Category Archives: Behind The Scenes

Behind the Scenes: Thank you to our 2019 Grantmaking Coordination Team!

Coming off of a very full grantmaking weekend of trans justice in action, we’re feeling extremely grateful for every applicant, grantee, grantmaking Fellow, and the behind the scenes team who’s been holding it down over the last several months.

The Trans Justice Funding Project is cared for, tended to, and loved by some of the most incredible humans, including many of you!

We want to extend an extra special thank you to our fabulous team of contracted coordinators as they onboard, trained, and cheered on this years Fellows, coordinated countless logistics, and facilitated the heck our seventh grantmaking panel.  We are so lucky we got to work with these folks as they are some of the most talented organizers on the planet! They made community-led grantmaking look eassssssy!  (And it’s not!)

 

Cathy Kapua, Community Grantmaking Fellowship Coordinator

Cathy has worked with the transgender community since 2003, first starting off as a Peer Educator at Kulia Na Mamo, then eventually moving on to become the Transgender Service Manager at the Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center. Cathy is proud of her academic accomplishments in the University of Hawaii- West Oahu where she received a B.S. in Public Administration and continues to use these skills to help her Native Hawaiian community. She has been successful in advocating for transgender programming and providing culturally competency trainings throughout the nation but prides herself mainly on being a role model for younger transgender women in Hawai`i.

Cristina Herrera, Community Grantmaking Meeting Coordinator

Cristina founded the Translatina Network back in 2007, in order to organize and empower the transgender immigrant community through leadership development and education. Over the years she has served on countless panels, committees, and boards in order to provide expertise on effective HIV prevention and community organizing. Cristina has been presented with awards and recognition by NYC DOH, The AIDS Institute, City Council , the Queens Borough President and many organizations.

Cristina was formerly the Trans Program Coordinator at the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center), where she worked for eleven years. She oversaw the workforce development program that is specifically designed to meet the needs of the TGNC community. She has been working in the field of HIV prevention, advocacy and community organizing for almost 20 years.

Glo Ross, TJFP Community Grantmaking Facilitator

Glo Ross is originally from Los Angeles, CA and currently lives in Atlanta, GA. As a full-time gender-queer lover of all animals and the earth, Glo is committed to building the world we all deserve to live in by organizing power in our communities and actively practicing compassion for all beings day to day. Currently, Glo works in the public sector as a policy analyst on environmental issues. In previous lives, Glo directed campaigns at FIERCE! to build power among LGBTQ youth of color in New York City, has helped lead anti-police brutality organizing in Atlanta, and has facilitated numerous youth organizing trainings for college students across the country. In the past eight years, Glo has also supported community-based organizing strategy through technical assistance and issue research. When not facilitating or conducting research, you can find Glo hiking with their pups (two lovable rescued pit bulls), trying out a new vegan recipe, or road-tripping to the beach.

Nico Amador, TJFP Community Grantmaking Facilitator

Nico Amador grew up in California and is now a trainer, organizer and writer based in Philadelphia. Nico got his start as a trainer working with
youth around issues of oppression and leading workshops on the impacts of militarism and the prison industrial complex on people of color. As part of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Nonviolent Youth Collective, Nico helped to train volunteers preparing to do human rights work in Colombia, led week-long retreats on nonviolence and social justice, and organized a California arts and education tour.

As part of Training for Change, Nico has led workshops in the US, Canada and Europe for groups such as Choice USA, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Energy Action Coalition, Greenpeace, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Earth Quaker Action Team, the New Sanctuary Movement, Prometheus Radio Project, and the Diverse City Fund.

Nico is also an experienced community organizer who has participated in grassroots efforts for prison abolition, urban farming, and keeping casinos out of residential neighborhoods. Most recently he led a campaign that successfully changed a policy that was causing harassment of transgender riders on Philadelphia’s public transportation system.

He has authored articles such as “Lessons from the Borders: Empowering Participants with Disabilities and Transgender Participants” and “Into the Streets! Training as a Tactic” and has published poetry in a few small journals and anthologies.

 

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More than Magic: Seven Years of Funding Trans Justice

TJFP is a small funding project built and powered by a lot of community love, sweat, and tears. And yes, there is magic in this work, but what really gets us going each and every day is YOU–our beloved and powerful grantees and applicants, donors, staff, volunteers, family, and friends.

“Our fight and our resilience is a testimony that it gets better, not because we pray it so, but because we fight like hell to make it so!” —Everette Renee Thompson, 2018 Community Grantmaking Fellow

Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of working with 42 of the most brilliant trans justice activists and organizers around the country as part of our annual grantmaking panels. We’ve received 1,118 applications from some of the most radical and visionary grassroots, trans-led groups creating spaces and systems of care for our community.

