Help Write to Win raise $250 by December 23!

29 11 2011

Dear friends, allies, and comrades near and far,

Since 2009, the Write to Win Collective has been connecting with transgender and gender non-conforming prisoners in Illinois through our volunteer-led penpal project. From Cook County Jail to Tamms Supermax Prison, Write to Win has grown in ways we never imagined. For two years, we have been providing gender-affirming emotional support and friendship; reading material; and political solidarity and advocacy to trans and gender-variant folks on the inside, as well as to those who are returning home from prison.

As a collective, we see individual correspondence with people on the inside as one piece of the larger struggle to abolish the prison industrial complex and to create safe, sustainable, and equitable communities. To this end, we see our work as a way to undermine the isolation, dehumanization, and destruction of the PIC by building grassroots networks of support and solidarity between folks on the inside and folks on the outside.

Write to Win has always relied on community support to keep the project going. Over the years, we have partnered with organizations such as Critical Resistance, Chances Dances, and the Transformative Justice Law Project to raise funds to help pay the cost of office rent, shipping, postage, and other collective expenses. Since our inception, collective members have also been paying large amounts of money out-of-pocket for these costs.

We have recently experienced a dramatic decrease in outside membership, and given the current economic situation, find ourselves unable to meet the costs of maintaining the project. Sadly, we will be moving out of our beloved home of two years to cut these costs. But we still need your help!

This holiday season, please consider making a donation* to Write to Win so we can continue the work we do. Help us reach our goal of raising $250 by December 23. Your donation will help us pay for the last several months of our office rent, and will help us gain the stability to continue operating the project out of a different (free) space. (*Donations are not tax-deductible)

Donations can be made via to (The name on the account is John Thompson and will appear on your transaction receipt.)

Donate $1 or donate $20. Any amount helps. Thank you for your continued love and support!

In struggle,

Write to Win Collective

Book Drive – March 19!

1 03 2011

Have old books that are taking up too much room on your shelf? Donate them to Write to Win Collective! Join us on Saturday March 19, 2011 as we collect books to send to trans, gender non-conforming, queer, and allied prisoners. Several penpals on the inside have recently requested books and reading material on a variety of topics, so bring whatever you can!  Stop by our office at 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave. anytime between 11am-4pm to drop off books, take a tour of our office space, meet other people involved in the collective, and snack on some refreshments! Hope to see you there!

Critical Resistance: National Day of Fundraisers!

28 09 2010

Critical Resistance and the Write to Win Collective invite you to a


Join us to raise money, have fun, and build power to abolish the prison industrial complex!

This October, CR is partnering with different allies in cities across the US in a National Day of Fundraisers, and trying to raise a total of $1,000 at each event ($500 for each organization). We see this as a way to collaborate and build interdependence with others who are doing this important work, and to explicitly practice grassroots fundraising that is cooperative. The Chicago event is being organized in coordination with the Write to Win Collective, and all proceeds will be split between CR and WTW.

Info for the Chicago event:

Friday October 8, 2010
6325 N Lakewood
9pm – 2am
$5-20, no one turned away

Drink tickets sold at door w/ ID

Music – Dancing – Bar – Games – Politics

Music provided by DJ Ang (People’s DJ Collective)

Close to Loyola and Granville Red Line stops,
and Clark, Broadway, and Devon buses.

A limited number of passes for street parking will be available at the door.

Critical Resistance is a national grassroots organization working to build a movement to abolish the prison industrial complex. (

The Write to Win Collective is a penpal project for transgender, transsexual, gender self-determining, and gender-variant people who are living and surviving inside Illinois prisons. We stand firmly behind the values of transformative justice, gender self-determination, and prison abolition, and see these values as fundamental to our project. (

Cruel and Unusual: Film Screening and Discussion

27 03 2010

Saturday, April 3 2010

2pm to 4pm
Biblioteca Popular
1921 S. Blue Island
Chicago, IL

Cruel and Unusual is a 2006 documentary film that tells the individual stories of five transgender women living and surviving in the US prison system. The film provides a glimpse into the ways in which trans and gender non-conforming people are targeted and criminalized by the prison industrial complex, and reveals the many ways these individuals and their communities are directly affected by intersecting oppressions on multiple levels.
The film will start promptly at 2pm. Please join us for a discussion following the film.
Please bring a $5 donation for the Write to Win Collective or stamps to send letters to prisoners. No one will be turned away for a lack of funds.


February 13 Penpal Gathering!

3 02 2010
Write to Win Penpal Gathering!
Saturday, February 13th 2010
2040 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago IL 60647

Come meet all of the other awesome and fierce people who are taking part in this correspondence project that promotes solidarity with transgender, transsexual, gender variant and gender self-determining people in Illinois state prisons.  We are so excited for your interest and involvement with Write to Win and we want you to all meet each other!

We’re planning on having an informational session from 1pm-2pm to explain the basic logistics of correspondence with penpals, talk about the goals of Write to Win, and to try to answer questions that you may have.  Those who are new to Write to Win are encouraged to come.

From 2pm-4pm we’re planning on having a resource/skill share–a general lovefest!  We’re aware that you all bring a whole array of skills and knowledge to Write to Win and we would love for you to share.  Open to those already involved and those new to the project.

There’s a kitchen at the location, so feel free to bring snacks if you want.

Please RSVP us at

Note: The Alternative Media Center, the location where we are hold the event, is not fully accessible–it requires climbing stairs.  Please let us know if you are not able to attend, because of accesbility.

Fundraiser! Save the date!

18 12 2009

The nice folks at Chances Dances will be hosting a fundraiser for Write to Win Collective and Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois at their monthly queer dance party in January! Spread the word and see you there!!

1st Informational Meeting!

18 08 2009

We are excited to announce the first Write to Win Collective informational meeting!!


Saturday, August 22 2009

2040 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Chicago, IL

3:00 – 5:00 pm


At this meeting, we will be meeting, greeting, providing information, and brainstorming about the penpal correspondence project, which we are SO EXCITED ABOUT!!! We want to know your thoughts (and share ours) about Write to Win, strategize and solidify details about correspondence, and discuss the process of being a penpal on the outside!

We are also really thrilled that the Alternative Media Center, located at 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave, is hosting our first meeting! The Alternative Media Center houses a collection of socialist, feminist, ecological, queer, anti-racist, labor movement, and anarchist materials, and has its office in the same building as In These Times magazine! You can learn more about their space at

Please email us to RSVP at, and feel free to share the information with others that might be interested in getting involved! Collective members will be bringing a few snacks to share, and if you want to, you could bring some too!


We at Write to Win would also like to recognize that the Alternative Media Center space is not fully accessible, and requires people to climb stairs. We feel dedicated to finding a more well-equipped space for future meetings, and want to apologize for this upfront. If people who are planning on attending this meeting are not able to be present due to accessibility, please let us know.


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email us. If you need directions to the Alternative Media Center, you can go here:


We can’t wait to see your fierce and amazing faces at this meeting!


In Solidarity,
Write to Win Collective

Introducing the Write to Win Collective

15 07 2009

The Write to Win Collective is a new Chicago-based penpal project for transgender, transsexual, queer, gender self-determining, and gender-variant people who are living and surviving inside Illinois prisons. Members of the Write to Win Collective are radical trans, queer, and ally activists, youth workers, social workers, writers, lawyers, and community organizers working in solidarity with prisoners by providing consistent support, resources, and dialogue to people living on the inside in our communities. We stand firmly behind the values of transformative justice, gender self-determination, and prison abolition, and see these values as fundamental to our project.