Partners
Isadora Productions

Exit Art

Safe Horizon

CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies - The Graduate Center


 

 

 

 

 

 


Participants
Andolan: Organizing South Asian Workers

Gulnahar Alam


Association of the Bar of the City of New York - Immigrant Women and Child Project

Alisan Boak

International Organization for Adolescents

Josh Fox

Alice M. Miller

Debra Pearlman

Jean Reilly

Ron Russell

Sophia Skiles

Suzanne Tomatore

Juhu Thukral

Urban Justice Ctr – Sex Workers Project



Isadora Productions
is a professional theatre production company that inspires compassion, encourages creativity and cultivates new voices through the innovative development of works that highlight the common experience. Isadora Productions creates work that demonstrates the power of the spoken word through imaginative collaboration with directors, writers, actors and performing artists of all genres.

Becoming Natasha is a collaborative multimedia production inspired by Victor Malarek's book about the global sex trade, The Natashas. It follows the stories of 6 trafficked women and narrates their capacity to survive at any cost. Becoming Natashas, was co-created by Stacey Cervellino and Anna Klein, is directed by Nancy S. Chu and Anna Klein, and includes video by Susan Pavlin. It is currently being produced as part of the New York Six Figures Festival.

http://www.isadoraproductions.org

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Exit Art's mission is to create and present exhibitions and programs that explore the diversity of cultures and voices that continually shape contemporary art and ideas in America. Exit Art is also committed to bringing to public attention the work of under-recognized and emerging rtists and experimenting with the convergence of film, video, performance art, music, design and visual art in its programming. Since its founding in 1982 by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo, Exit Art's exhibitions, projects and performances have expressed a unique creative vision that has frequently challenged traditional notions of what art is and offered new opportunities to bring together the artist and public. Over the past twenty years Exit Art has acquired a substantial international reputation for curatorial innovation, providing crucial support to artists at the beginning of their careers and anticipating the newest trends, movements and ideas in the culture at large.

http://www.exitart.org

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Safe Horizon is the nation's leading nonprofit victim assistance, advocacy, and violence prevention organization. Founded in 1978, the mission of Safe Horizon is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families, and communities. Safe Horizon, through funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice, operates the Anti-Trafficking Program for trafficked persons in the New York City metropolitan area.   The Anti-Trafficking Program provides the following: Direct Services: Safe Horizon provides and/or coordinates direct services such as intensive case management, shelter or housing referrals, crisis counseling, and legal assistance to trafficked persons.

  • Training and Education: Safe Horizon conducts workshops and clinics for service providers, law enforcement agents, community groups, and professional organizations countrywide. Training and technical assistance is provided nationally to other NGOs working with trafficked persons.
  • Local and National Networks: The Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program convenes and facilitates the New York City Service Network comprised of diverse service providers, advocates and attorneys who share best practices, create partnerships and coordinate long-term services for trafficked persons in the New York metropolitan area. Safe Horizon is also a founding member of the Freedom Network USA, a nationwide coalition of 16 organizations whose mission is to empower trafficked and enslaved persons.
  • Community Outreach: The Anti-Trafficking Program staff works closely with small community-based organizations, immigrant groups and other entities that can help with the understanding and service needs of this complex problem.

http://www.safehorizon.org/

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The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) was founded in 1991 as the first university-based research center in the United States dedicated to the study of historical, cultural, and political issues of vital concern to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and communities. By sponsoring public programs and conferences, offering fellowships to individual scholars, and functioning as an indispensable conduit of information, CLAGS serves as a national center for the promotion of scholarship that fosters social change. CLAGS makes its home at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016.

http://web.gc.cuny.edu/clags/index.html

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Andolan (Organizing South Asian Workers) is a not-for-profit, membership-based group that organizes and advocates on behalf of low-wage, immigrant South Asian workers. Andolan was founded in 1998 by low-income South Asian workers. These workers are primarily domestic service workers as well as workers in restaurants and retail stores, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Thousands of such workers enter the United States yearly to work for diplomats and private citizens who reside in the New York City area. The types of jobs done by low-wage South Asian workers often entail long hours and low pay without benefits. Exploitation and marginalization are common. Other problems faced by this group include sexual harassment on the job, domestic violence in their isolated familial lives, and immigration irregularities.

