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.