October Grantee News

This month we bring news from grantee partners celebrating hard-fought gains in immigration rights in California, the passage of landmark legal protections against stop-and-frisk in New York, and paving the way for LBT feminist movement-building in Latin American and the Caribbean.

CUAVCommunity United Against Violence gather at City Hall

California Grantees Win Immigration Rights

Years of policy advocacy, coalition-building, base-building, and direct action by Community United Against Violence (CUAV), California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC), and other groups culminated in several hard-fought victories for immigration rights recently. On October 8th, Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco signed an ordinance limiting the controversial Secure Communities program (S-Comm). S-Comm is a program created by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that links local law enforcement and federal immigration records, greatly increasing the threat of deportation to anyone arrested by local police. Dylan Cooke, Development Director at CUAV, called the ordinance, “one of the most progressive anti-S-Comm laws in the country.”

The legislation leaves a small group of people still at risk for deportation under S-Comm—so-called carve-outs—until the bill’s carve-outs sunset in three years. According to Cooke, “This means that in three years, San Francisco will be completely free of S-Comm deportations. This is an historic victory.”

For CUAV, an organization working to end violence against LGBTQ communities, the legislative gains are significant since the majority of its members are immigrants. Some members of CUAV, CIYJA, and IYC are LGBTQI migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. and fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These grantees report that high rates of homelessness and other factors make LGBTQI immigrants especially vulnerable to deportation under S-Comm.

The passage of the anti-S-Comm ordinance follows other statewide legislative wins for California grantees fighting for immigration reform: in late September, the California Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights was signed, extending basic labor protections to domestic workers. Shortly thereafter, Assembly Bill 60 was passed, requiring the California Department of Motor Vehicle to issue driver’s licenses to people who are undocumented.

Also notable was Governor Jerry Brown’s October 5th signing of the Trust Act, which prohibits local law enforcement agencies from detaining people for deportation if arrested for a minor or non-violent crime and are otherwise eligible to be released from custody. This summer, CIYJA and IYC traveled across California to raise awareness about harmful deportation policy and build public support for the TRUST Act.

While carve-outs in the Trust Act leave a larger group at risk of deportation than the anti-S-Comm ordinance in San Francisco, Cooke said the Trust Act, “sets the stage for future work to more completely protect our communities from the dangers of S-Comm.”

CRP RallyChris Bilal, youth activist with Streetwise & Safe, speaks at CPR rally

Community Safety Act Passes

Astraea congratulates grantee partners past and present, as well as other member organizations within Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), for their dedicated advocacy this summer, which pushed the New York City Council to pass the Community Safety Act. Overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s staunch opposition, the City Council passed two bills to protect communities from the New York Police Department’s harmful stop-and-frisk policy. The first bill establishes an independent Office of the Inspector General to monitor and review NYPD policies and practices. The second bill bans, for the first time, NYPD profiling on the basis of age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status. Additionally, under this bill individuals can bring claims of discrimination against the NYPD.

This landmark success is in no small part due to two decades of coalition-organizing efforts led by LGBTQI communities of color. From former Astraea grantee partner Audre Lorde Project co-founding the Coalition Against Police Brutality in the 1990s to current grantee partner Streetwise and Safe’s role on CPR’s steering committee, people of color-led LGBTQI groups have been at the forefront of coalition-building to address police accountability. Astraea commends CPR’s campaign, coordinated by Joo-Hyun Kang (a former Director of Programs at Astraea), for its indispensable work fighting to protect a multitude of communities from discriminatory NYPD practices, including LGBTQI, immigrant, and homeless New Yorkers.

With these victories come new challenges, and CPR continues efforts to meet them. Earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg’s administration filed an appeal attempting to halt implementation of Judge Shira Sheindlin’s court ruling that stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional. Astraea extends solidarity to CPR and other activists’ call to “stop the stay” and bring an end to stop-and-frisk abuses.

VenirAttendees at Volver al Sur. Photo by Lorena Espinoza Pena

Latin American and Caribbean LBT Feminist Movement Gains Ground

Lesbian, bisexual, and trans* (LBT) feminist movement-building in Latin America and the Caribbean has gained momentum over the last year with three historic gatherings. Most recently, the 1st Caribbean Women and Sexuality Conference took place this September in Curaçao. Organized by Astraea grantee partner United & Strong in collaboration with FundashonOrguyoKorsou/Curacao Pride Foundation (FOKO), the conference brought together 30 activists from 19 LBT organizations from Antigua, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Croix, Suriname, Saint Lucia, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Grenada and the Bahamas. While some countries in the Caribbean are perceived as “LGBT positive,” LGBTQI communities face persistent hardship from discriminatory employment and health care practices, physical harassment and threats, and life-threatening violence. The groundbreaking convening spurred strategy-sharing, capacity-building, and connection amongst LBT activists whose lives and work towards sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) rights remains largely invisible and often done in isolation.

