Late last year, Fitchburg Police attempted to push through a $50 million so-called “public safety facility”. It is evident that they tried to finesse the community and approve the budget with little to no information shared with the public. Fortunately, the mayor was able to pause the process, and now it's up to the community to put an end to this irresponsible use of public funds.
Freedom, Inc.'s members, and allies believe public funds should be invested in the Black and Southeast Asian community, not in planning and preparing for our arrest and destruction. We see that the economy is crumbling, poverty is escalating, and people are desperately needing affordable housing, healthcare, food, and access to social services. This is especially true for most impacted people, like women facing domestic violence, young people, immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ folx. The police continue to ignore the needs of the community in favor of locking us up for surviving white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism.
The US Supreme Court ruled that expressive businesses are allowed to deny services to LGBTQ customers
On Friday, June 30th, the US Supreme Court ruled that expressive businesses are allowed to deny services to LGBTQ customers. The outcome of 303 Creative v. Elenis creates an opportunity for businesses to use their religion as legal excuse to discriminate.
This ruling is an attack on the Queer community, it is inherently Queerphobic and Transphobic, and rooted in the far right, conservatives values held by a majority of our current Supreme Court. The impact it will have on our communities will be profound. Already marginalized in daily life, our people will be facing threats and violence from people who have more social and economic means, and will now have legal basis to exclude, humiliate, and cause violence to members of the LGBTQ community.
There is a myth of the “progressive present”. Which would have us believe that every form of oppression happened “back in the day” and we are steadily improving as a society as we learn more about each other. In reality, ignorance and lack of information was never the reason why our people have been and continue to be beaten, killed, harassed, and locked out of resources. It has always been continues to be about advancing a white supremacist agenda to continue exploiting us to their social, political, and economic benefit. We are constantly engaged in a struggle with the establishment to make room for our people to heal, grow, and thrive.
This current wave of Supreme Court decisions is a direct result of our most recent bout with the oppressors. Following our Global Movement for Black Liberation in 2020 and 2021, the state has made clear their commitment to maintain “order and control”, a very white, Christian, patriarchal order. The Supreme Court’s decisions — from overturning abortion access, to gutting affirmative action, to sanctioning the discrimination of our people — are in alignment with these efforts.
July 4th is a day that is widely associate with the celebration of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Yet so many of us, especially Black and Southeast Asian Queer, Trans, and Intersex folx are still not free, and are continually fighting for our lives. This past week, we have been reminded that this country was built from the exploitation of people like us, and its leaders will continue to make decisions that seek to destroy us.
At Freedom, Inc, we believe that WE WILL come together and overcome, WE WILL fight for the world we deserve, and WE WILL be free in our lifetimes. Follow us on our social media for opportunities to take action, and defend against attacks on our communities following this Supreme Court ruling. Join our mutual aid network to help us build healthy and well resourced communities. As always, we will continue to do what is right for and with our people.
Love and Power,
The supreme court has never had the best interest of our people in mind. The overturning of Affirmative Action on June 29, 2023 is an attack on our aspirations and opportunities, as it perpetuates a system that intentionally excludes us from educational programs, institutions, and positions of power. How dare we try to get ahead in a country that was created by our blood, sweat, and tears.
The supreme court already knows that their decision to overturn Affirmative Action will impact Black people, Southeast Asian people, people of color, women Queer folx, and disabled folx. They did not rule this way because they did not know it would harm us - they ruled this way because they were very clear it would harm us.
By dismantling Affirmative Action, the court has effectively sanctioned a divestment in the leadership and representation of Black people, Southeast Asian people, and people of color. This decision serves as yet another example of how the supreme court consciously continues to embolden white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. This cruel strategy aligns with their attacks on bodily autonomy and low-to-no income students and families suffering from student loan debt.
Again, this highlights the urgent need for our continued organizing to abolish systems and institutions that mean to do us harm and implement community control. Freedom, Inc. will continue to invest in the leadership, wellness, and creativity of our communities until we are free from all forms of state violence.
