Netflix original Orange Is the New Black pushed boundaries by giving viewers an intimate, nuanced portrayal of incarcerated women. With OITNB’s final season debuting Friday, the Jenji Kohan-created series is working to help real people and communities who are affected by the criminal justice system and mass incarceration — and it was inspired to do so by one of their show’s character’s activism.
On the upcoming season 7 of Orange Is the New Black, Danielle Brooks’ Taystee creates The Poussey Washington Fund, a fund to give micro-loans to women who have left prison, in honour of her best friend (Samira Wiley) who was murdered while at Litchfield. According to a press release from Netflix, The Poussey Washington Dund is now real, though operates differently from how Taystee’s fictional one does.
Per Netflix, the real Poussey Washington foundation, which is run through GoFundMe, offers support to these eight non-profit organizations: A New Way of Life: Reentry Project, Anti Recidivism Coalition, College & Community Fellowship, Freedom For Immigrants, Immigrant Defenders Law Centre, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Woman and Girls, unPrison Project, Women’s Prison Association. People who donate to the organization will have their money split equally amongst the different groups, the purpose of which is to "rethink, revise and reform justice in America."
As a series, Orange Is the New Black has used its platform to discuss important social issues, such as racial inequality in the criminal justice system. Poussey's murder was a catalyst to bring Black Lives Matter activists into the fold of the series. Taking their activism offscreen seems like a natural next move for the Netflix show.