Astraea Program Officer Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez reported, “It was remarkable to see how many activists shared the same struggles. Only a few raised their hands when asked who has offices. The majority had never written grant proposals, since it’s often done by gay male leaders in the organizations. With no safe spaces, in emergencies many take Human Rights defenders into their homes, putting themselves at risk. And for most, it was the first time at a women’s conference where they were celebrated and their experiences were front and center.”

The Caribbean Women and Sexuality Conference follows on the heels of two pioneering and parallel regional encuentros (or gatherings) that took place in Bolivia and Paraguay respectively in November 2012: the IX Latin American and Caribbean Lesbian Feminist Encuentro (Lesbian Feminist Encuentro) and LesBiTransInter encuentro Volver al Sur (Volver al Sur).

Originally organized in response to a need for autonomous lesbian space separate from Latin American and Caribbean feminist encuentros that had been in force since the early 1980s, the biennial Lesbian Feminist Encuentro celebrated its 17-year history in 2012, led for the first time ever by indigenous lesbians. It gathered 150 activists from Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and El Salvador, creating space for indigenous, young, afro-descendant, elders, and radical lesbians to build leadership, and grow and connect within the larger regional movement. The gathering culminated with a march in La Paz, Bolivia, in which activists chanted, “Long Live Caribbean and Latin-American lesbian feminists. They come together and connect with the Pacha mama (the earth). They make revolutions in the streets and in the sheets.”

A parallel convening took place in Paraguay the same month. Volver al Sur was developed in direct response to the 2010 Lesbian Feminist Encuentro. Organized by Astraea grantee partners Aireana, Mujeres al Borde, and Colectivo Sentimos Diverso, it was the first LGBTQI gathering in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and sought to facilitate the first intentional dialogue amongst lesbian, queer, trans, and intersex activists in the region. Volver al Sur brought together 250 activists from Paraguay, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay, Brasil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, República Dominicana, Mexico and Colombia.

This encuentro aimed to disrupt gender binaries, centering arts and culture activism (“artivism”) and wellness and sustainability as tools for social change. One organizer told Astraea, “What brought us together was the desire to build critical, creative, pleasure-oriented, hetero-dissident feminisms, free from gender-based violence and exclusions.”

Held every two years and hosted by a different country each time, these encuentros have long been a site for many of our grantee partners to develop their leadership and grow within larger movements. They are critical spaces for regional activists to connect their work, develop political consciousness, and produce Latin American and Caribbean theory and thought. As conveners schedule the next round of encuentros for 2015, these important gatherings continue to build solidarity, break isolation, and move from vision to concrete action towards SOGI rights.

August Grantee News

This month we bring news from a several coalitions of grantee partners: the LGBTTTI Coalition who are securing human rights protections around sexual orientation and gender identity and expression at the 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States; organizers of the Undocu-Caravan seeking justice around immigration policy in California; and a delegation of grantee partners Astraea brought to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit.


LGBTTTI Coalition Wins Human Rights Protections in the Americas

This June, eight Astraea Foundation grantee partners played a central role in the passing of two conventions that protect human rights around sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in the Americas. Part of an LGBTTTI Coalition working to engage the Organization of American States (OAS), these grantee partners worked diligently for over 8 years for human rights protections for LGBTI people in the Americas alongside several other grassroots and civil society organizations representing 23 countries in the Americas. During the 43rd General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in La Antigua, Guatemala, two landmark conventions were passed thanks to the LGBTTTI Coalition’s efforts: the Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, and the Convention Against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

The passage of these conventions this summer marks an important regional victory for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in an international instrument of human rights protection. As a result, activists, civil society organizations and grantee partners will have new tools to pressure the 35 OAS member states across North and South America to sign and ratify the conventions and to then adopt policies, measures, and affirmative actions in favor of individuals or groups exposed to discrimination and intolerance as outlined by the convention. Additionally, the OAS’ General Assembly adopted the fifth resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression” which outlines 10 specific demands member states must adopt to protect people from discrimination, acts of violence, and limitations around access to participation in public life on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The General Assembly also established an Inter-American committee to follow up on the commitments made by the signatory states of the two conventions.

The grantee partners celebrating this landmark victory include Aireana in Paraguay, Santamaría Fundación in Colombia, J-FLAG in Jamaica, Mulabi in Costa Rica, Organización of Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad (OTD) in Chile, Organización Trans Reinas de la Noche (OTRANS) in Guatemala, Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) in Guyana, CAISO in Trinidad & Tobago, and United and Strong in Saint Lucia. In addition, The Global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights (GISHR), part of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, was crucial in supporting the coalition to achieve their goals. Heartland Alliance focuses exclusively on building strong and diverse LGBT movements internationally.

