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Archive for September 2nd, 2010

In my column of August 17th I mentioned the “No Justice Project” of the New Orleans-based charitable organization Women With A Vision.  Then on August 26th, I sent Lorie Seruntine (my contact in the No Justice Project) an email asking for an update on No Justice in general and in particular the status of “DC”, a streetwalker branded a “sex criminal” by the monstrous policies of the NOPD and New Orleans’ district attorney’s office.  Regular readers may recall that DC faced a threat of imprisonment unless she could raise $1208.67 to pay for “sex offender notifications” to be sent out so she could move into Catholic Charities Voyage House, a housing program for women.  Here is the pertinent portion of Lorie’s response the next day:

Maggie:

Hi! I am so glad that we were able to get the word out.  Thank you so much for the article, it was great.  When we get the website updated I will put a link to the blog on the page.

As for DC, we still have yet to be able to raise any outside funds to help her.  She told me that she borrowed most of the money from other people, but has to pay them back ASAP.  The program where she is living has provided her with a small job, in landscaping and horticulture, of which she has an associates degree, but her first several paychecks will go to re-paying people.  But nevertheless, she is not in jail so that is what counts. She has another court date next month.

Unfortunately since the last time we spoke, WWAV found out that our Governor Bobby Jindal has slashed our family planning contract one month after we re-signed our lease for another year.  This money, which was more in value than the little money we got from National AIDS foundation, provided supplement funding to pay the rent, lights, and internet, and most of the organization’s overhead.

So, currently we are in the midst of trying to come up with fundraising ideas.  We are trying to stay optimistic, but my position may be cut down soon and the No Justice Project will suffer.  This couldn’t come at a worst time.  We have the trust of women with this conviction, they come to hang out, to volunteer, to chat, to do their own designed “Spit It Out” groups, they know where we are, etc…

But I truly believe when one door closes, another one will open. The women mentioned wanting to do a crafts group, so we got the owner of The Bead Shop to sponsor materials and classes for the women to teach them how to make jewelry, and the women have expressed wanting to sell the jewelry to help fund the organization.

I also wanted to maybe see if some girls that dance in the clubs would be willing to help in some way.  I don’t exactly know how, and honestly don’t even know how to approach it.  I had a crazy idea of talking to some of the club owners downtown to see if maybe one night they could donate the house fees or bar profits to the org.  But you know how New Orleans is, it’s all about who you know, and I don’t know the club owners.

This was my reply to her:

That’s really bad news about the contract; if I may ask how much of a loss do you need to make up?  I think the jewelry is not a bad idea, but you’ll need others for sure.  I’m afraid I don’t know any of the club owners personally; though I danced for two years they don’t exactly make a habit of getting to know strippers, and at least two of the three places I danced have changed hands since then anyway.  Still, it certainly can’t help to ask; the worst they can do is to say “no”.  Also, what about a big umbrella organization like the United Way?  Any chance of a grant from them?

I was also considering your website; how many hits do you get on it per month?  Because if you have halfway decent traffic you could consider selling ads and maybe even some kind of merchandise like mugs or T-shirts.  Desperate times and all, you know?

Good luck, God bless and if there’s anything I can do to help from home (such as proofreading documents or stuffing envelopes or that kind of thing) please let me know.

Then on August 30th, Lorie wrote:

 Maggie:

Good News!!!!  I was right on time when I said when one door closes, another opens!!!  We made our money back and then some!!  {A well-known national organization} has been funding sex worker organizations {but wishes to remain anonymous at this time pending their own announcement}.  SO now we have a money source that has absolutely no string attached, and even better no tracking or reporting necessary!!!  So far it is a one time thing, but hopefully we can maintain a good relationship with them and they might be in the giving mood later.  This also means that we can provide some financial help to women who can’t pay their fees.  Deon also did a speaking event on Saturday about the past 5 years of organizing since Katrina, and we got some monetary donations to help women who can’t pay their fees that way too.  So everything seems to be back on track as of now.  We are updating our website currently, and will be updating all the no justice stuff later in the week, so I will let you know when that happens.

The interpolations inside braces {} are mine, out of respect for this organization’s choice to remain anonymous for now.  I plan to contact them to ask when the formal announcement may come, and I’ll pass the answer along to you.  Note that so far this is a one-time grant, so No Justice still needs donations; anyone wishing to make such can call WWAV at (504) 301-0428 or email wwavinc@wwav.nocoxmail.com.  My sneaky little brain is also currently thinking of a way in which I might raise funds for No Justice; more on that in a near-future column.

Gardasil

In my column of August 8th I talked about the human papillomavirus, cause of venereal warts and cervical cancer.  Just as I was about to retire in 2006 a vaccine against this virus was finally released for public use after years of testing;  the vaccine, called Gardasil, was at first approved for young adults 18-26, then for adolescents and children as young as 9.  Because this vaccine is a godsend to working girls, I decided to research it personally by asking my physician (who, like all my medical professionals, knows I was a call girl) if I might receive it.  She called Merck Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of the vaccine, to ask if it was safe to give to a 43-year-old woman and the Merck representative replied that they had just submitted paperwork to the FDA requesting approval for recipients up to 45.  So my doctor was willing to sign off on it, and I was inoculated last Monday (August 23rd).  It was a hip injection, which meant pulling up my skirt to show my derriere in public for the first time in a long while; if I had known that I probably would have worn underwear.  C’est la vie!  I experienced no side effects for the twenty minute observation period, though I did experience no small amount of pain when I went to the clinic cashier and found that the office had misquoted the price to my doctor, and that I had to cough up almost $200 rather than the $100 they had previously quoted.  This was rendered more painful still by the realization that this was but the first of three such shots, the second due on October 22nd and the third in February.  Ouch!

But my willingness to suffer for my readers’ edification was further tested this past weekend.  On Saturday night (five days after the vaccination) my sleep was very disturbed; since I am a very light sleeper and my husband had just returned from an overseas business trip I put it down to his restlessness disturbing me in turn.  But then on Sunday night it was worse; I woke up alternately chilly and drenched in sweat, as one does during an illness.  Monday night was the same, and it occurred to me during a period of wakefulness that the vaccine might be at fault, with the fever due to my, um, more-mature-than-FDA-approved physiology struggling to manufacture antibodies.  I awoke Tuesday morning feeling achy and very flu-ish, so I called my doctor to ask if it might be the Gardasil.  Sure enough, flu-like symptoms a few days afterward are indeed a recognized side effect, for the reason I suspected.  I wrote for a while after posting Tuesday’s column but continued to feel generally icky, not exactly sick (no vomiting or dizziness or anything like that) but just tired and weak.  So I eventually had a nap, woke up feeling very slightly better, then rapidly improved until bedtime and slept like a baby that night.  I felt fine all day Wednesday (and still do this morning), so I presume the adjustment period is over.  Based on my research I feel I can heartily recommend the vaccine to all of my mature readers who are professionals, customers, swingers or just plain promiscuous (and all of my readers under 27), but if you’re over 40 you may wish to be sure you have some sick days available at work just in case you react as I did.

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