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Haymarket Pole Collective
The Oregon Health Authority recently awarded a nearly $600,000 COVID-relief grant for Black and/or Indigenous sex workers, as well as sex workers of color throughout the state. Funding comes from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), prioritizing tribal communities and communities of color in Oregon.
The group PDX Stripper Strike—the Portland chapter of Haymarket Pole Collective—gained traction as a chapter early in summer 2020, at the height of the pandemic. The group was chosen to distribute funds because they have developed an extensive network of sex workers of color.
PDX Stripper Strike is currently seeking applications and distributing mutual aid to workers who must apply individually for the funds. The money is meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and its effects on sex workers of color. According to Cat Hollis, who is the Haymarket Pole Collective founder and a collaborator with The Old Pro Project in Portland:
“[Sex workers] are suffering right now, and they don’t have anywhere to turn. We’re providing educational grants, professional development grants, and direct aid — rent support, food, and hygiene supplies — to sex workers most impacted by prejudice and COVID. Organizations like ours are the only things keeping sex workers from falling through the cracks.”
We’re inspired by the important and necessary work Hollis and The Haymarket Pole Collective are doing to help our community survive at a time when our most vulnerable are being left behind.
Microgrants & Supplies
PDX Stripper Strike accepted applications for microgrants to pay up to $1,600 toward rent relief, $500 dollars for utility relief, and $150 to help connect homes to internet access.
The group is also distributing totes that include:
- a mail-in COVID test and other health tests
- reusable masks
- menstrual and personal hygiene supplies
- household sanitation products
- emergency preparedness supplies
- gas and grocery gift cards
- thermometers and blood oximeters
- a variety of sanitizer products and personal protective equipment
- information on safe and sanitary best practices
The applications are now closed, but if you go to the link to apply, you can fill out a different form so you’ll be contacted for future resources like this. It’s really important for people to fill this out so we can demonstrate need to funders and be in touch with you when more resources are available.
Donations can be made to the PDX Stripper Strike through its fiscal sponsor, the YWCA of Greater Portland.
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