We are so refreshed for the fights and victories coming in 2017. While we were missing parts of our PrYSM Fam, we were so glad to be able to take the weekend and hold space for each other and ourselves.
Peace, Love, and YOUTH POWER!
Private Security Alongside Community Safety
Providence Youth Student Movement
Thursday, December 15th 2016
“Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear.”
Who is PrYSM?
Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) is a community based organization whose mission is to mobilize Southeast Asian (SEA) youth and queer youth of color and their families, and allies to build grassroots power and organize collectively for social justice. For over 15 years, we’ve worked in the SEA community of Providence, Rhode Island to build the power of young people and lift the voices of those most marginalized in this state.
Between Sunday afternoon (12/11) and Monday morning (12/12), PrYSM’s community space was invaded and violated. At around 10 AM, PrYSM staff entered the space and noticed things were amiss. Furniture, office supplies, and eating utensils were arranged in meticulously unsettling ways; file cabinet doors and desk drawers were all left open. The space was relatively clean, there was no mess and no papers were strewn about. We swept both rooms and did not notice anything missing or taken. However, in the middle of the community room, there were knives stabbed into our table and a nylon rope hanging from a hook in ceiling, the end tied into a noose.
The noose, as symbol of lynching and a tool of white supremacist terror, is a threat to Black lives and cannot be ignored. Its presence in our sacred space means we must fight back by recommitting ourselves to the movement for Black lives in Providence, the United States, and globally.
At this moment, many of our supporters have encouraged us to secure our space by installing cameras and an alarm system. We take this decision seriously, as heightened security measures undermine our principle of decreasing surveillance of already heavily policed groups. At the same time, the physical and emotional safety of youth and other communities who use our space is a priority. Frankly, this is a discussion that cuts to the core of what many other community organizations are grappling with--maintaining safe spaces in an era of heightened state surveillance–and we would love to open up this discussion to the Providence community.
Ultimately, these tensions reflect broader issues that underlie our campaign for the Community Safety Act (CSA) [www.providencecommunitysafetyact.wordpress.com] and the Community Defense Project (CDP) [www.prysm.us/programs/communitydefenseproject]. To this end, we hope that this attack will not be seen as an isolated incident, but one which continues to implicate long-standing concerns regarding systemic injustice, racism, safety and policing in our communities. For instance, the recent vandalism of mosques and Islamic centers throughout Rhode Island; explicit homophobia; aggressive deportation campaigns targeting undocumented immigrants; restrictions on refugee admissions; and the revival of anti-abortion politics; reflect just a sampling of anti-Black racism, islamophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, anti-semitism and anti-immigrant sentiment that will continue to grow in the Trump era.
Calling the police was never an option we considered. PrYSM is inspired by a dedication to decreasing state violence. Rather than engage local law enforcement, who pose a consistent threat to our safety and dignity, as they patrol and surveille our community, we hope to engage community models of safety, based on transformative justice, so that we can start imagining abolition of prison and policing as reality. Given the explicit racism evident through this vandalism, we are in the process of registering this incident with the Southern Poverty Law Center. In this moment, it is imperative to register this as a hate crime so that it is recorded amidst the growing database of national hate crimes in the fallout of a white supremacist political climate.
The outpouring of love and support has been tremendous and humbling. We are so thankful for the generous donations that have arrived and are embroiled within serious internal discussions about the best way to ensure our safety. These discussions have been incorporated into our ongoing efforts to pass the CSA–as this will create pathways to transformative justice, which will empower community members to address the underlying feeling of insecurity within our community. We take the issue of our private security concerns very seriously, but are working to resolve them alongside the priorities of community safety. Many people have asked how they can support PrYSM in other ways. As always, we ask that people support community-based struggles and our ongoing liberation work, such as the CSA and the CDP.
Rather than close down the space as we regroup from this traumatic violation, we are committed to keeping our space as open as possible. In the spirit and belief in community, we would love to convene an open meeting with community members Friday, January 6th 2017, from 6-8 PM at PrYSM (669 Elmwood Avenue, Suite B7; Providence, RI).