Please enjoy this video we created to share some of the behind the scenes magic with you. You may even see some familiar faces!

Here’s to seven years of trans leadership and justice in action! We can’t do this work without you, so wherever you are–thank you for being part of the magic and brilliance of our trans justice movements.

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And Now.. Introducing our Sixth and Final 2019 TJFP Grantmaking Fellow, Micky B!

Completing the 2019 Community Grantmaking Fellowship team is the extraordinary Micky B!  Having been long time fans of Micky B’s work and ongoing commitment to trans justice, particularly in the South, we were floored when she agreed to join us.  Please help us celebrate all of our 2019 Fellows who over the past several months have been working harder then you might ever imagine.

Right now we’re just a few days away from hosting this awesome panel in New York who will be meeting all weekend long making final funding decisions! Stay tuned for more!

But for now, we’re pleased to introduce you to Micky B!

Micky B is a Black Trans Woman using cultural organizing to build the political leadership of Trans/GNC leaders across the South. Though a German born Army brat, Micky descends from the 1st free Black welders in Southwest Georgia. Her political development was grown through a village of white feminist lesbians, Black trans women, & HIV-positive Black gay men. Since 2015, Micky B co-founded & continues to curate “Southern Fried Queer Pride” (SFQP), a DIY art education non-profit and week long queer art festival. Through SFQP, she explores the nuanced intersections of queer performance art, installation, and film.

Micky has organized trans communities across the South as the 1st lead of the TLC@SONG program, where she co-organized against HB2 in NC, held a TGNC leadership convening in Nashville, TN, and organized a listening tour across the region. Currently, Micky works as the “Organizing Program Associate” for the Transgender Law Center, serves on committees funding trans-lead movement work, and trains organizations with the SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Center.

Micky is a proud member of the Pioneering House of Ultra Omni, member of Southerners On New Ground, graduate of the 2017 Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle, and 2018 Atlanta Pride Grand Marshal.

Micky B is a proud bisexual mama living and loving in Atlanta, GA. She loves fried vegetarian cuisine after a long day of voguing in resistance to the police state.

 

We can’t wait to be in your presence Micky B!

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A Very Warm Welcome to our Fifth 2019 Grantmaking Fellow, Sharyn Grayson

Not only are we feeling incredibly lucky for this opportunity to be at the table learning from this sage and powerful elder, we’re also feeling deep gratitude knowing that next week we get to work closely and collaboratively with Sharyn Grayson at this year’s grant making meeting.

What a privilege and honor to have this history maker on our team!

Sharyn has been working extremely hard reviewing every application received and remaining dedicated in spirt and service for trans communities. So with that, please help us welcome our fifth 2019 TJFP Fellow, Sharyn Grayson!

In 2006, recognizing the need for an expanded focus on innovative social justice projects and equity among community health and human services providers, Sharyn organized her own company and began operations in Oakland, CA. Today, the Nonprofit & Consumer Services Network (NPCSN) – offers a full range of professional business services and resources that launch, sustain, and support the economic growth, development, and continuity of community-based/grassroots organizations, nonprofit corporations, and small businesses that directly and positively impact the lives of all Transgender and LGBQI residents. Sharyn is CEO and Senior Consultant at NPCSN. The new home office has been relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. Among her many achievements, she is also part of a small, but growing, list of minority Transgender women who own and operate businesses across the country.

Currently, she also serves as Chief Operations/Financial Officer at the Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center (House of GG) – in Little Rock; a ‘Trans-led’ nonprofit organization she co-founded with world renowned ‘Stonewall Pioneer’, Trans Activist/Advocate, “Miss Major.”

Sharyn’s many professional business affiliations and alliances are extended across the U.S. She is a public speaker, trainer/facilitator, nonprofit business development consultant, grant writer, Transgender advocate, and highly respected ‘senior’ leader among the national TLGBQI neighborhood and healthcare community sectors.

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Shouting out to our fourth 2019 TJFP Grantmaking Fellow, Priyank Jindal!

In a couple of weeks our panel of outstanding grantmaking Fellows will soon arrive in New York ready and eager to select and award this year’s grantees. This is something we work towards all year long.  Please join us in welcoming another TJFP Fellow and incredible organizer, Priaynk Jindal!

Priyank is a longtime transsexual, part time amateur Muay Thai fighter. They are also a member of LeftRootsa national formation of Left social movement organizers and activists who want to connect grassroots struggles to a strategy to win liberation for all people and the planet and a nurse practitioner living in Philadelphia, PA.  They love accessories, a gorgeous braid and fighting to end heteropatriarchy and racial capitalism.

