M: Hey, my name is Maxwell and my pronouns are he and his.
C: Hi, my name is Cleopatra, and Jach. My pronouns are she, her, and sir.
Both: And together, we are the Co-Directors of the Audre Lorde Project!
C: So hi, hello, welcome to this recording of us introducing ourselves to the community, and we wanted to introduce ourselves as the new executive leadership of the Audre Lorde Project. And just some things that are going on here, what our vision is, and what our plans are and how y’all can get involved. So the first thing, that if you haven’t already read, is that we are in a restoration period. What that essentially means for the Audre Lorde Project is that we are in a 9-month period, October 2019 to June 2020, where we are slowing down, which is the opposite of what organizers like to do, but is something that we need to do to preserve our work and our bodies and our minds. And so restoration for us means that we are re-starting our recruitment of board members. We have so far, since June recruited and onboarded 4 new board members, which is really exciting. We are also doing collective study within ALP, within the staff structure and across community members, and we are also incorporating wellness into our program and campaign strategies, just as well as in our admin and operations within the organization. The restoration period also led us to arrive at our new organizational structure, which is now a co-director structure, being led with me and Maxwell.
M: We moved towards a flatter structure away from a bottom-heavy top-down hierarchical structure because we wanted to create more avenues for transparency and communication in the organization, and shift power around decision-making a little bit. The restoration period ends in June of 2020, and is actually just the first 9 months of our 3-year strategic plan. So we just finalized a strategic plan that will run through June 2022, really trying to focus on what are ways we that we can integrate healing more throughout our safety work, how can we strengthen our work trying to be an organizing and political education center for QTPOC folks. A lot of folks really looks to ALP as a guiding star around queer and trans communities around organizing, and we want to live up that legacy.
C: So one of the priorities I have as a Co-Director of the Audre Lorde Project is to really invest in local organizing and New York City-based organizing. We are an organization that is recognized on a national and global level. And we have organizers who were born and raised in New York City, or come to New York City from different places to either survive or exist in ways we’ve always wanted to exist with each other as queer and trans people of color. So I am very much invested as someone who was born and raised in the Bronx to make sure that we provide that political home to people for the folks who are looking for it, no matter how far you came to look for it. And also I am a proponent of access to education on all levels, so, whether it is taking the time to make sure that our members know that their lived experience is as valid as anyone else’s education is something that I’ll be working on throughout my tenure here.
M: I personally was raised in the south, in Memphis, I moved to New York when I was 18, so I was one of those transplants that came to the city looking for community and especially looking at orgs like ALP for support. My personal vision is more around making sure that we can actually sustain the organizations and the movements that we are at the front of, that we are leading, that are making changes for our people. Collectively, we have a vision around trying to make sure ALP is a space that folks can access for radical hospitality, radical imagination, and radical candor. One of the most important things that you can do to help us be successful and keep the work of ALP going is to become a sustaining donor. Becoming a monthly supporter on any level makes sure that we have money we can count on that’s not tied up to the state and deliverables. Money that actually gives us room to dream, and vision, and give our members what it is they tell us they need. If you see any opportunities for funding, please send them our way. If you see any opportunities for development, we always appreciate those too.
C: And one of the things that’s also guiding our leadership is that through our struggles of being black, and through our struggles of identifying as TGNC, through our struggles of having to survive in New York, we have everything that we need to be successful in this role. So just like Audre Lorde said, she said “you are scared, but do some shit anyway because you’re powerful.” You know, an adaptation, but I’m going to go with that anyway, that spirit and that energy. So thanks again for checking in and listening to us. Definitely definitely if you want to know more about how to communicate with me and Maxwell, to support me and Maxwell, and to just hang out, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks y’all!