F*** The Supreme Court
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Over the past few days, Freedom, Inc. has received an outpouring of requests for M-95 masks and air purifiers from our elderly members and those with young children. They have seen the news about the Canadian wildfires creating dangerous conditions for us here in the Northeast about the "red sky" and the asthma flare-ups and hospitalizations of their children and grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They are wondering why the mayor or county hasn't said or done anything.
As Freedom, Inc. prepares to mobilize over $50,000 in rapid response mutual aid over the next few days, we are wondering the same thing. Where are our leaders in this impending public health and safety crisis?
Since the beginning of June, wildfires in Canada have impacted multiple provinces and states, resulting in air quality advisories and putting people at higher health risk. The severity of the situation was demonstrated earlier this month when an orange haze covered New York City. It is evident that Canada's wildfires are intensifying, and this is only the beginning of the wildfire season.
On the afternoon of Monday, June 26th, the air quality in Madison plummeted from moderate to unhealthy, with an air quality index (API) of 164, with particulate matter small enough to enter our lungs. Madison reached an exposure level of PM2.5, putting people at a higher risk of infection and worsening existing respiratory problems. These significant public health concerns must be addressed, and actions must be taken to limit the health risks to the Madison community, particularly among the economically, socially, and health vulnerable.
According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is the most significant environmental health risk today and is estimated to contribute to 7 million premature deaths annually. Approximately 91% of the world's population lives in places where air quality is unhealthy.
The worsening air quality is a health equity issue that disproportionately affects marginalized communities, including Black people, people of color, refugees, immigrants, and poor people. These communities are more likely to live near factories and dumpsites and have less access to resources like filtered air ventilation, air purifiers, masks, and health insurance that would protect them from poor air quality.
The lack of timely response from local governments to address these safety and health concerns is telling of the current budgeting patterns and priorities of our local government. We continue to see an overwhelming amount of resources meant for public safety being poured into the police force, an institution that cannot fight forest fires, or improve the air quality. While our local leadership continues to fund them at disproportionate rates to actual life-affirming infrastructure, such as housing and food security, we all continue to suffer the consequences as they are unable to respond in a timely manner to our actual health and safety needs. Public safety for our communities means divesting from the police and pouring into resources that actually keep us safe. Public safety for our communities looks like holistic healthcare, financial stability, and housing for all. Public safety for our communities is community control. By the community, for the community.
Given the hazardous air quality in Madison, we call upon the elected officials of Madison and Dane County to protect the local community by issuing an emergency shelter-at-home order anytime the AQI climbs above 151, levels considered 'unhealthy' by federal environmental and health agencies. An Emergency shelter-at-home order will minimize the exposure of Madison residents to harmful air pollution, ultimately reducing the risk of respiratory infections and other health problems.
Further, the Capitol Building and other government buildings must be open to unhoused people who are at an increased risk of exposure to worsening air quality. Local recreation centers, churches, malls, and other facilities should also be available to anyone in the general public who does not have access to air filters or other pollutant mitigation equipment or families lacking physical space at home, particularly families with children.
Of course, shelter-at-home orders do not impact all people the same. People who can afford to take off work or work remotely are not impacted like those who do manual labor, outdoor labor, or people who simply cannot afford to miss work. As such, we advocate for investment in public health by guaranteeing the income of low-to-no-income individuals who are financially impacted by shelter-at-home orders.
In addition, those designated as "essential workers," who cannot shelter at home due to the public interest of their work, must be provided with adequate personal protective equipment and hazard pay.
Freedom, Inc. will continue to protect our community by providing life-saving services and resources. We will continue to push elected officials to invest in our communities. We will pour resources into providing rapid response resources to combat health equity issues. Because we under that, WE KEEP US SAFE.
Love & Power,
Madison Common Council Declares the City of Madison a sanctuary for Trans and Non-binary individuals
On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the Madison Common Council declared the city of Madison a sanctuary for trans and non-binary individuals, just four days after Dane County passed a resolution and became the first county in Wisconsin to be a sanctuary for trans and non-binary people.
