CUAV (Communities United Against Violence) visits Fired Up!

In early September, Maisha and Carolina, members from the organization CUAV or Communities United Against Violence visited Fired Up! and led a workshop for our members inside. CUAV has been around since 1979 and is a fierce organization dedicated to transforming violence and oppression within LGBTQ communities through a focus on safety, liberation and healing. With Maisha and Carolina, we engaged in a discussion about self-determination and used our bodies to communicate our struggles through a Theater of the Oppressed exercise. We are so grateful for their visit and hope to continue to build with CUAV!

Below is a reflection from Carolina and Maisha:

We at CUAV were thrilled to be guests at Fired Up! We felt so welcomed and so comfortable with the group, especially because of the great feeling of warmth between the incarcerated women and the group facilitators. Listening to the women introduce themselves and share a little bit about their lives, we felt how this group offers time and space for each woman to heal and step into her power. Even though we were first-time guests, everyone in the room was very open to us, as if we’d been there all along. They asked questions about our work with LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) survivors of violence, engaged in lively dialogue about what self-determination means to them, and best of all, everyone jumped into the group activity without hesitation, enthusiastically participating in our Theater of the Oppressed game about reflecting on a time when you made a choice. Together, we laughed, remembered our struggles, and explored what it means to lift up our voices and listen to one another by using our bodies, instead of our words. At the end of the group, one of the incarcerated Fired Up! members wowed us with a poem about her survival, and it was really touching to witness the support she received from the other members. Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and we felt honored to be a part of it.

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About FIRED UP!

Fired Up! is a grassroots network of people who have been or are currently, behind the walls of SF County Jail building community with others who are committed to breaking down the barriers those walls produce. In September 2011, two former prisoner members of California Coalition for Women Prisoners began a weekly "Personal Empowerment" group for women and male-identified people at SF County Jail. Six months later, nearly a dozen people go inside weekly and several members, who have been released, are part of our collective as it takes shape on the outside. There are members in the jail who have attended Fired Up! meetings every week since it began. Together, we seek to build a vision of community rooted in principles of healing, self-determination, and social justice movement building.
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