We are approaching July 7, the date which will mark the passing of Sharmus Outlaw, visionary leader for the rights of sex workers and transgender communities, HIV/AIDS policy and outreach expert, friend and humanist.
A July 7 celebration of the lives of sex workers for SANCTUARY IN STREET ECONOMIES in Philadelphia will be dedicated to Sharmus Outlaw. The event will be begin at 6 pm with speeches, poetry and remembrances of Sharmus beginning at around 7 pm. Food will be provided just as Sharmus would have wanted including mac 'n cheese (vegan/gluten free), greens, fried chicken (gluten free) and buttermilk biscuits. Please join us in this convening to meet, converse, eat and learn. Bring your kids (once again Sharmus would have approved). Location: Toward Sanctuary Dome, Thomas Jefferson University, Lubert Plaza, 10th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The event is also a benefit for Janet Duran, co-founder of the NJ Red Umbrella Alliance, a sex worker led organization fighting for the rights of sex workers in New Jersey. Janet was arrested in mid-May 2017 and donations from the event will help her with legal fees to end the cycle of repeated incarceration. This event is organized by Project SAFE and the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance.
Can't make it to Philadelphia for July 7? Here are some ideas to inspire you to celebrate the life and legacy of Sharmus Outlaw. If you are hosting or attending a cookout or BBQ during the July 4 weekend, take a moment to honor Sharmus. Read a poem out loud for your friends (she loved Maya Angelou), say a prayer, fill your plates. Talk to the young folks hanging off to the side, the ones who don't seem to feel like they are ever included, find out what they are thinking and listen to their dreams. Encourage them. If you feel it is right, suggest that they look up the hashtags #sharmus and #sharmusoutlaw to learn more about her. Maybe it will get late at your event, everyone is still there, and the music is playing? It's time to work the impromptu runway because that would be #soSharmus (tweet pics and video). Any and all of these actions are also very appropriate for July 7 which is a Friday and a perfect night for events and actions of all kinds. Hand out condoms, give out literature, rage that there are not enough services anywhere for young trans people and that there is not enough information to address HIV in rural areas. Organize a fundraiser. Dance. Have a dinner. And if you get to the evening of July 7 and you think it is too late to organize something, here are a couple of ideas. Tweet out healing in the name of #sharmusoutlaw. End a conflict, see another's point of view. Make a call, say I love you. Call your mom. Remember that back when she was still with us, if your phone was going off after midnight it was almost certainly #Sharmus. CELEBRATE SHARMUS OUTLAW.