Tag Archives: From the Ground to the Sky

Trans Justice in Action! Featuring the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition!

TJFP’s role is to support grassroots trans leadership across the country. If you wanna learn more about what trans leadership can look like, we invite to you to check out the video we made as part of TJFP’s From the Ground to the Sky tour that highlights the work our previous grantee, The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) .

TTPC educates and advocates on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State, and local levels. In this video, you’ll hear from Marisa Richmond, a founding member of TTPC, about what she see’s her role is in this social justice movement, and learn more about the work TTPC does and how this group was formed! You can also find them online here!

 

TTPC is just one of the nearly 300 grassroots trans-led groups that TJFP has funded over the past 5 years. Help TJFP continue to support trans justice by making a donation.  Our goal is to raise $50k by 5/15–together we can make this happen!

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From the Ground to the Sky Listening Tour: Southern Edition

“As a local organizer and activist in your area what do you vision, hope or dream for trans/two-spirit/queer/gender non- conforming people in your area?”

“Can you tell us how your group got started or how you first got involved in trans justice organizing?”

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These a just a few of the questions we asked several grantees, applicants, TGNC activists, organizers, and community members on our From the Ground to the Sky Listening Tour: Southern edition

Having previously traveled to places like Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, this time we headed to the South Eastern region to expand our knowledge around what local trans justice looks and feels like in the Deep South.  

TJFP spent two weeks moving between Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana, driving along tree lined highways, in between mountain hallows, witnessing cotton fields, and bright city lights. Several times over, we saw common themes making themselves apparent from community to community.  Yet, nothing stood out as much as the importance and need to create safety and shift the conditions at home, as well as the sense of duty of bringing knowledge back to their people.

For many, the option of leaving home for more liberal areas with more trans affirming infrastructure is not always an option or even a desire. One local activist passionately stated, “Why can’t I be safe in Arkansas?”  Her desire to staying where things are familiar and where her family lives, is the driving force to not leave and to continue to work towards finding and creating community for her and other black trans woman like her.

Another thing that we heard over and over again, was the need for space to meet in to get work done, resources for traveling to meet other trans and gender non-conforming organizers so they won’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel,’ and could feel more connect to a broader network of TGNC peers. Even with things like internet access or tools like Skype and conference calls, for those who are able to travel, being face to face still remains a powerful method for breaking down isolation and unifying our leaders.

Like most places, the South has a complex and painful past.  And yet, it’s beauty and the activists we met along the way, have a deep love for their communities, their home, and their histories. Every person we spoke with reaffirmed that we should all have the right to stay at home if we wish to and have the ability to be safe as well as have our most basic needs to deepest desires met. 

From the historic Selma, Alabama to the colorful lights of New Orleans, Louisiana–which still bares the scares of the storm–we thank each and every person who took the time to allow us to record your trans justice organizing history. We hope your experiences, words, and efforts will be taken to heart and supported.

From state to state we come to understand more and more, we exist because you exist.

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TJFP’s From the Ground to the Sky tour: Tennessee and Mississippi

TJFP is back on our From the Ground to the Sky Tour and this time we’ve been rolling around and talking with Southern activists and organizers. We’re only halfway in, and already we’ve learned so much about what these organizers are fighting against, fighting for, and what brings them life. This past week, we’ve been in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and now we’re on our way to Little Rock, Arkansas.

While in Nashville, Tennessee we had the pleasure of sitting down with Marisa Richmond, from the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Sadie SaySoukha with the Tennessee Trans Journey Project (TNTJ) and RJ Robles, who staffs the Vanderbilt Trans Buddy Program. After spending time in Nashville we packed up our car and drove east towards Memphis to meet with long time, local activist Renae Taylor.

We also took a trip out to Short Mountain to get to know Idyll Dandy Arts (IDA), an intentional queer community situated in the middle of the woods in rural Tennessee. We enjoyed a lovely lunch with TJFP applicants and grantees from Work Hard Stay Hard and Daffodil Meadow Collective and learned more about the history of the IDA and how these groups work and live together on the mountain.

Since we were so close to Holly Springs, Mississippi, we took a trip and spent some time with a 2014 TJFP community grant making panelist English Fields, who is also the founder of Bois of the Sippi, a trans-led group that increases the visibility of the LGBTQ community within their local community in rural Mississippi. English is attending Rust College, a historically black liberal arts and Methodist college located in Holly Springs, Mississippi. English shared more about what they are doing on campus and within their local community to make it more trans inclusive and affirming for LGBTQ people.

It’s not difficult to see how powerful and needed Southern, trans justice organizing is. Thank you to all of the folks and communities so far that have generously shared your homes, porches, and experiences with us.  

After five days driving all over Tennessee and Mississippi, we took to the road and headed to Alabama.

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Anti-Trans Bill in South Dakota DEFEATED!

Amazing work!

Congratulations to all of the organizers on the ground in South Dakota who worked day and night, making several trips to the state capital to lobby and testify against these kinds of dangerous anti-trans  bills.

A special shout out to Tamara Jean Urban and Kendra Heathscott who TJFP had the pleasure of meeting last November while on our From the Ground to the Sky listening tour.

Sending our love to South Dakota!

 

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TJFP’s From the Ground to the Sky tour: Utah

After a wonderful visit with community organizers and friends in Phoenix, we traded our car for a plane and headed north. In Utah, our final stop on this leg of TJFP’s From the Ground to the Sky tour, we found ourselves surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains and stories.

