Cyrée Johnson

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a black non-binary essayist and poet currently working towards an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a black non-binary essayist and poet currently working towards an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. They are a Poetry Editor at The Deaf Poets Society, a journal of D/deaf and disabled literature and art. Their writing has appeared in make/shift, bedfellows, and has been accepted into Issue 7 of The Suburban Review. Johnson’s writing considers disability as a cyborg reality, community as a state of shared trauma, and afro-pessimism. Their recent invited speaking engagements include the LGBT and Disability Forum at The White House and CARSS Town Hall at Mother Bethel AME Church.

Be Steadwell

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter and filmmaker from Washington DC, whose self-produced albums and films feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQI content and unapologetic silliness.

Be Steadwell is a singer songwriter and filmmaker from Washington DC. In her live performances, Be utilizes loop pedal vocal layering and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be’s self-produced albums and films feature her earnest lyricism, proud LGBTQI content and unapologetic silliness. As she pursued her career in music, she began a career in film. Shooting and editing her own music videos, Be combined her love of music with narrative film. In 2014, Be completed an MFA in film from Howard University. Her most recent film, Vow of Silence (2014) received the Howard University Paul Robeson Award (2015), Best Experimental Short at The Black Star Film Festival (2015), Audience Choice Award at QWOCMAP Festival (2015), and was featured at the NYC Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 2016, Be was selected to be a Strathmore Artist in Residence and the DC Commission on the Arts awarded Be an artist fellowship. In April 2016, Be took her music to the UK in a five-show tour. She has conducted songwriting, loop pedal and film workshops for LGBTQI youth groups internationally. Be currently tours her music and film internationally.

awQward

awQward is a collective dedicated to the financial sustainability of trans & queer artists of color.

As performers, poet/educator J Mase III & poet/mc/percussionist Vita E. have toured the country and the world. Being featured for their solo work in such publications as Buzzfeed, Colorlines, the New York Times, the Root, the Huffington Post and more, these two together create a powerhouse of words, spit, drums and pure Black Trans Liberation. When these two are not on stage, they spend their days coordinating performances for, and negotiating fair wages for, the artists on the awQward talent roster. awQward being a collective dedicated to the financial sustainability of trans & queer artists of color, these two create a space not just to curate talented performers and orators, but to delve deeply into cooperative economics. In addition to their daily administrative work, these two provide free and low cost consultations to trans & queer artists of color seeking to turn their artistic skills into a workable career, as well as have provided numerous small emergency grants for trans artists of color in crisis.

2017 Global Arts Fund grant funded #BlackTransMagick, a full length show that will travel to LA, New Orleans, DC, New York & Philadelphia.

Annie Gonzaga

Annie Gonzaga is a black, lesbian, mother who grew up in the favela in Salvador Bahia, known as one of the most racist and most dangerous cities for LBTQ people in the world.

Annie Gonzaga is a black, lesbian, mother who grew up in the favela in Salvador Bahia, known as one of the most racist and most dangerous cities for LBTQ people in the world. She is a practitioner of Candomblé and lives in the outskirts of Salvador. About her creative practice, Annie states, “I have been resisting and practicing survival for the last 500 years through all my ancestors who have preceded me.” She began to draw at a young age in response to the overt policing of her community and the violence that surrounded her. Annie states, “through art I can understand myself as whole. I can’t publicly assume my religious identity because the public space is dangerous, nor leave my lesbianism locked in the closet because I can suffer lesbophobia on the street, much less undress my color, to finally be accepted, loved and then love myself. These are identities that are with me all the time and in everything I do. And through artivism I could see myself. To create an epistemology, through our ancestral heritages, is to glimpse the Afrofuturist black identity, diasporic utopia re-cognizing our cosmologies and identities. And all this is what I try to express in my art whether on paper or on a wall.”

Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo/Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces.

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo/Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. She works in fiction, memoir, experimental shorts, and video art. Her debut novel, FRESHWATER, is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic in Winter 2018 and her video portrait UDUDEAGU won the Audience Award for Best Short Experimental at the 2014 BlackStar Film Festival. Within her work, Akwaeke is interested in transgressive stories that challenge idealistic perceptions of humanity and examine how people navigate their embodiments. Her practice centers themes of neurodivergence, African faith traditions, loss and loneliness, death, dislocations, and liminal identities.

Iranti-Org

Iranti-Org formed in 2012 to help local and regional lesbian, trans, intersex and gender non-conforming (LTIGNC) movements in South Africa and across the continent use media as a platform for mobilization and shifting public dialogue.

