The Netflix series is launching the Poussey Washington Fund, an initiative focused on criminal justice reform.
Though Orange Is the New Black is coming to a close, the show will live on — and not just on Netflix. Beyond its already-secure legacy as a defining work of the streaming era, a new initiative seeks to expand the show’s impact beyond the cultural, into the realm of social activism.
At the Netflix series’ final season premiere event in New York on Thursday, OITNB creator Jenji Kohan announced the Poussey Washington Fund, a real-life fundraising initiative. The fund, named after the show’s beloved character (played by Samira Wiley) who was killed by a corrections officer in season 4, will support eight non-profit advocacy groups. The organizations focus on criminal justice reform, protecting immigrants’ rights, ending mass incarceration, and supporting women who have been affected by it.
OITNB‘s final season, debuting Friday, July 26, features a fictional version of the Poussey Washington Fund, with Taystee (Danielle Brooks) working to offer micro-loans to women getting out of prison.
“Through the Poussey Washington Fund, our characters can live on and continue to make an impact after the show has come to an end,” Kohan said in a statement. “Taystee recognized an opportunity to make a difference for her fellow inmates, and we saw no reason why we couldn’t launch our own initiative to have an effect in the real world.”
The initiative is supported by GoFundMe.org, and donations will be evenly distributed between the eight organizations: A New Way of Life: Reentry Project, Anti Recidivism Coalition, College & Community Fellowship, Freedom For Immigrants, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Woman and Girls, unPrison Project, and Women’s Prison Association.
“We have seen how Orange Is the New Black has impacted you and people all over the world,” Wiley says in a video announcing the fund (which you can watch above). “We’ve been honored to tell these stories of these characters, and we’ve learned first-hand that the system is failing women, both inside and outside of prison walls.”
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