Priyank has been engaged in liberation work for decades and we’re elated they said yes to joining the team.  We’re counting down the days till we get to learn from their experience and wisdom in person!

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Announcing our third 2019 TJFP Grantmaking Fellow, Úmi Vera!

TJFP is so lucky to get to work with this amazing organizer and force of light!  Úmi’s passion and excitement as she reads through this years applications, learning more about the breadth of trans justice work is EVERYTHING. Please welcome to the TJFP grant making team, Úmi Vera!

Úmi is a child of Tepehuan O’dami indigenous immigrant parents. She was born and raised half of her life in southeast L.A and currently resides in
the Pacific Northwest. With 15 years of organizing experience predominantly in policy advocacy in the intersections of migrant and trans/queer grassroots organizing, she joined Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement as the Campaign Director.

She has executive leadership experience and was most recently the End Profiling Legislative Campaign Director at Unite Oregon, a refugee and immigrant rights organization. There she co-created Resilient Connections, a support group and leadership program for trans/queer refugees and migrant new arrivals. Úmi is very passionate about her fellowship role at TJFP and she hopes to continue building with TJFP’s incredible network of trans lead movement building.

Thank you Úmi for joining the team!

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Give it up for TJFP 2019 Grantmaking Fellow, Zakia McKensey!

A very warm welcome to Zakia McKensey to the TJFP 2019 Grantmaking Fellowship!  Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Zakia is currently working extremely hard to carefully review hundreds of applications in preparation for our upcoming grantmaking meeting in June. We cannot wait to learn and grow from her leadership on this years team!

Zakia McKensey is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She has been an active member of the LGBTQ community. For many years Zakia was a national performer and pageant competitor. She is a former Miss Gay Black America, Miss Black National, Miss International Supermodel, Miss Godfrey’s and Miss Virginia Capitol Pride. She has worked for Fan Free Clinic where she was instrumental in creating the Transgender Clinic as well as Richmond City Health District, where she was a DIsease Intervention Specialist and also the 1st African American Transgender Women to ever work for the health distirct. October of 2015 she opened the Nationz Foundation a 501©3 organization that provides advocacy for transgender individuals as well as offering HIV/STI testing, Food Pantry, Emergency Housing and other supportive services to the Greater Richmond Metropolitan Area. Recently she aquired an RV to create a mobile testing unit to offer her services in communities where transportation is a barrier to access testing or safer sex items and food. Zakia also works for the Virginia Anti-Violence Project where she serves as the Transgender Advocate, assisting individuals who have experiences of violence. She was named a 2018 Outstanding Virginian, by Equality Virginia. Zakia was honored with a Firework Award by Virginia Pride in 2018. In her free time she enjoys time with family and friends, traveling, competing and attending pageants, cooking and spending time with her dog.

Yes Zakia, YESSSSS!

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Introducing the first of six TJFP 2019 Grantmaking Fellows, Sammie Ablaza Wills!

It’s that time of year again when we have the honor of introducing another fabulous grantmaking team.

Kicking off a series of introductions, we’re ecstatic to welcome Sammie Ablaza Wills to the 2019  TJFP Grantmaking Fellowship!

Sammie will join five other ground breaking, trans, non binary activists and organizers from across the country to select this years grantees.

Sammie is an enthusiastic queer, non-binary Pilipinx person with a vivid love for their chosen family, social justice, and grassroots
organizing. They currently serve as director of APIENC, a trans and queer Asian and Pacific Islander grassroots organization in the SF Bay Area. Sammie’s politic has come from witnessing xenophobia against their family, from fighting budget cuts to public schools, and from learning from queer Pilipino people in their communities. It’s from this that Sammie has worked to trained hundreds of young, queer, trans, Asian people to lead from values of abundance and interdependence. Sammie is dedicated to ethnic studies, racial justice, and environmental justice, working closely in groups such as Asians4BlackLives and Movement Generation. Sammie believes that anything can be turned into a chant and brought onto the streets (literally and emotionally). At all times, they strive to learn more about their ancestors, practice vulnerability, and share stories.

We can hardly wait to do this work with you Sammie!

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Lessons on Being Bold: A conversation with 2018 Fellow Bré Anne Rivera

“Sharing space with the other grantmaking fellows and hearing from people from rural Montana to communities in Hawaii helped to open my mind about how differently the work looks for people in different areas. Sometimes when you’re on the ground, it is easy to lose that perspective, and instead think, “This is what’s working for me and my girls in Detroit, so it should work for everyone, right?” But, no, it doesn’t always work like that. So when an application came in from a rural part of the country, it was important to hear from someone from that community. These conversations really helped me be more strategic and forward-thinking about who we were supporting and funding.”  -Bré Anne Rivera

Each year we invite our talented Fellows to share their thoughts and experiences as grantmaking panelists in our “Letters From the Table” section of our annual report. Last year fall we were fortunate enough to get a chance to sit down with 2018 TJFP Fellow, Bré Anne Rivera to gain a better understanding of her experience reviewing over 200 applications and selecting grantees through a community-led process.