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 383-7450.
It’s finally here! We are less than one week away from our annual fundraiser.
This year, we are striving for more. We are not just about funding an organization, but rather about funding a larger movement as we head into 4 years of white supremacy in presidential office.
We are asking all members of the community to provide us with their resources as we take up larger roles into movements centered on Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and Not1More deportation campaigns. We are working around the clock with not just our local community, but also our national and international community of people of color, LGBTQ*, low-income, disabled, undocumented, immigrant, refugee, youth, elders, and so many more identities that are consistently marginalized.
We are committed to you, to us, to everyone. So we ask you to commit to us and the work we are trying to do.
While tickets for our fundraiser are sold out, we are asking you to make a donation at our Paypal and to follow our movement closely. We want you to be a part of our family as we work to protect yours.
With much love,
the Providence Youth Student Movement
On August 19th, at 5pm at the PrYSM office, there’s going to be…
the most delicious…
the most inspiring…
BLOCK PARTY PrYSM HAS EVER HAD !! (it’s our first Block Party actually)
Please join us as we have food, performances, and various games/activities starting at 5pm.
Located on 669 Elmwood Ave, we will be celebrating community safety and pride through food, art, games, performances, and support are all key components to solidarity. We want to hear the community’s experiences with police misconduct, profiling, and safety, which align with our other campaigns such as the Community Safety Act and the Community Defense Project.
Providence Youth Student Movement
RI PRIDE 2016 STATEMENT
Saturday, June 18th, 2016
Good afternoon Rhode Island Pride members, Rhode Island government officials, members of LGBTQIA communities, families, friends, and supporters.
Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge that we are standing, marching, parading, and celebrating on stolen Narragansett and Wampanoag lands. We onor the indigenous communities whose lands we are occupying. We also honor the Black and Brown communities who have experienced and continue to experience violence on this land.
We are members, coordinators, and family of the Providence Youth Student Movement, also known as PrYSM. PrYSM organizes at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation by centering youth, women, queer, and people of color leadership in our campaigns, our organization, and our communities. PrYSM mobilizes queer Southeast Asian youth, families, and allies to build grassroots power and organize collectively for social justice. Our program, Queer and Trans Thursdays creates safe spaces for queer and trans* people of color to advocate for ourselves, support our communities, organize for political empowerment, and build community.
This year, Rhode Island Pride has named PrYSM “Honorary Marshals” for the 40th RI Pride Parade. In addition, RI Pride representatives, in conjunction with Mayor Elorza, supports the over-policing and increased surveillance of RI Pride. According to Options Magazine, RI Pride representatives met on Monday, June 13th, with Providence Police, Rhode Island State Police, the Providence Emergency Management Association, and local business owners, “to review [their] safety plan and coordinate [their] efforts and communication,” after the Orlando mass anti-LGBTQ shooting. As a result of RI Pride and Mayor Elorza’s blatant disregard of the trauma, histories, and experiences of LGBTQ people of color with state violence, PrYSM rejects the position of Honorary Marshal. PrYSM rejects RI Pride’s tokenizing of communities of color. PrYSM rejects RI Pride.
In response to a tragedy where predominantly Latinx and other people of color were murdered, Rhode Island Pride defaulted to encouraging the police and other institutions that perpetuate violence against LGBTQ people of color to violate our communities. It is telling that RI Pride chose to work with local businesses and representatives of State Violence before communicating with the local and grassroots organizations that work to defend marginalized communities every day, and that RI Pride uses for its diversity shots in Pride propaganda.
