Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) hasn't been on Orange is the New Black since Season 4, but her presence is felt on the show all the way through to the end of the series finale. Her death at the hands of a guard sparked a riot in Litchfield Penitentiary, the effects of which impacted the characters throughout the rest of the series. In the series finale, Poussey's best friend Taystee (Danielle Brooks) dedicated herself to making sure Poussey's memory lives on, by starting the Poussey Washington Fund to help former inmates adjust to life after prison. In the real world, Orange is the New Black is leaving behind a positive legacy beyond its life as a series by creating an actual Poussey Washington fund. Here's how to donate to Orange is the New Black's Poussey Washington Fund in real life.
Orange is the New Black has never shied away from wearing its political heart on its sleeve. As a TV series about prison, its storylines naturally address issues that affect incarcerated people in reality. Now that the show is ending, the cast and crew are making an effort to ensure they continue to do good even when new episodes aren't streaming. That's why they created the Poussey Washington Fund, which "will support eight preexisting non-profits to benefit organizations focused on social issues surrounding criminal justice and policy reform, immigrants’ rights and helping those affected by mass incarceration." Netflix announced the project on July 25 with a video featuring some cast members, which you can check out below:
Wiley appears in the video and introduces the fund by saying,
We have seen how Orange Is the New Black has impacted you and people all over the world. 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.
The Poussey Washington Fund will benefit the organizations A New Way of Life, Anti Recidivism Coalition, College Community Fellowship, Freedom For Immigrants, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, National Council for the Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Woman and Girl, unPrison Project, and Women’s Prison Association. This combination of organizations works to support former inmate rehabilitation, criminal justice reform, and immigrant justice, all of which are issues Orange is the New Black has explored during its run.
Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange is the New Black, released a statement about the Poussey Washington Fund, saying:
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.
Audiences will see a title card at the very end of the series finale that directs them to the real Poussey Washington Fund. But you don't have to wait until you finish the season to contribute; you can donate to the fund right now at crowdrise.com/PWF.
Season 7 of Orange is the New Black is streaming now on Netflix.