Why We Fund: Healing Justice

Astraea is thrilled to have two staff members from grantee partner Audre Lorde Project joining us as part of our Why We Fund event series.

We are thrilled to be in conversation with Tasha Amezcua and Simone Sobers of the Audre Lorde Project! Join us for this luncheon at Astraea’s office in NYC for a conversation with Tasha and Simone about the framework of healing justice and its practice within political strategies and movements that intervene on inter-generational trauma and state and institutional violence. Tasha and Simone will share how the Audre Lorde Project centers healing justice within their political strategies, and inside their local campaigns for community-led and determined safety and healing.

Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, please email zlord@astraeafoundation.org

Astraea is growing!

Our team continues to grow and reflect a global feminist diaspora in the leadership of philanthropy.

Our team continues to grow and reflect a global feminist diaspora in the leadership of philanthropy. Irvin Lozano brings his whiz accounting skills to our fiscal team as a Junior Accountant. We’re delighted to have Tatenda Ngwaru, an amazing intersex activist from Zimbabwe, join our program team as the Grants Management Associate. Based in Botswana, the fierce feminist Lame Olebile also joins us as a Program Officer managing grants portfolios in Africa and Asia. This summer, Mihika Srivastava will also bring her strong writing and research skills to Astraea as a Communications Program Associate.

Our team continues to uplift Astraea’s tenets of advocacy; to resource and be thought partners with LGBTQI global movement leadership as we resist and build collective power and liberation.

With deep gratitude,

The Astraea Team

Meet our new staff members

Irvin Lozano, Junior Accountant

Irvin Lozano began his college education pursuing a degree in Biology. With the help of a close friend, he landed a job in finance at a manufacturing company, and over the course of 6 years taught himself the in’s and out’s of basic accounting. [Read more]

Tatenda Ngwaru, Grants Management Associate

Tatenda Ngwaru is a Zimbabwean Intersex Activist now based in New York as an asylum seeker. She ran the first Intersex and Transgender organisation in Zimbabwe for 4 years. She is a motivational speaker and activist advocating for the rights of LGBTQI refugees and Intersex individuals. [Read more]

Lame Olebile, Program Officer – Africa & Asia

Lame Olebile is a Pan-Africanist, queer feminist passionate about social justice. Her experience is in human rights with a strong background in LGBTQI issues and a wealth of experience in the LGBTQI movement. [Read more]

Mihika Srivastava, Communications Program Associate

Mihika is a human rights and gender justice advocate, dedicated to uplifting and amplifying the voices of intersectional feminist communities worldwide. She believes in the distinct power of storytelling to create policy and culture change around gender norms and injustices. [Read more]

This 2018, we’ve showed up!

So far in 2018, we’ve been hustling in big and small ways to fuel movements for global LGBTQI justice. Below are a few recent Astraea highlights showcasing the breadth and depth of our collective commitment to liberation.

We’ve been hustling in big and small ways to fuel movements for global LGBTQI justice. Below are a few recent Astraea highlights showcasing the breadth and depth of our collective commitment to liberation. We’re partnering on pioneering LGBTQI research, connecting communities through events and creating spaces that center healing and holistic visions of justice, along with our continued commitment to resource activists on the frontlines. Here’s how we’ve showed up so far this year:

Created space for grantees to share healing justice strategies


Photo: Grantees attend the Healing Justice and Resiliency Gathering

Just before the start of the Allied Media Conference this June in Detroit, Astraea convened members of US Fund grantee partner organizations at our Healing Justice and Resiliency Gathering. The Gathering allowed grantee partners to connect and share healing justice strategies and ideas from their local regional contexts. Later this year, we’ll publish a longer report on Healing Justice and Holistic Security.

Elevated the work we support through the Why We Fund series


Photo: Astraea staff and Why We Fund attendees pose with Aaryn Lang and Katherine Acey following their February 2018 event

Our new Why We Fund event series opened up Astraea’s office in NYC for community members to learn more about who, where, and why we fund. We’ve held events about intergenerational activism, intersex activism, and funding in the Global Southeast, and we’ve lifted up the work of people like Katherine Acey, Aaryn Lang, Pidgeon Pagonis, and Jean Chong. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for announcements about upcoming Why We Fund events.