Iranti-Org formed in 2012 to help local and regional lesbian, trans, intersex and gender non-conforming (LTIGNC) movements in South Africa and across the continent use media as a platform for mobilization and shifting public dialogue. They support organizations to document human rights violations and produce evidence-based materials, and they also support cultural production to change attitudes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Iranti-Org does this work to address the poor media capacity of LTIGNC groups, most of which don’t have media and documentation equipment or training in how to work with media; digital security is also a pressing need. In an exciting development, they recently launched an LBTIGNC Media Makers Network that supports activists across Southern Africa to produce their own media. In South Africa, Iranti-Org’s own media production and reporting plays a key role in strengthening the national LGBTQ movement. In collaboration with LGBTQ community groups across the country, they investigate hate crimes, use their reporting to hold the state accountable for addressing violence, and document LGBTQ mobilization.

Out in the Open (formerly known as Green Mountain Crossroads)

Green Mountain Crossroads (GMC) connects rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power through social events, support groups, political education workshops and study groups, and multi-media projects.

Out in the Open (formerly known as Green Mountain Crossroads) connects rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power through social events, support groups, political education workshops and study groups, and multi-media projects. Our work is guided by these values: Rural can be Queer, Intersections, Celebrating Resistance, Connections, Anti-racism, and Joy. We envision a resilient community of communities that works toward the transformation of our economic, social, and political relationships. GMC lifts up and centers the voices and experiences of rural LGBTQ people at popular events like Played Out! LGBTQ Game Night, Trans Day of Remembrance & Resistance, Earth Gay, Out in the Open Summit for rural & small town LGBTQ folks, and Friday Night Group for LGBTQ youth. We deepen our understanding of the power of rural LGBTQ people through longer and broader projects like our rural LGBTQ racial justice study group and rural LGBTQ oral history project, currently documenting the story of Andrew’s Inn, a gay bar in nearby Bellows Falls Vermont from 1973-1985. We believe that collective liberation for all people is possible and that building the power of rural LGBTQ people across issues, identities, and generations, is critical in the movement toward justice.

The LGBTQ* Youth Kickback

LGBTQ* Youth Kickback builds youth leaders within a queer popular education framework.

The People’s Arts Collective of New Haven (PAC) is a community of artists, educators and organizers whose mission is to animate and advance social, racial, economic, environmental, and cultural justice in New Haven through art-making and art-making-processes. They particularly encourage the creative agency of women, queer-identifying folks, people of color, and youth. People’s Arts Collective is composed of three distinct organizations that share a guiding mission, a community organizing model, and frequently team up on specific initiatives. Free Artists engage the community through art; Free Skool draws educators and learners from all over New Haven to teach and share for free; LGBTQ* Youth Kickback builds youth leaders within a queer popular education framework.  Activists within PAC are working towards a more inclusive, intersectional, and creative city. They want New Haven to prioritize youth voices and to center the needs and ideas of the community, particularly as expressed through the perspectives of historically marginalized populations.

This organization is supported through the Funding Queerly Giving Circle, which is housed at Astraea.

Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)

For the past nearly fifteen years, PrYSM has provided Southeast Asian youth with the tools they need to design and run campaigns aimed at shifting oppressive systems through concrete policy change.

For the past nearly fifteen years, PrYSM has provided Southeast Asian youth with the tools they need to design and run campaigns aimed at shifting oppressive systems through concrete policy change. PrYSM’s works towards addressing the school to prison to deportation pipeline that affects the community not just in Providence, but nationwide. Youth at PrYSM strive to become leaders, organizers, and critical thinkers, by offering educational workshops, leadership opportunities, mentorship, and oversight of youth-led community organizing projects. Though campaign goals have shifted over the years to reflect the changing needs of their base, they continue to fight the criminalization of Southeast Asian community and honor their refugee roots. Queer and Trans (QT) Thursdays, a new PrYSM program that builds on their history of having queer and trans programming at the heart of the organization, takes place weekly. QT Thursdays are a social and political organizing space open to people of color under 25 years old who identify as trans, queer and/ or gender-queer. The program has expanded PrYSM’s community and brought new skills and energy into the organization. PrYSM aims to achieve its goals through a focus on love, family, roots and movement building.

This organization is supported through the Funding Queerly Giving Circle, which is housed at Astraea.

Point of View

Point of View is a 20-year-strong feminist media advocacy organization based in Mumbai, working to amplify women’s voices and remove barriers to voice, speech and expression.

Point of View is a 20-year-strong feminist media advocacy organization based in Mumbai, working to amplify women’s voices and remove barriers to voice, speech and expression. Starting from the premise that ideas change lives, Point of View exists to change ideas and norms around gender and sexuality, to create a world in which people of all genders and sexualities have rights and freedoms that are recognized, protected and exercised. In recent years, they have also expanded work in the area of feminist capacity building and rights assertion in digital arenas, integrating gender and sexuality with efforts to protect freedom of expression, sexual expression, internet democracy and protection from surveillance.