Red Umbrella Day 2014


There was no denying the frosty temperatures as bitter winds whipped our faces and intermittent snow drifted down. As we marched the nine blocks to the Albuquerque Social Club, there was some chatter among us but mostly just the chattering of teeth. Filing into the club, signs still thrust in front of us to make an impact on just one more set of eyes, we began to gather in the back bar and, after a few minutes to settle, we started to gather around the pool table that serves year after year as the site for our candlelight vigil.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, the shared body heat left us warmed and forgetting the cold outside. Sera explained to the group that we would each take a few names and read them aloud as we lit candles. Unfortunately, we always have more names than candles and each flame serves to honor four, five, or more sex workers this year. I’m never quite sure when it is as we circle round the table reading names, that the voices begin to crack and people start groping for hands to hold for support. Maybe it starts with the very first name.

Once each candle is lit, we offer the group a moment to list their people–their friends and family members that are sex workers who are loved and worried after or who have already fallen. Then a collective moment of silence followed by hand squeezes and half hugs before we settle in for some conversation that dances the lines of solemn expressions of mourning, loss, grief, worry, and anger until it reaches the point of camaraderie and laughter and hope.

This year, amid friends and allies and fellow sex workers, we experienced an abundance of emotions. We had some new faces that brought their stories and drank in the love and fellowship. For me, this event serves as two vital parts of my subculture–honoring our dead and connecting the living. My deepest desire each year is that we have fewer people to mourn and more people stepping out of the cold to stand and fight and love with the living.

Save the Date!

When: March 7th, 2015

Where: The Albuquerque Social Club

What: Next year, in honor of Sex Worker Rights Day, SWOP-NM will be producing a drag show. It is sure to be heart-felt, funny, exciting, and more! We’ll be bringing you some of the best performers in the state to raise awareness and lift our spirits!

Stay tuned–more details to come.


Red Umbrella Day

red Umbrella

Basic Details:

Wednesday, December 17th – 6 to 8pm

6pm, meet at PEP Office, 149 Jackson NE, then walk to Albuquerque Social Club, 4021 Central NE in Albuquerque

Contact: Sera Miles,, 505.260.1324

See you on December 17th!


Join us as we honor the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers (aka Red Umbrella Day) for the fifth year in Albuquerque.

We’ll meet at the PEP Office at 6pm to collect signs and red umbrellas. From there, we’ll Slut Walk to the Albuquerque Social Club, where we will hold our candle lighting and reading of the names ceremony. Following the ceremony, we will open the floor to all attendees to speak.

We have signs and two red umbrellas to share. Please do feel welcome to bring your own signs relating to the ideology of sex work legalization and/or decriminalization; the West Mesa murders; and/or physical, psychological, state-sponsored, and/or institutional violence against sex workers.

Please consider bringing a red umbrella and wearing red!  Want to learn more about Red Umbrella Day

Red Umbrella Day 2011.2

I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.

—Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer, a man whose reign of terror over almost twenty years resulted in the known deaths of more than 48 women)