Reported on digital trans organizing in Central Asia & Eastern Europe


Photo: Mapping Digital Landscapes of Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe report

Together with Transgender Europe (TGEU), Astraea released a report providing a regional overview of digital organizing by trans activists in 26 countries of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The report emphasizes shared patterns of digital usage, barriers to free and safe use of the internet, and resistance strategies to homo/transphobic-motivated censorship, surveillance, and online attacks. Read the report here, and a recently published article via Access Now here.

Convened the first ever regional intersex meetings in Latin America and Asia


Photo: Intersex activists gather at the first Asian Intersex Forum in Bangkok, Thailand

We helped sponsor the first regional intersex convenings in Latin America and Asia. In research from our recent The State of Intersex Organizing (2nd ed) report, intersex groups reported an ongoing desire for convening spaces. The regional meetings provided an excellent opportunity to have focused discussions on regional priorities and strategies; and specific needs for intersex organisations and intersex individuals in the region. Each region produced a statement and two regional networks were set up in Latin America and Asia. Read the statements from each convening: AsiaLatin America.

Connected communities through events


Photo: Attendees pose for a photo at a February 2018 event in Seattle. Photo credit: Amy Tam Co.

Astraea has helped host events in cities all over the U.S. to bring together Astraea grantee partners, donors, and community members to support LGBTQI movements worldwide. We have many more events planned, so stay tuned—we may soon be in a city near you!

Updated our privacy policy to reflect new legal requirements

In order to comply with the GDPR and to shift with the changing digital landscape, we’ve updated our privacy policy. Read it here!

Created the Astraea House Party Toolkit


Photo: Guests attend our event in Washington, D.C. in January 2018. Photo credit: Beverlie Lord of Satsun Photography

Build community with us, call your friends, and maximize your impact by shifting resources to the frontlines! Hosting a house party for Astraea is now easier than ever! Learn how in our new house party toolkit. By sponsoring a house party, you are helping to promote our mission to advance the economic, political and cultural empowerment of LGBTQI people globally.

Amplified the voices of grantee partners and donors in a series of videos


Photo: Members of grantee partner BreakOUT! based in New Orleans

Our online Video Archive has blossomed! We’re creating a dynamic collection of videos that amplify the voices of grantee partners and donors. Hear more about how Astraea started, being intersex in Asia, the fight for sexual and gender diversity in Palestine, and building trans women’s leadership in South Africa. The latest videos feature TGI Justice Project (TGIJP)S.H.E.Achebe PowellKatherine AceyalQawsOii-ChineseAlice HomJewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin, and more!

Strengthened Kenyan activists’ messaging through audience research and testing


Photo: Participants map out strategies at a Strategic Communications Project workshop in Kenya

Over the last year, Astraea has been engaging LGBTQI organizations and activists in Kenya to use social science research on audience messaging to inform their communications strategies. Throughout this pilot project, LGBTQI organizations in Kenya have been working to understand their audiences—specifically, potential allies—in order to create messages that speak to their shared values and encourage them to be more supportive of all Kenyans regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We are currently preparing for the final workshop, where activists will collaboratively analyze message testing and hone their storytelling skills.

Launched our Fertile Ground Fund making a total of $110,000 in grants to 15 organizations

Photo: Members of Audre Lorde Project based in New York City. Photo credit: Jeyhoun Allebaugh

Organizations often require more than just campaign-based support, they need resources to heal, survive, thrive and make change. The Fertile Ground Fund bolsters our movements’ capacities to build power by providing a flexible source of funding based on unanticipated or emerging needs and desires of Astraea’s grantee partners. It supports projects that combat the violence of policing, deepen cross-movement collaborations to end state criminalization, and invest in resiliency strategies for long-term sustainability. Stay tuned for more information on the grantee partners and the next round of grantmaking.

2018 #AstraeaPride Highlights

This Pride month, we’re grateful for all the grantee partners, staff, board, and supporters who are an integral part of the work for collective liberation.

This Pride month, we’re grateful for all the grantee partners, staff, board, and supporters who are an integral part of the work for collective liberation.

Check out the video above for recent highlights from Astraea and our grantee partners–know that you are an integral part of the work for collective liberation.

Read our most recent Annual Report to find out even more highlights from our grantee partners and supporters!

Meet our US Fund grantee partners!

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s U.S. Fund grantee partners. These are some of the fiercest organizations in the country using transformative strategies to combat criminalization, resist state violence and white supremacy, and build collaborative, sustainable LGBTQI movements where gender, reproductive, racial, migrant and economic justice is not an ideal, but a lived truth for us all.

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s U.S. Fund grantee partners.

