Reflections from Fired Up!’s 1 year anniversary celebration

The work we do, to many, appears contentious. “Oh, you work in the jails? With women? What’s that like?” People have trouble understanding. As I’m not always the best at giving appropriate or diplomatic answers, I thought, if I could define our work to people in one way, it would be have been to invite them to our first birthday party. Our small, warm fundraiser last month so clearly showed me how special we are, how evolutionary we are. Joanna’s film emulates so much of what we do in Fired Up!—struggle, cry, grow, collaborate, breathe, enjoy, let things be. Evolve. LaKesha’a story is simultaneously one of the most painful yet inspiring, something that for me, connects so deeply to the work we do in SF County Jail’s E Pod and in our community as a whole. I feel so grateful to LaKesha and Joanna for collaborating and making a riveting piece of political art that we were able to share and keep sharing.

Sharing our work and our hearts with people takes time, takes understanding. I am so grateful to the wide array of folks who came to join us for our celebration and contribute to our movement. I feel especially fortunate to have shared the evening with three members of my family, who all had different experiences but ended with one common thought—how proud they are that they know someone doing “this work.” And that’s all of us, that’s them for coming to support. That’s you, who came to witness, donate, and celebrate! We are in this as a whole. We cannot be cohesive without our diverse mix of experiences, skills, backgrounds, and passions.

Fired Up! is family, plain and simple. Our fundraiser birthday party emulated just that to me—that in Fired Up! we do more than just organize. We do more than political work. We live our lives together, we thrive together. There is no one way to define what we do, and I’m happy with that. Thank you for joining us as we continue to find ourselves—as we all continue to evolve throughout this crazy life! Here’s to another year of resistance, education, movement building, and community. WE FIRED UP!

-Mira Stern, Fired Up! member

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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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