The vernal equinox is approaching, which means Spring is almost here! Let Winter’s incubation give way to regenerative resilience, as we observe the most tender part of the cycle of life around us, as the earth comes back breathing a plethora of new growth and possibility. It’s a fertile time for new beginnings, and also a moment to reflect before the rites of Spring in New York are in full swing. Let the abundance of the new season inspire you to put #GiveOutDay on your calendars, on April 18th. This is an annual giving ritual for organizations that serve our LGBTQIA communities.
Love asks us to be tenacious, it asks us to be generous, it asks us to imagine being part of something bigger than ourselves. It asks us to forgive, to listen and revise obsolete ways and evolve in order to fully participate in the work ahead. It teaches us that in order to fully engage with the work of dismantling oppressive systems, we must care for ourselves, examine where we are replicating those systems, and love ourselves most of all by allowing transformation.
Those of you have participated in programs and events with the Audre Lorde Project may have noticed a sense of levity and warmth when we come together to heal ourselves, each other, and our communities. The act of gathering centers and sustains us, in resistance against daily microaggressions and trauma that are par for the course when resourcing ourselves to thrive in a hostile world. This month ALP showed up for protests around the brutal racist and homophobic attack on Jussie Smollet, as well as the ongoing assualt of neglect on our incarcerated communities at Metropolitan Detention Center, in Brooklyn.
Your contributions of time, thought, and resources keep our communities thriving. Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity.
In this interview between Kade Cahe, The Audre Lorde Project’s Member Engagement and Leadership Coordinator and Janhavi Pakrashi, the Communications Coordinator, the discussion covers the role and impact of membership development at our organization. At the last Membership Orientation, Kade mobilized a group of 22 new members to participate in an informational gathering in which folks were grounded in the organizing principles of the Audre Lorde Project, in addition to having the opportunity to get to know our staff members and each other. During the gathering, folks broke into group exercises that set the tone for sharing and conceptualizing the roles they might envision for themselves as participants in intersectional feminist movement building.
It’s 2019, and we have a new year ahead of to accomplish great things, and show up for each other in powerful ways. We hope our January offerings encourage you to participate in community, find healing, and create connections between justice, wellness, and honoring the legacies of the movements that inform so many of our daily struggles. We would also like to offer gratitude for the contributions of time, energy, and money folks have made to help us thrive, which is so critical at this moment in time. Your love and efforts have and will continue to fortify our communities.
This is a great time to start volunteering with us at The Audre Lorde Project. Start by attending our membership orientation. Money comes and goes, but time does not. The contribution of your presence is something we cherish and honor. We have several monthly meetings at our Brooklyn and Manhattan offices. Metrocards and food are provided, and we encourage you to participate within your capacity. Please take a look at the schedule of upcoming events, below, and join the conversation. We currently have 2 job openings, and you are welcome to apply for our TransJustice Community School, or take an Adult First Aid class, Activate with us this year!
I’m Jessica — the new Executive Director of Audre Lorde Project.
New York City raised me: I was a queer homeless teen in the sex trade who left NYC in search of safety. I’ve spent the past decade pouring my energy into projects to build safety with and for LGBTSTGNC folks in Los Angeles and Washington, DC — from grassroots fundraising for youth shelters in LA to working alongside trans and queer sex workers of color to resist criminalization of the sex trades and building a network of nightlife venues with staff trained to cultivate safer spaces across DC. This year, facing loss and new life in my own family helped me remember: the revolution starts at home.
Season’s Greetings from The Audre Lorde Project! Our November and December have been reflective; with Transgender Day of Remembrance and the holidays upon us, the gathering of chosen families is one of the defining characteristics of our LGBTSTGNC communities. This is the time of year when we can take a look around us and not just shop, but participate and be with our communities in rituals of love and generosity, that give us a sense of continuity as individuals and as part of something bigger. This month, ALP wants to invite you to participate with us! There are many ways to get involved, you can volunteer, donate, come to an event, or tell your friends about us. If you want to shop from a list of ALP’s vendors and other QTPOC shopping resources, check out forusbuyus.tumblr.com.
In November, we celebrated the resilience of the Trans community at our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was an evening, rich with memory, community, and ritual. We set up an altar for those who have passed, fed community members, held safe space for wellness and healing for people of color, and got to enjoy performances by our volunteers, members, and staff. Giving Tuesday brought us our most successful year in community fundraising in three years! Additionally, we opened the search for a TransJustice Coordinator.
As 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to share our Annual Report with you, a celebration of moments of collective transformation that we have held together with you in this past year and a reminder that we are at our most powerful when we are building together. We hope you will enjoy learning more about our work to build people power, support our leaders, and increase the safety and well-being of LGBTSTGNC folks of color. We hope to see you at our events in 2019!
As we move forward into the fall season, The Audre Lorde Project wants to express gratitude for your support in the midst of political conditions that impel us to invest in holding each other closer, with love and protection. We want to thank you for breathing life into the safe spaces, the community rituals, the life-elevating trainings, and the provision of a sustainable framework for community fortification.
This month's big event at ALP is our Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 19th. On this day, we gather with community, comrades, and chosen family to honor the deceased. It's a ceremony where we hold space for one another in reflecting on the narratives of so many whose lives were cut violently short. The work of commemoration is an act of resistance against erasure and also a time for collective renewal of spirit. The timing of this event poignantly situates itself between the leaked government memo threatening to erase transgender identity and the holiday season, which can be a challenging time for LGBTSTGNC folks with family trauma. We hope to provide you with a healing space where you'll feel embraced by community while bearing witness to a collective act of uncompromising self-determination.