Astraea awarded $1M in grants, to 32 organizations, in 13 states! These are some of the fiercest organizations in the country using transformative strategies to combat criminalization, resist state violence and white supremacy, and build collaborative, sustainable LGBTQI movements where gender, reproductive, racial, migrant and economic justice is not an ideal, but a lived truth for us all.

Many of our grantee partners are using multiple and diverse strategies to achieve their aims, and are engaging in cross-issue collaborations that build power at the local and national levels. Organizations are:

  • Increasing visibility of healing justice strategies and the de-stigmatization of mental health services, such as National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN)’s unique online directory of queer and trans mental health practitioners of color that assists QTPoC in accessing mental health services. Since their launch in 2016, the network has grown to over 1,500 active members.
  • Expanding the intersections of racial, economic, and migrant justice movements to center Black queer and trans migrants, such as Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project’s regional community gatherings and organizer trainings that create networks of support for Black queer and trans migrant communities and build leadership to defend and protect Black LGBTQIA migrants.
  • Running powerful policy advocacy and organizing campaigns against discriminatory practices in the criminal justice system, such as Young Women United’s fight against SB 78 and Communities United for Police Reform’s campaign for the Right to Know Act.

We are committed not only to resourcing movements via grantmaking, but also to supporting and strengthening cross-collaborations. In January 2018 we hosted a lively and intimate convening with twenty U.S. Fund grantee partners in Washington D.C. Throughout the day, conversations centered around vulnerability, safety, sustainability, and the need for innovative strategies in this intensified moment of white supremacy, racism, and violence; from politicizing direct service provision, engaging in interfaith organizing, to building cross-movement visions and collaborations. Our partnerships with groups like these underscore why we are meeting this political moment with a renewed sense of urgency—and hope. Please join us in celebrating the work of these formidable grantee partners and read more about their work in the links below. Audre Lorde Project // Black Alliance for Just Immigration // Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project // Black Youth Project 100 // Blackbird: Fueling Innovation into Black Organizing // Black and Pink // BreakOUT! // Center for Media Justice // Community United Against Violence, Inc. // Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) // El/La Para Translatinas // Ella Baker Center for Human Rights // Enlace // Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement // FIERCE // Freedom, Inc. // Girls for Gender Equity // Immigrant Youth Coalition // Law for Black Lives (L4BL) // Mariposas Sin Fronteras // Mijente // National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network // New Voices Pittsburgh // Power Inside // Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM) // SisterReach // SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective // Survivors Organizing for Liberation (SOL) // SPARK! Reproductive Justice NOW // Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) // Trans Queer Pueblo // Young Women United (YWU) By supporting Astraea you are creating ecosystems of resistance that are smart, effective, and unique. We are answering the call of this moment. We will win. And we will do so because of your support. Join us, donate now and sign up to our emails or social media. 

About the image: Freedom Cities is a movement for safe, healthy and thriving neighborhoods and local communities led by Astraea grantee partners Ella Baker Center, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and Enlace. Credit: Ella Baker Center

New report on Digital Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe

Astraea and TGEU are proud to release a new report, Mapping Digital Landscapes of Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Astraea and TGEU are proud to release a new report, Mapping Digital Landscapes of Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The report provides a regional overview of digital organizing by trans activists* in 26 countries of Central Asia and Eastern Europe (CAEE)**, emphasizing shared patterns of digital usage, barriers to free and safe use of the internet, and resistance strategies to homo/transphobic-motivated censorship, surveillance, and online attacks. It also presents recommendations for funders and tech communities, social media corporations, and government entities.

In CAEE, trans lives are endangered not only by homophobic and transphobic legislation, but also by governments seeking to exert stricter surveillance over civil society by controlling and monitoring internet usage. Restrictions on internet freedom have a disproportionate effect on trans communities in the region who rely on the internet for their activist, personal, and professional lives, making it a critical tool for connecting and movement building.

Trans communities in the region are resisting these challenges using digital tools in creative ways:

  • In Russia, Foundation Transgender, an NGO working with trans people, crossdressers, and genderqueer people, chose to relocate their website hosting to servers based outside of Russia, in order to keep their organizational documents secure from the imposing 2012 Gay Propaganda Bill.
  • Trans activists in Turkey created the hashtag #GameOfTrans in 2017, using various social media platforms to organize a Trans Parade on the streets of Istanbul. The action revealed activists’ power to mobilize communities despite government surveillance.
  • LGBT Organization Labrys Kyrgyzstan responded to increasingly violent homophobic and transphobic hate speech on and offline with a regional email and listserv campaign, sharing information about the incidents with a wider European and Central Asian community of activists, and inviting them to share their own best practice responses and strategies.

