The character was fictional but the fundraising isn’t: Producers of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black have established The Poussey Washington Fund, an initiative to raise money for a selection of non-profit advocacy groups with a focus on criminal justice reform, protecting immigrants’ rights, and ending mass incarceration and supporting women who have been affected by it.
The fund is named after a now-deceased character on the show played by actress Samira Wiley. In a memorable 2016 episode, the character, an inmate, was pinned to the ground by a corrections officer and, unable to breathe, died. The fictional incident recalled the real-life 2014 death of Staten Island’s Eric Garner.
In the upcoming season of the Netflix series – launching Friday, July 26 – the character Taystee (Danielle Brooks) establishes a fictional version of a Poussey Washington Fund by offering micro-loans to women getting out of prison.
Said creator Jenji Kohan of the real-life fund: “Through the Poussey Washington Fund, our characters can live on and continue to make an impact after the show has come to an end. 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 will benefit the following eight non-profit 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, Women’s Prison Association.
The Poussey Washington Fund is supported by GoFundMe.org, and donations will be evenly distributed between the organizations.
The initiative was expected to be announced tonight at the show’s Season 7 premiere event in New York by Kohan and executive producer Tara Herrmann via the following video: