Change is Inevitable, Growth is Intentional
Thank you for making 2017 an amazing and exciting first year for Sex Law and Policy (SLAP) Center – one full of progress and change. Change is never easy, frequently scary, and always inevitable, but without it, how can we strive for growth?
We started SLAP Center with a vision of engaging our communities in rational dialogues around sex offender registration and notification (SORN) issues. Over the last year, we critically engaged advocates, everyday people, community leaders, and random strangers on queer and trans registry issues. We hoped to serve as a bridge between movements but learned it is not enough to focus solely on SORN policies.
There has been increased attention to sexual harm and wrongdoing with the rise of the #MeToo movement and a simultaneous willful exclusion of registry reforms in conversations about criminal legal reforms. I spoke to mentors, friends, and colleagues to figure out how we could enhance SLAP Center's mission and make the biggest impact on our community. In the spirit of Reagan, we decided to tear down our bridge and stand in the gap to strengthen alliances between reform and abolition; registry reform and criminal legal reform; queer and trans and straight activism. SLAP Center must fill that gap with advocacy and education so stakeholders are equipped to ensure equality and equity for all. This doesn’t mean we will stop our registry work; we are merely expanding it to address sexual harm from a queer and trans perspective. This new mission requires significant changes for us and our community.
Here's our plan to improve our services & overall impact:
Laser focused projects:We are designing some new projects to demystify sex offender registries and highlight their connection to the queer and trans community. Ultimately, this will allow us to demonstrate and respond to the ways in which sexual harm impacts our entire community through advocacy, education, and research.
- SLAP Down ___ (In)justice: We will partner with several organizations, led primarily by formerly incarcerated and/or gender and sexual minorities, to discuss our intersectionalities and provide steps for moving the conversation forward. It will demonstrate just how closely our movements are aligned and why we need to have these conversations on a broader scale.
- Human Be(ing):___ seeks to humanize people affected by sexual harm. This project will show that people impacted by sexual harm are all in progress, not in a static state that begins and ends with trauma or hurt. Our hope is to give a voice to people silenced in the hysteria surrounding sexual harm and illustrate the nuances of our responses to harm.
- Handprints are short, critically engaging articles that slap away judgement errors using logic and reason, sprinkled with a dash of compassion; and helps people deepen their understanding of sexual harm.
Partnering with community organizations:We are in early conversations with a number of organizations on ways to bring awareness to criminalized queer and trans folk. One of our critical partnerships is with our local LGBTQ community center to build out programming for formerly incarcerated people. We are also working with existing queer and trans orgs to discuss the ways in which their clients are impacted by sexual harm. This will allow us to help spread the word of our initiatives so we can garner more interest and support.
What does this all mean for SLAP Center?
Not much is changing for us, except that we are enhancing our services to the communities we support. We are incredibly excited to see how these changes will help free our criminal legal system from the politics of outrage and fear. We are so excited for 2018 and beyond and want to take a moment to thank all of you for your ongoing support – we simply cannot do it without you! Changes will be made in the coming days, so stay tuned for all the new project updates.