“With the growing importance of digital organizing for trans movements coupled with crackdowns on internet freedom and civil society, there is an urgent need to invest resources in trans movements in CAEE,” says Mariam Gagoshashvili, Senior Program Officer at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Investment in digital infrastructure alongside funding of trans-led groups is crucial to supporting the continuing fight against oppressive power structures and essential for the human rights of trans people in the CAEE region.

Read the report

 

 

To access a version of the report translated into Russian, click here.

P.S. Mapping Digital Landscapes of Trans Activism in Central Asia and Eastern Europe is part of a wider series of Astraea’s country-specific research reports mapping out the landscape of political, economic and social conditions for LGBTQI activism around the world. To read reports covering other regions of the world, including Southern African and Latin American countries, please visit our publications section. This is the first report to focus exclusively on the state of digital organizing and LGBTQI activism.

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*In this report, the term “trans activists” refers to trans people who are actively working towards empowering trans communities and fighting for trans rights either in formal structures such as trans rights NGOs or LGBTQI NGOs, or in less formalized settings such as initiative groups, or as individual voices visible and known to trans communities within their respective countries.

**We use this acronym to include countries in Central Asia, Caucasus, Post-Soviet Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Central Europe; countries under review are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, FYROM/ Macedonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Today we honor our founding mothers!

Hear Astraea founding mother Achebe Powell and Astraea’s first Executive Director Katherine Acey share what it took to make their vision of a foundation that left no one behind a reality.

More than 40 years ago, a small group of women came together to address the needs of lesbians, women of color, and grassroots feminist organizations. They prioritized inclusivity and worked tirelessly over the years to ensure that they were leaving no one behind.

We recognize the formidable legacy of our founding mothers. Four decades later, and their vision still burns bright! Thank you, Stella Alvo, Audrey Barnes, Nancy Dean (d), Barbara Grant, Joyce Hunter, Roberta Kosse, Cynthia Long, Achebe Powell, Joan Watts and Leslie Kanes Weisman.

In the video above, hear Astraea founding mother Achebe Powell and Astraea’s first Executive Director Katherine Acey share what it took to make that vision a reality.

#GiveToAstraea because as Achebe says, “What we can never forget is there is so much more work to be done.”

Donate

 

 

Meet our new Program Team members

Our program team continues to grow and reflect a global feminist diaspora in the leadership of philanthropy.

Our program team continues to grow and reflect a global feminist diaspora in the leadership of philanthropy. We welcome the breadth and knowledge of U.S. Southern movement organizer Shaena Johnson, our new RJF Program Officer, and the powerful leadership of Courtney Okeke, our new Program Associate. Former RJF Program Officer Miabi Chatterji also now brings her depth of experience in racial justice philanthropy and her sharp analytical mind to her new role as our Senior Grants Manager.

Importantly, we want to lift up Namita Chad in her new role as Associate Director of Programs. In her eleven-year tenure at Astraea, she continues to be a transformative leader for the Program team and Astraea Foundation.

Our team will continue to uplift Astraea’s tenets of advocacy; to resource and be thought partners with LGBTQI global movement leadership as we resist and build collective power and liberation.

Meet our new Program Team members

Shaena Johnson, LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund Program Officer

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Shaena Johnson brings over 15 years of organizing and advocacy experience as well as her extensive work in the community focusing on issues facing LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system. Shaena is also the former Co-Director of BreakOUT! [Read more]

Courtney Okeke, Program Associate

Courtney Okeke joins Astraea’s Programs Team with a wealth of experience leading youth wellness and social justice programming; facilitating healing, power, and oppression sessions; and organizing within Black queer feminist and youth-led movements. [Read more]

Namita Chad, Associate Director of Programs

Namita Chad is Astraea’s Associate Director of Programs. She is a queer South Asian activist with over 10 years experience in social justice philanthropy and over 15 years of experience working with grassroots, LGBTI, immigrant and feminist groups as a board member, staff and in advisory roles. [Read more]

Miabi Chatterji, Senior Grants Manager

Miabi Chatterji has been participating in and supporting cross-issue movements for justice for more than a dozen years. In the past she has been Co-Director of Grants at Resist, a public foundation with a 45+ year history of funding intersectional social movements, and Senior Program Officer for Astraea’s LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund. [Read more]

Why We Fund: Intersex Activism

Astraea is thrilled to have our grantee partner, Pidgeon, joining us from Chicago as part of our Why We Fund event series

Astraea is thrilled to have our grantee partner, Pidgeon, joining us from Chicago sharing their incredible work. Pidgeon is an American activist, writer, artist, and consultant who has presented across the nation and internationally. They are an advocate for intersex human rights and against nonconsensual intersex medical interventions.