Andolan, which means "movement" in several South Asian languages, seeks to educate workers about their rights, persuade employers to pay a living wage and raise public awareness about abusive industry conditions. All Andolan members are low-wage workers and primarily women; many are undocumented.

Andolan is strongly committed to a vision where all workers are respected and able to realize their rights. Andolan’s goal is to support and empower working-class communities that face obstacles including language barriers, discrimination, and immigration status. Most of the members are employed as babysitters, housekeepers, and restaurant workers. In implementing its goals, Andolan prioritizes the central leadership of its members; Andolan strives to break a system of dependency so as to foster worker empowerment.

One of Andolan's principal strategies is to bring lawsuits against and public attention to abusive employers. Claims include violations of federal and state minimum wage laws, sexual harassment and abuse, assault and false imprisonment; successful cases have resulted in payment of back wages and other damages. Given the power disparity between the employer and worker, Andolan also organizes protests outside employers' home and workplaces to get response to specific grievances and to raise public awareness.

Andolan also has various campaigns in which we aim to reach out to workers directly in the community. We train current members to outreach to other low-wage South Asian workers in order to inform these other workers about their rights. Regardless of immigration status, workers have rights under both New York State and Federal laws.

We further strive to educate the community at large about worker’s rights through workshops, seminars, press conferences, and demonstrations.

Our target population is currently under-served by government agencies. Barriers such as language and citizenship, as well as increased fear and profiling after September 11, add a new urgency to Andolan’s work with community organizing and education for the South Asian immigrant community. 

Andolan is funded by the following foundations:

• Open Society Institute
• New York Women’s Foundation
• Jewish Fund for Justice
• Fund for the City of New York

Andolan was also a recipient of the Union Square Award in 2001.

Gulnahar ("Nahar") Alam is founder, Executive Director, and Lead Organizer for Andolan Organizing South Asian Workers, which was formed in 1998 as a community group focusing on organizing low-wage South Asian women workers. Ms. Alam was born and raised in urban Bangladesh. She has been an organizer in the United States and Bangladesh for almost 20 years, and has been organizing South Asian immigrant workers in New York City since 1993. She has been a garment factory worker and domestic worker in New York City, and helped found the Domestic Workers Project of SAKHI for South Asian Women, which led to her work as an organizer for several grassroots Asian-Pacific Islander community organizations including Worker's Awaaz, the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities), and the Asian-Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV and AIDS (APICHA). She also helped develop the Streetwise Cultural Diversity Curriculum for the New York Police Department in 2001, and has been working with Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) to support and organize workers incarcerated by the INS and facing deportation. Ms. Alam has received the Susan B. Anthony Award from NOW, an award from the Petra Foundation, a Union Square Award from the Fund for the City of New York, the Sneha Award for work in fighting for the rights of Domestic Workers in the U.S., and the City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. Award. Ms. Alam also received the Revson fellowship in 2003/04.

http://www.andolan.net

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The Immigrant Women and Children Project recruits and trains volunteer attorneys to help immigrant victims of domestic violence seek freedom from their abusers and attain legal status in the United States. Founded in 1996, the Project was developed to assist women and children prepare self-petitions to regularize their immigration status without relying on the sponsorship of an abusive spouse or parent. Through this process our staff and volunteer attorneys seek to remedy a historically coercive circumstance that perpetuates violence in the home. Volunteer attorneys assist clients with the preparation of immigration applications, including those needed to obtain work authorization. In 2002, our Trafficking in Persons component was added to the Project. We train law enforcement, community-based organizations, and NGOs about the legal remedies available to victims of human trafficking. In addition, we represent victims of trafficking in obtaining legal immigration status and public benefits, as well as provide counseling on civil, criminal and other legal issues.

www.abcny.org

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Alison Boak, MPH, Executive Director
International Organization for Adolescents

Alison Boak is a co-founder and Executive Director of IOFA. Alison has a wealth of experience developing, implementing and managing public health programs for adolescents in many countries, particularly in Eastern and Central Europe. She has worked primarily on issues relating to adolescent reproductive and sexual health including gender equity, violence prevention, and human trafficking.

