Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Friday, Jul. 14 2:45 PM (Central)
Ends: Friday, Jul. 14 3:45 PM (Central)
Room: Salon C-5/6
Many movements rely on the experience, energy and leadership of individuals with past and present sex trade experience. Yet, sex worker voices are often maligned or silenced in these same movements, such as exclusion from Pride festival events, reduced presence in marches for reproductive rights or consideration in demands for racial justice. This panel brings together Chicago-based sex worker activists and leaders along with movement experts to share the impact of silence on the past, a snapshot of what is being done in collaboration today and how justice-oriented leaders can take action to welcome sexworker voices and join to address key sex workers’ rights initiatives, including decriminalization.
Shane Lukas is the Creative Strategist behind A Great Idea. Founded by Shane in 2015, AGI is an agile, empathy-first, content-led brand strategy agency that powers messaging for companies and organizations across the country. By coupling over two decades of producing award-winning digital and print design with his three decades of nationally and internationally recognized equity- and rights- centered activism, AGI allows Shane to share his framework with partners across the country. And because so many of our partners are changing the world for the better, AGI is motivated to bring our best every day. We are honored and grateful to join with them to achieve their goals.
Betty Devoe co-founded SWOP Chicago in 2006, leading the program for more than 10 years. She has been a sex worker and activist for 25 years, starting with GBLTQ & Anti-war activism with Bash Back & The Radical Cheerleaders. She also has organized and performed with Cabaret of the Nameless, a queer sex positive performance art troupe for over 15 years. Recently, she co-founded the Everleigh Collective, which provides mutual aid for Chicago sex worker communities. She was also accepted into the young leadership program of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation in 2009 and contributed as a member of the Amnesty International Advisory Council for Sex Work Decriminalization.
Melodie Garcia is the Co-Director of New Moon Network and a public sector consultant specializing in human services program design, grassroots organizational development, and community engagement. Melodie has 12+ years’ experience providing community organizing and education, as well as providing direct services to people living in poverty. In her consulting practice, she helps government agencies develop trauma-informed programming for low-resourced and over-policed communities including drug users, sex workers, and people living unhoused. Melodie is also a policy analyst, writer, artist, and skillful facilitator. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy, and a Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Management; aside from education she brings important lived experience as a peer in behavioral health and as a participant in the sex trade. Learn more at orangecapconsultation.com and newmooonfund.org.
Originally from Chicago, Kiah Morris lives in Vermont where she served in the general assembly as a State Representative from 2014-2016 and 2016-2018. She is the first African-American and person of color elected from Bennington County and the second African-American woman to be elected to the legislature in Vermont history. In that capacity, she served on the House Health Care and Judiciary Committees, Vermont Judicial Nominating Board and was co-chair of the tri-partisan Legislative Women’s Caucus. Her story of success and struggle have been covered in over four dozen media outlets including CNN, The Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, Essence Magazine, Canadian Broadcasting Company, PBS, BBC Radio and Vice Media.
She is an award-winning, in-demand trainer, speaker and presenter. She provides consultative services, workshops and presentations on issues of diversity, equity and leadership for organizations across the globe. She is a co-chair of the Vermont Commission on Women and a Councilor with the Stte of Vermont Enviornmental Justice Advisory Council. She is a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America, is on the advisory councils for Emerge Vermont.
Kiah also holds an accomplished artistic career as an actress of stage, film and television, spoken word performance, as a singer, dancer and arts manager. As an arts advocate with a passion for community-based art, she has produced numerous special events, concerts and art exhibits during her career. Her work focuses on amplification of voices of the oppressed, issues of human rights and social justice. She is also the author of a recently published book of poetry Life Lessons and Lyrical Translations of My Soul.
KoCo is a sexuality professional, cultural worker, pleasure activist, domina, and an erotic-vibrational healer whose practice explores the ABCS (art, beauty, culture, & sexuality). They utilize multimedia & dialogical education to cultivate erotic intelligence in collaboration with facilitation, edutainment, and public speaking. As a revolutionary within the sexual freedom movement, KoCo has circumnavigated the globe facilitating community conversations & delivering keynotes on sexuality and pleasure. KoCo is SWOP Chicago’s policy advocate coordinator, working towards full decriminalization of sex work via street outreach, grassroots organizing, and coalition work. KoCo’s work extends to collaborating on PrEP4Love Campaign, hosting forums, arts programming, podcasting, and writing for spectrum journal. KoCo is currently pursuing a DIY PhD at School for the Ecocene.