While we recognize that these acts are the first because of the growing support for fascist politics in the US, Freedom, Inc. is clear; a municipal declaration opposing ‘measures that would allow legal violence’ against a segment of its own population is not even a low bar. It is the foundation underneath the floor. Of course, so far in 2023 there have been over 500 anti-trans bills introduced in various legislative bodies across the US, many targeting trans youth from accessing extra curricular programs or gender-affirming care. Because of these hateful policies and laws, 44.1% of trans youth are losing or at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care and mundane activities that most others take for granted.
As such, the response to attacks against our bodily autonomy and the promotion of violence against transgender and other queer persons, must be more robust than proclamations opposing legalized patriarchal vigilante violence performed in the name of religion. We must Marshall social resources to actively defend trans and queer folx from this violence, offer material support to those in need of housing and other basics and provide the health care necessary for our folx to develop, thrive and live full and happy lives.
Madison proclaims it ‘opposes measure that would allow legal violence towards trans people.’ So what resources are being marshaled to defend trans folx from legal and vigilante violence?
Madison proclaims ‘their commitment to protecting transgender and nonbinary individuals.’ So what resources are being marshaled to protect those individuals fleeing oppression from nearby non-sanctuaries for their own safety ad well-being?
Madison proclaims that ‘access to healthcare is a fundamental right and all people in Madison and the State of Wisconsin should have access to all health care.’ So what resources are being marshaled to make health care, including gender-affirming care, accessible to those who cannot afford to purchase health insurance, pay deductibles and copays and the incidental costs associated with accessing health care in the first place?
These challenges are not reserved for Madison, but include Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, Middleton and the entire region.
For this to be truly safe place for trans and non-binary people, there must be resources marshaled to address financial stability, homelessness, food deserts, education and access to holistic health care. Trans and non-binary people should not have to decide between employment, education and access to a full range of holistic health options. Trans and non-binary people deserve not just to live, but to live a quality and fulfilling life. Governments have a responsibility to not just oppose legalized violence, but to promote and facilitate the development of human lives.
To be clear, thees dual proclamations are important victories for the social justice organizations who fought for them, particularly in the face of hate and real threats of violence. Sanctuary city status can serve as a critical first step to turning the tide of hate into a blanket of love. We salute, celebrate and thank the local and regional organizations that fought hard to mark this moment possible.
We no call on those organizations, and all of the individuals who love justice, to organize towards marshaling tangible resources in support of trans and non-binary folx.
Freedom, Inc. will continue to be a safe and loving space for Black and Southeast Asian Queer, Trans, and Intersex people, providing radical direct services in service of building community and developing queer and trans social justice leaders.
Support our queer justice work by donating to our Give OUT Day fundraiser at www.bit.ly/GiveOUTDayFl. Your donation makes it possible for us to provide radical direct services and leadership development such as our annual Queer Scholarship. Our scholarship program has supported Black and HMoob LGBTQI+ community members awarding recipients financial support for continued education or health and wellness. This year we have increased our scholarships to 8, because of the impact of these anti-trans bills. For more information on the Queer Scholarship program, please contact Zon Moua at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love & Power,
Freedom, Inc. Queer & Trans Power Team
Most of the rights that we take for granted—such as the right of children to not work in coal mines, workers to a 40-hour work week, women to open a bank account without permission from a man, to sit where we want on the bus, to love who we want, and even of non-property owning white men to vote—were won through organizing, campaigns, and direct action.
This truth is exactly why Freedom, Inc. engages in cutting-edge and hard-driven campaigns that center direct action as a means of expanding rights for everyone, thereby making the world a better place. For example, we receive all sorts of negative attention for our campaigns and actions designed to bring about a world in which Black people are not murdered by the state and children are able to learn in a healthy environment without armed police. Much of that negative attention comes from right-wing media, including a prominent right-wing website’s recent attack on Freedom Inc. and other Madison organizations advocating for abortion rights.
We engage in these campaigns because we know the world will be better when we win and that this is the only way to win.
At this historic juncture, when so many of our rights are literally under attack, both the danger in and the necessity of direct action campaigns is increasingly evident. Direct action campaigns are needed to secure, defend, and even re-win our rights.