Contact: AF3IRM Seattle, [email protected]
Today on February 14th, AF3IRM observes Purple Rose Day in honor of those exploited by sex trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, and fetishization. This is a day to reaffirm the struggle to end gender-based violence and the exploitation of women, children, and gender-oppressed people. The purple rose is a flower artificially bred for profit and pleasure. The existence of the sex trade is similarly an imposition on the land and bodies of so many for the sake of imperialist profiteering and exploiter pleasure. Therefore, we reclaim our purple roses through our commitment to ending the military prostitution complex. On this day, we choose to honor survivors of the trade on Duwamish land with a memorial of flowers at the cross sections of Aurora Ave. N./90th, Aurora Commons outdoor space. We give immense gratitude to Aurora Commons for holding space for the memorial and for providing so much care to the community on the blade. Also, as a memorial of honor and love for the sisters and survivors in our community. We see you. We love you. And are honored to know you. If you’d like to leave a rose for a survivor at the space, please do. If you’re a survivor, we invite you to take a rose for yourself and your sisters, this beauty is for you. Till all are liberated and free, we fight.
This installment is to honor those in our community who have lost their lives this year due to the violence they experienced within and as a result of the global sex trade and the military prostitution complex. We will continue to grieve them, miss them, remember them, and say their names. These flowers are love.
These flowers are a material representation of your presence. This love and kindness is for you: those who are currently in or have been in the life, those who have experienced sexual violence, those who live at the intersection of oppression based on race, gender, class, and sexuality. This love is for those who are thriving, those who are struggling, and everyone in between. Regardless of what brought you here, to this moment, to this display on this block: if you are in the life, this love is for you. Every day, we fight for you, we celebrate you, and we keep you close to our hearts. You are loved, we love you and you matter to us!
Please take a rose, or several, to share with the women in your life. You are important and you are deserving of so much love.
Every day, women and femmes— particularly our Indigenous, Black, and Brown sisters— face untold levels of discrimination and violence at the hands of individuals and systems of oppression: white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, and misogyny. Our labor and our bodies are treated as commodities that can be exploited and discarded. This community, this city, and this country are built on our backs. We deserve to feel and be safe. We deserve to feel and be free. We deserve more than crumbs at the dinner table; we deserve the whole feast.
As survivors of interpersonal and state-sanctioned violence: we stand with you. As transnational feminists, women of color, as mothers, as daughters, as sisters— we are committed to fighting alongside you for true liberation, for our collective future. We feel immense grief for those who have suffered and those who have lost their lives on the blade, Duwamish Coast Salish land, and worldwide in the global sex trade. We invite you to share this experience with your grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, or anyone who needs support. ‘We see you.’
Lastly, we feel rage for your experiences of exploitation. We promise to channel that rage into demanding accountability of those in power, working to reduce the stigma and harm experienced by people in the life, and actively fighting towards an end to our collective suffering. We do not approach this from a sense of saviorism but from a place of desire for collective liberation. ‘Til all our people are liberated and free, we fight!
Love the sisterhood,