Thanks to Flatiron Hotel for their generous support of this Why We Fund event. We’re happy to partner with them!

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Thanks to everyone who attended the event! We were grateful to have everyone in the room.

View event photos

Astraea to Partner with Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow

Astraea is honored to be one of 11 organizations selected to host a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow in 2018.

Astraea is honored to be one of eleven organizations selected to host a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow in 2018.

About the Program:

Backed by Ford and Mozilla, the program partners emerging technologists with civil society organizations for 10 months of collaborative and creative work to support public awareness around online policy, defending digital rights, and championing internet freedom. In turn, the host organizations mentor their fellows to tackle challenges to the open web: digital inclusion, online privacy and security, transparent policy, and human rights advocacy.

Why Astraea?

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI rights around the globe. We support hundreds of brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed social change. We work for racial, economic, social and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with profound dignity.

QTPOC communities exist at the intersections of oppressions and have long experienced government restriction. As a LGBTQI funder, Astraea has always worked to resource marginalized groups working in restrictive environments. Our work includes internet freedom because digital terrain mirrors the physical world’s marginalization of LGBTQI communities, especially those with the least access to power: women, trans and intersex people, and people of color. Our activist partners are working across movements and advancing myriad rights issues; to support them, we too work beyond silos and aim to ensure the cross-pollination of internet freedom/governance issues with their broader human rights advocacy. Our work presents an important opportunity for an emerging technologist to directly support frontline activists working at the intersections of issue areas like racial justice, gender justice, economic justice, and reproductive justice all over the world so they can be more safe, secure and technologically innovative in their organizing.

Fellowship Areas of Focus:

We’ve selected 3 focus areas that would contribute to Astraea’s mission while advancing the fellow’s experience:

  1. CommsLabs: Astraea’s CommsLabs is a global movement-building initiative that conducts research and equips activists in their local contexts around the world with tools, strategies and knowledge they need to securely organize, online and off. CommsLabs fosters symbiotic connections among activists, trainers, healers and technologists to mitigate the harms and seize the opportunities that tech presents within the distinct political climates our constituents operate.

    For 2018-19, Astraea will implement plans for CommsLabs in 4 geographies: the Caribbean, Central Asia/Eastern Europe, India, and the United States. The fellow would be a key support for the development and/or implementation of our upcoming CommsLabs, and would work closely with activists in each locale to support their tech, communications, security, healing and media goals.
  2. Promoting LGBTQI voices in internet freedom spaces: Astraea is active in spaces like RightsCon, Internet Freedom Festival and Stockholm Internet Forum. Alongside activist partners and staff, the fellow would be able to support our efforts to uplift the priorities of QTPOC in internet freedom dialogues by leading or participating in research to advance LGBTQI activists’ needs in these spaces. The fellow would be encouraged to explore how their interests connect to our mission and constituencies.
  3. Strengthen Astraea’s digital security practices: With many of our partners under increased scrutiny and Astraea itself facing potential threats, we are evaluating internal security tools and tactics. The fellow would be able to work with staff to improve security and reduce the risk of hostile actors compromising Astraea’s and our partners’ safety.

More generally, we hope to work with a fellow who has experience in designs/systems thinking, communications project management, security research, tech issue analysis and/or community organizing. The fellowship will be based in our office in New York City, but there will be ample space and opportunity for the fellow to travel and/or to work remotely from alternate locations.

Fellows will receive a $60,000 USD stipend paid in monthly installments, and will also receive childcare and healthcare benefits.

Interested in becoming one of this year’s Ford-Mozilla Fellows and working with us or one of the other great organizations selected for 2018? Applications are due April 20! Please make sure to select “Open Web” in the application form to apply for this particular fellowship.

Have any questions about the application? Please contact Mozilla directly at fellowships@mozilla.org.

Astraea is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. People of color, people with disabilities and people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities are encouraged to apply.