In 1997 Alison began her work globally to address the problem of human trafficking. She is a founding member of the Freedom Network USA for Trafficked and Enslaved Persons, the New York City Task Force against Sexual Exploitation of Youth, and the New York City Community Response to Trafficking (CRT) Working Group. Additionally, she has designed several successful anti-trafficking program models and has conducted numerous trainings on human trafficking for community organizations, criminal justice agents, and government leaders both in the United States and abroad. She was also responsible for designing and implementing the training for the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline, the first nation-wide anti-trafficking hotline in the United States. She is the author of “Dimensions of Human Trafficking” in Human Trafficking: Basic Tools for an Effective Response and the editor of Smooth Flight: A guide to preventing youth trafficking. She is also a member of the Freedom Network Training Institute on Human Trafficking and a co-author of Human Trafficking and Slavery: Tools for an Effective Response. She is also the executive producer of Smooth Flight, a documentary film that explores young people’s experience going abroad to work. Alison has been invited numerous times to present her work at the United Nations and she was selected by the U.S. State Department to serve as a U.S. delegate to the WoMen and Democracy conference in 2001 which focused on human trafficking. She has served on several anti-trafficking advisory committees including the Catholic Charities USA Advisory Task Force on Domestic Child Trafficking and the National Child Welfare Advisory Board organized by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Alison has been recognized by New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York State Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for her contributions to the anti-trafficking effort in New York City.

Alison served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Latvia from 1994-1996. She was also the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in public health. She has served as an adjunct lecturer at York College, in Queens, NY and as a board member of the Friends of the Baltics. She received her training in Public Health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the Division for Population and Family Health. Alison speaks fluent Latvian and conversational Russian.

www.iofa.org

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International Organization for Adolescents, an independent, nonprofit organization based in New York City, was formed in 1999 to advocate for the rights of young people and to offer technical assistance to programs and services that benefit adolescents around the world. IOFA works in partnership with communities, organizations, governments and individuals in more than 20 countries. IOFA has developed an excellent track record in providing its project partners with a range of technical assistance services including training and technical support, program development and integration, organizational development and support, and service-based research.

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Josh Fox is the founder and Artistic Director of International WOW Company, a theater group with a membership including 45 actors, dancers, musicians, technical, and visual artists spanning 15 countries on 4 continents. With International WOW he has conceived, written, directed, and produced over 35 productions in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and New York City, which have included The Expense of Spirit; The BOMB; Limitless Joy; The Comfort and Safety of Your Own Home (Top Ten of 2005, NY Theatre Wire); HyperReal America (Top Ten Shows of 2001, Time Out NY); Death of Nations, parts 1-4 and The Trailer; Orphan On God’s Highway; Soon My Work; This is Not the Ramakian; The Sleeping and the Dead; Stairway to the Stars; and American Interference (Best in the Fringe Festival, Village Voice). He is currently shooting Memorial Day, a feature film adaptation of The Comfort and Safety of Your Own Home, which is being executive-produced by Jim McKay and Michael Stipe.  He will be creating Pax Americana, a new version of the Oresteia, with Playwright Chuck Mee in 2006.  He was an Asian Cultural Council fellow in 1999 and is a Steering Committee member of THAW (Theaters Against War). 

http://www.internationalwow.org

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Alice M. Miller, J.D. is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, focusing on gender, sexuality, human rights and humanitarian issues. She also teaches at ColumbiaÕs Schools of Law and International and Public Affairs. She works on the progressive development of international law and policy vis a vis, health, gender, sexuality and rights, with particular attention to the intersection of human rights and humanitarian action, the impact of legal regulation on rights, and rights-based approaches in health programming. In 1998-1999, she was a Rockefeller Fellow in the Program for the Study of Sexuality, Gender, Health and Human Rights at the School of Public Health.

