. If you are an artist or performer we could use your help pro bono to make our events great. If you can photocopy or print some fliers that would help too.
Team on This Campaign:
Organizer and Activist, SWOP PHX