The roots of Pride are embedded into a history of police violence. The Stonewall Uprising of 1969, and the courage of queer and trans* people of color fighting against police forces that continuously brutalized their communities catalyzed the first American Pride parades of 1970. Pride is a symbol of LGBTQIA communities’ survival against forces of oppression, hatred, and destruction. We must recognize that the police and the oppression they sustain are simply extensions of the violence that took the lives of our queer siblings in Orlando, of our queer siblings overseas slaughtered by U.S. warfare, and our queer communities attacked by the same cops who claim solidarity with us during Pride then beat us once the rainbow flags are lowered.
PrYSM has prioritized community safety since our inception, arising in response to gang violence that put the lives of Southeast Asian Youth at risk. PrYSM will be continuing our legacy of keeping marginalized communities safe and prioritizing the real NEEDS of communities of color. We will be boycotting Pride until RI Pride prioritizes queer and trans people of color.
We are calling for:
– Decreased police presence and surveillance of communities of color during RI Pride
– Financial and programmatic support of local grassroots organizations that seek to find alternatives to the police for community safety
– Rhode Island Pride must make public efforts to support LGBTQIA people facing or experiencing homelessness, to demonstrate support for our most endangered community members
– Rhode Island Pride must encourage other organizations to support the Community Safety Act, a city-wide ordinance that would protect the people of Providence against police misconduct.
PrYSM will be hosting an alternative Pride celebration later tonight at India Point Park from 6pm to 9pm. This celebration is for LGBTQIA-identified or allied people who would like a safe, welcoming, and free space to celebrate our survival and to heal from the violence against our community. If you would like to build community with us, you may speak to one of our coordinators or members to join.
For more information, contact Charles at email@example.com or Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In regards to the Pulse Orland shooting, PrYSM and its program Queer & Trans Thursdays are committed as always to our community. We will provide what we can for those who need it (especially queer & trans* folks), whether it’s a meal, a friend, or a space to be yourself. We will continue to fight for the liberation of all our people, especially queer & trans* folks.
We know it’s not a lot, and we wish to be able to provide everything that our community needs right now so that we can stop fearing for our safety. But we hope that with this effort, we are closer and closer to our liberation.
In regards to Rhode Island Pride, PrYSM has been invited as Honorary Marshals. We are glad to be a part of this year’s parade, especially as our hearts are heavy with our queer & trans* siblings that we have lost in Orlando. We will be bringing the same message we always bring: that we need community safety, that we need less police, that we need resources for our youth.
Please join us this year as we march and demand more for our community. Too long we have been asking for the basic necessities that have been denied to us, such as housing, employment, safety. So we will continue to march, and shout, and scream and do whatever it takes so that our queer & trans* family feels safe, protected, but mostly loved.
Check out the facebook event for more details.
The Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) is proud to announce the launch of a new program called the Community Defense Project (CDP). Developed by Steven Dy (former lead organizer) and Shannah Kurland (community lawyer), CDP aims to a variety of services to community members who have faced police brutality.
CDP aims to offer:
PrYSM hopes that through CDP, we will be able to further reclaim our streets and take safety back into our own hands. If you are interested in learning more about the program, contact our Organizing Director Steven or Legal Director Shannah. Check CDP out on Facebook too and look out for us at CSRI’s Khmer New Year’s Celebration where we will be officially launching the program.
If you’re interested in helping out or finding out more about the work CDP is doing, feel free to fill out and share this google form.
We want to wish you all a happy new year and many blessings to the our community, our family, and our friends. May this one be our best one yet as we continue our fight for love and justice!
Come celebrate with PrYSM and Cambodian Society of Rhode Island at the CSRI’s Khmer New Year Celebration next Saturday April 23rd at the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet! We will be there to debut the Community Defense Project, outreach for the Community Safety Act, and do cop watch! Come say hi, dance the marizone, and ring in the new year with us!
Peace, Love, Power,
So, we’ve noticed that it’s kinda hard to donate to PrYSM.
Which defeats the purpose.
Luckily, we’ve made it easy by using a tinyurl. If you want to donate but don’t want to visit our website or are passing the URL along to a friend, give them this link: http://tinyurl.com/prysmpaypal.
We hope that this will make things easier!