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!
“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!
“TJFP is something that I’m so excited to tell people about because I think a lot of people don’t know that this group exists–where you have trans people getting money and then deciding how can we support other trans organizations that are doing work.” – Peterson Toscano, Theatrical Performance Activist & TJFP Monthly Donor
In the words of monthly donor Nicole Myles, “Worlds don’t change from just one moment or movement.” Instead, as donor Harper Jean Tobin puts it, “we need many voices and many kinds of work.” As grassroots funders, we don’t give grants only to those who fit narrow ideas of success or worth. We want to fund as many groups as possible, so that all of these brilliant visions and voices have a chance to keep on growing, changing, and connecting.
- Your donation helps support trans justice groups focusing on local needs—groups that many mainstream foundations consider “too small” of an investment.
- Your donation helps support grassroots organizations that take risks—that try radical new tactics, that find ways to work outside pre-existing systems to support marginalized communities.
- Your donation reaches grantees with no strings attachedY–allowing these brilliant leaders and activists to do their work without worrying about anyone’s approval but the communities they serve.
As our six Community Grantmaking Fellows carefully review the 216 applications we received this year–more applications than we’ve ever received before!–we see creative, dynamic responses to anti-trans threats. We see groups responding to local, unique needs, led by trans people from those communities who understand the stakes best.
These folks need your support!
Be a part of raising $50,000 more so that we can distribute, in total, half a million dollars this year–half a million that will go to urgently needed trans justice work around the country. Donor Peterson Toscano puts it best, in the video you can watch below: “When I look at LGBTQ history, it’s always been the trans people, the gender non-conforming people, who’ve been on the front lines, who really stood up. And I wouldn’t have the freedoms I have today, if it wasn’t for trans folks doing that.”
Wherever you are, however much you give, you’ll be supporting the trans leadership that has always existed and shaped our movements!
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!
Today we remember the lives and legacies of our trans and gender non-conforming family who we’ve lost this year.
Let us honor all our trans and GNC ancestors who have come before us, who fought tirelessly, and paved the way for us to shine brilliantly. Today and everyday, we are reminded of the strength and beauty of our trans communities.
There are so many ways we can honor our ancestors, and we hope that today you can devote a moment and hold the lives and histories of our trans communities in your heart.
A horrible pattern has emerged where each year over the past few years, has been the deadliest year on record for the trans community in the U.S. In 2017 there has been over 26 reported transgender and GNC people killed by violence. If you are looking for a place to be with community tonight, here’s a map of grassroots trans-led groups organizing across the country that you can support all year round or may be able help you locate a local vigil for the 18th annual Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
TJFP stands in struggle and solidarity with our trans communities fighting for justice and liberation, and we hope one day we’ll be able to shine brilliantly without fear, and that our communities can breathe and live freely.
We are so proud to announce that after countess hours of creation, the TJFP map is finally available!
It’s still a work in progress but now TJFP applicants and grantees are searchable by group name, location, focus area, and more.
While we have always had a directory available on our website of the many of the brilliant trans justice groups that have applied for a grant from TJFP over the past 5 years, this directory was never a total hit. So over the last year we re-envisioned how we might make a more useful tool and resource for trans justice groups. This map is a list of grassroots, trans-led, trans justice work happening in the U.S. (with their permission of course!).
TJFP has always hoped that through this directory of past grantees and applicants, we’d be able to help break down barriers and connect folks to one another.
Please feel free to share widely!
As we prepare for our community-led grantmaking weekend, we’ve been keeping in our hearts the amazing trans justice activists and organizers who are fiercely dedicated to social justice. From the activists protesting the hateful anti-trans bills popping up across the country to the trans-led support groups in small towns keeping each other safe and healthy–we are deeply grateful for the movement.
Over the past year, TJFP has been on our “From the Ground to the Sky” listening tour, sitting with trans activists and organizers to learn more about their important work. This past winter, we had the pleasure of hearing from Renae Gray, a Native American trans activist from Gallup, NM. Her story inspires us to continue to work together as a movement for trans justice, because “we shouldn’t have to go through these challenges alone.”
Graphic design and cover art by Micah Bazant, micahbazant.com
We’re so ready to release our 2015 annual report into the world!
We can’t one minute more to share information about our fabulous grantees, updates about our unique model, the directory (2013-2015), moving articles, infographics and more.
So please stay with us! The report is on the way.
And if you’ll be at this year’s Creating Change Conference January 201th-24th in Chicago, Illinois, please stop by our table to say hi and get your very own copy.