On our first day we drove to Ogden, a beautiful, quaint, and rural city in Utah. When we finally stopped staring at the mountains, we were welcomed into a small, unassuming house, that we later learned is the first and only overnight youth shelter in the entire state of Utah. The basement of this space also happens to house one of our grantees, OUTreach Youth Resources.  OUTreach provides resources and runs trans support groups for transgender and gender non-conforming youth and adults in Ogden and other nearby rural communities.

After saying our goodbyes in Ogden, we made our way to Salt Lake City, where we met with the volunteer Executive Director of Transgender Education Advocates (TEA) of Utah. We were able to hear more about how TEA got started and learned more about their work, including the one of a kind training video they created for Driver’s License Division employees after an anti-trans incident occurred in their community.

For those of you who have been following our listening tour, you may remember that Oklahoma is known as the “buckle of the Bible Belt.”  Like Oklahoma, communities in Utah are also feeling the impacts of pending “bathroom panic” and other anti-trans attempted legislation.  In both states, dominant religions hold significant amounts of power that negatively affect queer and trans communities as well as the people that love them.

Thank you Utah for all of your passion.  You are full of volunteer run efforts that are working so hard for trans justice!

TJFP is really looking forward to sharing our digital map, which will be loaded with media clips and information from our listening tours.

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by | February 18, 2016 · 5:15 pm

TJFP’s From the Ground to the Sky tour: Arizona

We’re halfway through the TJFP listening tour, as our trail was directed further west into the lovely dry heat of Phoenix, Arizona.

In Arizona we were welcomed into the home office of TJFP grantee’s, the Arcoíris Liberation Team and the Arizona Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project who are collaboratively fighting to address social and systemic barriers affecting LGBTQ immigrant communities.

As our time in the Arizona came to a close, we had the great pleasure of experiencing the sunset with Trudie Jackson,  former TJFP community grant making panelist, as she discussed policy issues that affect American Indian LGBTQ Two Spirited communities in Phoenix. Trudie also filled us in on a little bit of Phoenix history and shared with us all the wonderful things that has kept her in Phoenix for the past 33 years.

We are so grateful to have spent such a lovely time in Arizona with brilliant community activists working towards trans justice. Our brief time in the “Valley of the Sun” couldn’t have been better!

Last and final stop on this leg of our tour… Utah! Stay with us!

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Introducing our new staff member, Marin Watts!

Over the past few years TJFP has been lucky to have worked with some of the greatest hearts and minds committed to trans justice.

Many of you know that our beloved co-founder, Karen Pittelman has been working tirelessly behind the scenes as a full time volunteer staff member since TJFP’s inception, making it what it is today! As Karen thoughtfully steps down from her role as Administrative Coordinator, it is a great honor to introduce Marin Watts as our new Director of Operations and Communications!

Marin has supported TJFP in numerous ways over the past two years and we’re delighted to have his experience, talents and bright spirit on the team. Please join us in celebrating this major transition as Karen passes the torch and we welcome Marin on board!

A few words from Marin:

I am very excited to be joining the Trans Justice Funding Project’s team as the Director of Operations and Communications! I’m a queer/trans/Filipino multimedia artist and educator from the South, and am deeply committed to social justice and supporting the trans community.

Marin WattsI’ve been volunteering as a videographer at TJFP since 2014, documenting the annual community-led grant-making process and the work being done by grantee organizations across the country. I’ve met and conducted interviews with community activists and organizers around the country working towards trans justice, and heard stories and strategies around what trans justice looks like in their local communities. I was later invited to participate in the 2015 Community Funding panel, where we funded over 87 trans led groups across the U.S. Following that, I teamed up with TJFP’s From the Ground to the Sky Tour, and have been a part of building relationships with grantees and conducting interviews with grassroots groups in rural communities.

Before joining TJFP’s team, I co-founded Media Masters Alliance—a media arts and mentorship program for LGBTQ and allied youth, and worked on building communications and community outreach strategies at Artstor—a digital library and archive. I’ve spent the years working with homeless youth, and providing arts education and support to LGBTQ youth.

I am so thrilled to be able to dedicate my time and skills to an organization that I feel passionately about. I’m truly inspired by the community of trans-led grassroots organizers and activists that we support at Trans Justice Funding Project!

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The TJFP April Fundraising Campaign is LIVE!

Help TJFP Raise $15,000 by April 23rd!

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From the Ground to the Sky: TJFP’s April Fundraising Campaign

As the Trans Justice Funding Project (TJFP) enters its third grant cycle, we’re more determined then ever to continue supporting trans-led, grassroots, trans justice groups and organizations.

In February, we received a remarkable 144 applications. That’s 37% more applications than the previous year! Once again, the requests poured in from all across the country, representing a range of strategies and struggles, and a commitment to fighting against the violence, isolation, and oppression trans communities are experiencing.

In March, TJFP finalized this year’s team of trans and gender non-conforming activists who will serve as our Community Funding Panel. At this very moment, they are hard at work reviewing each and every application. Check out our 2015 panelists here!

Now that April is here, it’s time for us to ask for your help. We work on fundraising all year long, and, of course, you can always donate to TJFP any time. But we’re setting an ambitious goal to raise $15,000 before the Community Funding Panel meets on April 23rd to determine this year’s grantees. We can’t do it without you!

Over the last two years, we have been blown away by the infinite support of our donors and cheer squad. Your generosity is helping this grassroots trans justice movement grow and thrive.

If you haven’t given yet this year, will you join us again–or maybe even for the first time?–to fund the vital work and big dreams of trans-led, grassroots groups across the country? From $1 to $50,000, there’s no donation too big or too small.

Please help us get the word out about this campaign by sharing it far and wide!

Love,
TFJP

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