In her interview Bré bravely spoke from the heart, candidly sharing powerful reflections and recommendations for the funding world that we hope will resinate with you whether you’re a grassroots organizer, a funder or someone interested in trans justice and liberation.

Please check out this remarkable interview, Lessons on Being Bold!

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Sustaining trans justice through art!

IMG_7577 - Version 2Just as we believe there is no one way to do trans justice, we also believe there is no one way to volunteer or donate!

Over the past few years artist and activist Roan Boucher has donated 50% of all proceeds from his Queers Demand prints to the Trans Justice Funding Project!

In addition to being a fabulous ongoing TJFP sustainer, Roan is also the designer of our logo.

Here’s more about Roan and why he supports TJFP and trans justice.

Name: Roan Boucher

What Pronoun(s) do you prefer: he/him/his

Where do you live: Dripping Springs, TX

How are you involved with the Trans Justice Funding Project?
I think a lot about funding and fundraising and general ways that money is shared and leveraged and used and talked about within movements, and I get excited about projects like TJFP that are committed to doing these things in smart accountable ways. I heard about TJFP when it was first getting off the ground and I was really excited about the vision, so when I made these posters about queer social justice it felt like a really good opportunity to support TJFP by donating some profits from the posters. So far they’ve raised over $1,800 for TJFP, and I’ve been able to donate consistently over time as orders come in, which is awesome. (Also I got to design TJFP’s logo!)

Why is trans justice work or funding trans justice work important to you?
The work that TJFP’s grantees do is so important, particularly because it is work that addresses a wide spectrum of the issues that impact trans people. So often it is only a few specific issues that are seen as “relevant” to trans people, but really trans people and communities are affected in particular ways by all the systems that distribute resources and manage how people function in the world. Trans people so rarely get a voice in the systems that affect us, so it’s really important to support organizations that are led by trans folks and focus on the issues that we identify as most important in our lives. Plus, so many of the kinds of things that often make life hard for trans people – like not being able to get proper IDs, being profiled by police, having difficulty finding jobs and housing because of prejudice, having kids taken away – all these are things that make life hard for lots of targeted communities in different ways. I think that often, through doing trans justice organizing, the groups that TJFP funds are exposing these systems as violent and unfair across the board, and working to make changes that will benefit not only trans people but all people.

Do you have any hopes or wishes for TJFP for the next few years?
To keep gathering momentum and raising money and building connections between and awareness of organizations doing awesome work! So many of the groups TJFP funds are small, grassroots groups doing incredibly important work in their communities and not always getting a lot of attention or support outside their communities. TJFP fills a really important role not just of raising money but also building political analysis/awareness around trans justice and what it looks like on the ground. I want to see this work continue, and build momentum and support around forms of trans and queer organizing based in social justice rather than the mainstream marriage/military/capitalist assimilation kinds of goals that currently get tons of funding and attention!

If you see yourself as an ally to trans justice work, how do you see your role as an ally and/or do you have anything to say to other allies?
I think we all are hopefully allies to each other, right? I identify as trans, but various kinds of privilege buffer me from a lot of the forms of transphobia that TJFP’s grantees are working to end. I think being an ally means seeing all of our liberation as bound up together – that we can’t truly win justice for some trans people without winning justice for all trans people. That’s why I’m so excited by trans organizing that centers racial and economic justice, and organizes around justice for trans people in places like prisons, welfare systems, the immigration system – places that are sites of a lot of intersecting forms of violence. I think that the best way to build justice and safety for all trans people is to center the people who are facing the worst forms of transphobia and start there. photo (36)

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not volunteering at TJFP?
I work with my amazing and dreamy facilitation worker co-op, AORTA (Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance). I parent a pretty amazing 11-month-old baby.  I recently moved home to Texas and am busy building home and family and community in the hill country outside of Austin. I work from a distance with POOR Magazine in the Bay Area, helping support them in building the Homefulness project, which is a housing and organizing and media-creating and community-building space by and for poor people. I make art. I do a lot of nerdy kitchen fermentation projects and generally like to cook things and grow things and do many projects of all sorts.
Thank you Roan for inspiring and moving us with your artwork and support.  We heart you!

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