She has worked for 20 years as staff or volunteer with NGOs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Human Rights Law Group on human rights issues in the US and globally. Her scholarship and advocacy has addressed gendering humanitarian law, safe migration and anti-trafficking policies, criminal law, and specifically abolition of the death penalty, womenÕs rights, sexual and reproductive health and LGBT rights. She writes and publishes regularly in both scholarly and activist venues on these topics. Ms Miller completed her BA at Radcliffe College/Harvard University in 1979 and her JD at the University of Washington in 1985.

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Debra Pearlman Most recently, Debra Pearlman's work has been included in the group shows Lolita at AG Gallery in Williamsburg and a Color Wheel at the Times Square Gallery, both in 2005. Her work has been shown recently in several other group shows: at Collaborative Concepts in Beacon, New York; in Uncommon Portraits, Uncommon Views, at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut, (well-reviewed in the New England Art Journal); and in Paper, at Metaphor Gallery in Brooklyn, where her work was a criticÕs choice in New York Magazine. Other recent exhibitions include a one-person show, Hot off the Press at Silicon Gallery in Philadelphia.

In the fall of 2004, Pearlman presented her installation, House of Children, at the Lodz Biennial in Lodz, Poland. Included was a large installation of suspended glass and images casting ghost-like shadows onto beds of salt. Milk Quilt was included concurrently in the exhibitions Rendering Gender at Truman State University Art Gallery, Kirksville, Missouri, and Body Virtual at Gallery 128, Westchester Community College, where she was invited to a lecture.

In 2003, she took part in the Print Biennial at William Paterson University in New Jersey, for which she was awarded Best in Show by David Kiehl, curator of prints at the Whitney Museum of Art. This led to a one-person exhibition in January 2004, entitled Shakespeare Speaks.

Pearlman has received a special editions grant from The Lower East Side Print Shop where she produced Some Girls, in addition to an individual project grant where she produced Tattooed Memories. Her work is included in the collections of The Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Walker Art Center, The International ArtistsÕ Museum in Lodz, Poland, the archive of The Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Public Library.

Debra Pearlman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked as an educator for the Museum of Modern Art and as a freelance educator for other museums and educational institutions for over fifteen years. She is a teaching artist at Lincoln Center Institute, where she works with students and teachers. She has been a visiting artist at Princeton University, William Paterson University and long Island University.

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Jean Reilly Prior to being the Executive Director of the International Organization for Adolescents, Jean Reilly was a Senior Manager at the Synergos Institute in New York. Synergos delivers technical assistance to community-based non-profit organizations throughout the world. Before this Jean was the Director of Downside Up, a Moscow-based charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for disabled children and their families. While in Russia Jean was a member of the board of directors of the Center for Humanitarian Aid, a nonprofit which provides services to Russia's homeless; and worked closely with Operation Hope, a nonprofit which helps Russian orphans; and Babalina, a Georgian nonprofit organization that works with disabled children. Jean has also worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Center for Financial Engineering in Development (CFED), on civil society projects throughout the developing world. Jean possesses a BA in History and an MA in International Affairs.

