Milwaukee, WI, Wednesday, August 29, 2018– Milwaukee community and business leaders will gather on September 12 at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago Street, Milwaukee, WI for the Benedict Center’s Women & Justice Luncheon and Free Morning Conference.
The Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Deon Haywood, will share how Women With A Vision is improving the lives of sex workers in New Orleans through social justice and public health work. In 2009, Deon oversaw the launch of WWAV’s NO Justice Project, a campaign to combat the sentencing of women and trans people arrested for street-based sex work under Louisiana’s 203-yr-old “crime against nature” felony-level law, which resulted in a federal judicial ruling and the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry. Tickets for the noon fundraiser Luncheon are available online at www.benedictcenter.org/Eventsor by calling 414.347.1774.
New this year is the Free Morning Conference featuring local experts and leaders examining street prostitution in Milwaukee and promising solutions led by the Benedict Center’s Sisters Program and partners. Presenters include Dr. Staci Young, Associate Professor & Director, Center for Healthy Communities and Research, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin; Claudine O’Leary, Community Educator & Youth Advocate; James Mathy, Housing Administrator, Milwaukee County Housing Division; and Arnitta R. Holliman, LPC, Sisters Program Director, Benedict Center. The Moderator is State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa. The Conference runs from 9:00am -11:00 am. The Conference is free, but attendees are asked to pre-register online at www.benedictcenter.org/Events or by calling 414.347.1774.
“The revolving door of arrest and incarceration of sex workers does not solve the problem for the women or the community. A new approach is needed, and that is what we are here to present. Our goal is to ensure a public health approach to helping women addressing their underlying needs instead of criminalizing them,” said Jeanne Geraci, Benedict Center Executive Director.
Over the past 44 years, the Benedict Center has been at the forefront of providing treatment, support, and advocacy for women as an alternative to prison. Each year over 800 women receive support through its programs, including the Women’s Harm Reduction Program, the Women’s Reentry Program at the Milwaukee House of Correction, and the Sisters Program.
Jeanne Geraci and Deon Haywood are available for interviews on addressing street prostitution as a public health issue meriting treatment and support rather than as a crime warranting punishment.