www.iofa.org

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Ron Russell, Founding Artistic Director, Epic Theatre Center
After acting as Founding Artistic Director of the nationally acclaimed Summer Theatre Enrichment Program at El Centro de Servicios in Lorain. OH, from 1992-1995, Ron founded UBI Repertory Theatre in San Diego (which reached over 2,000 needy local students with theatre education programs in 18 months), then came to New York City as Education Director at Theatre For A New Audience.  From 1996-2001, Ron administered one of the nation's most exciting and in-depth programs for introducing New York City Public School students to Shakespeare, serving over 25,000 students during his tenure, and created new programming including the Playwriting Program at Project Renewal, an assisted living facility for formerly homeless men.  Ron sat on the Arts-in-Education panel of the New York State Council on the Arts from 1998-2001 and acted as an educational advisor to programs across New York City and State.  He has also directed extensively regionally along with 12 Off-Broadway productions, including 6 for Epic.  His classroom experience includes over 50 educational sites, and his work as an educator and education administrator in NYC has been recognized by citations from the Municipal Arts Society and Mayor Bloomberg.  

http://www.epictheatrectr.org

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Sophia Skiles, Steering Committee, Theaters Against War
Sophia Skiles is an events coordinator for THAW. For the past two years, in addition to other Steering Committee duties, she has organized the Freedom Follies, THAW's monthly pro-peace cabaret, which is held in various THAW member theater spaces. She has appeared in various off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway venues as an actor and is also an active teaching artist.

http://www.thawaction.org

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Suzanne Tomatore is the Director of the Immigrant Women & Children Project at the City Bar Justice Center. The Project assists victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and gender-based violent crimes in gaining lawful immigration status. Prior to joining the City Bar Justice Center, she was a recipient of the Open Society Institute Community Fellowship for implementing and directing the Immigrant Community Domestic Violence Project, hosted by CUNY School of Law Immigrant Initiatives. Ms. Tomatore also teaches immigration law at the CUNY Graduate Center School of Professional Studies. She is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law.

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The Sex Workers Project (SWP) created in December 2001, the Sex Workers Project is the first program in New York City and in the country to focus on the provision of legal services, legal training, documentation, and policy advocacy for sex workers. Using a harm reduction and human rights model, the SWP protects the rights and safety of sex workers who by choice, circumstance, or coercion remain in the industry.

The Sex Workers Project (SWP) provides legal services and legal training, and engages in documentation and policy advocacy, for sex workers. Using a harm reduction and human rights model, we protect the rights and safety of sex workers who by choice, circumstance, or coercion remain in the industry.

The SWP provides critical information to policymakers, activists, and the media on the human rights abuses faced by sex workers and those who are at risk for engaging in sex work. We use documentation-based advocacy, policy analysis, training and education, and collaboration with community-based service providers to advance practical, long-term solutions to the problems faced by this vulnerable and marginalized population. We document the lives of sex workers and put a human face on violations of their human rights.

The SWP works to ensure that the criminal justice system appropriately responds to the needs of sex workers; that victims of trafficking in persons have access to legal and other benefits; and that community-based service providers who work with sex workers have the expertise to assist them. The SWP works in the following areas: criminal justice reform; trafficking in persons; and human rights documentation.

The SWP is a project at the Urban Justice Center (UJC). The UJC serves low-income and marginalized New Yorkers through a unique combination of direct legal services, systemic advocacy, community education, and organizing. For information about the UJC's work, please visit www.urbanjustice.org . The SWP maintains this website to provide additional resources and information specifically about and for the sex worker community.

www.sexworkersproject.org

Juhu Thukral, J.D. is the Director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. Her work on the legal concerns of sex workers combines Ms. Thukral’s background in working on economic justice, health, and safety issues for low income women of color, particularly immigrant women, and her past work on the labor rights of sex workers. Prior to her work at the UJC, she was a Fellowship Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York and a Ruth Chance Law Fellow at Equal Rights Advocates in San Francisco. She is a co-author and co-investigator of the reports,  Behind Closed Doors: An Analysis of Indoor Sex Work in New York City (2005), Revolving Door: An Analysis of Street-Based Prostitution in New York City (2003), and The Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1995: Examining the Effects of Mandatory Arrest in New York City (2001).

www.sexworkersproject.org

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