During the OAS General Assembly, catholic fundamentalist groups pressured OAS member states to understand “families” as inherently heterosexual. The LGBTTTI Coalition challenged this political pressure. Johana Ramirez, Director of OTRANS, represented the LGBTTTI coalition in a dialogue between OAS member delegation leaders and civil society leaders. Ramirez presented a list of demands from the LGBTTTI Coalition to member states not only to sign and implement the two conventions but also to adopt public policy, education programs, and legislative frameworks to protect the civil rights, human rights, and health rights of LGBTI people.

While only 6 member states have signed the two conventions (Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Uruguay) and challenges remain even after passage in implementation of conventions, the LGBTTTI Coalition’s victory opens space for activists to continue to pressure their governments towards the guarantee of human right protections for LGBTI people. This is a determined step towards freedom from violence, self-determination, and gender justice.

undocuqueer_bannerUndocu-Caravan leaders in San Francisco demand immigration justice

Undocu-Caravan Demands Deportation Reform in California

Astraea Foundation grantee partners Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC) and California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA) organized an Undocu-Caravan Tour, traveling across California to raise awareness about harmful deportation policy and build public support for the TRUST Act. If passed, the TRUST Act would limit collaboration between local law enforcement and national immigration enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). California legislature approved the TRUST Act last year but Governor Edmund Brown later vetoed the bill.

Partnering with the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), IYC and CIYJA kicked off the tour in San Diego on June 24th. They lead community-based actions at various locations throughout California, educating public on the complexities of “the deportation machine” and sharing stories of community members most impacted by deportation.

One of the Undocu-Caravan’s stops centered queer voices within the undocumented movement. Arriving during Pride Weekend in San Francisco, the Undocu-Caravan joined in the East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition’s July 1st action. Queer undocumented speakers and allies gathered in front of a newly erected billboard at Galaria de la Raza that reads “I AM UNDOCUQUEER!”. They spoke of the personal impact of harsh immigration enforcement policies and demanded change.

The Undocu-Caravan arrived at its final stop in Sacramento on July 2nd in time to testify at the public safety committee in support of the TRUST Act. In a final event in Sacramento, nine immigrant activists, including queer leaders of the IYC, conducted a sit-in at Governor Brown’s office, urging him not to veto the bill again this year. These activists continue to build pressure in support of the bill.

AMC_delegationAstraea staff and grantee partners gathered at a dinner meeting

Astraea and Seven Grantee Partners Build Media Skills in Detroit

In June, Astraea Foundation brought a delegation of seven grantee partners to attend the Allied Media Conference (AMC), a vibrant annual gathering of grassroots organizers and media activists from across North America. Three Astraea staff joined members from BreakOUT! (New Orleans), Gender JUST (Chicago), Streetwise and Safe (New York), Gender Justice L.A. (Los Angeles), El/La para Translatinas (San Francisco), Freedom Inc (Madison), and PrYSM (Rhode Island) in Detroit for a week of media skill-building and tool-sharing. The goal of organizing a delegation was to bring together Astraea grantee partners who work on anti-criminalization and addressing violence in their communities. Specific to the selected groups’demographics and missions, the AMC uplifts leadership of youth, LGBTQI, and people of color activists, providing a unique space to build connections and re-energize. The delegation’s travels to Detroit opened conversation on a range of issues including immigration rights, the prison industrial complex, criminalization, labor rights, sex work, children and youth rights, grassroots fundraising, and holistic health and sustainability.

For some grantees, it was their first time at the AMC and for some organization members, the first time boarding a plane and leaving their hometown. Grantees reported that they found the AMC’s comprehensive overview of social justice organizing productive and generative. Some groups held workshops and led caucus meetings. Streetwise and Safe’s workshop on using media to address the criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color was very well attended. Streetwise and Safe and BreakOUT! led a caucus on queer youth of color interventions to criminalization and mobilizing national responses to the issue. In addition, Gender Justice L.A.’s very successful workshop, “Trans Dignity & Justice through Theatre of the Oppressed: Strategies for Immediate Safety & Changing the Culture of Violence Using Theatre as a Tool,” drew a large and engaged crowd of participants. Astraea staff hosted a film screening, “Queer Migrations,” to help build cross-border connections and discussion on asylum, citizenship, and the immigration debate in the U.S. The conference provided Astraea and the delegation many opportunities to build with allies, new and long-time partner organizations, and sibling foundations such as RESIST.

May Grantee News

This month, we are featuring stories of movement building from several groups of grantee partners: Colombia Diversa, Taller de Comunicacion Mujer, and Aireana bringing visibility to lesbian human rights in the Americas; and Streetwise and Safe, Audre Lorde Project, and FIERCE challenging stop and frisk in New York City. We also report on El/La Para TransLatinas’ rally in the wake of ongoing violence in the Mission District of San Francisco.


A Historic Hearing on Lesbian Human Rights

Colombia Diversa, Taller de Comunicacion Mujer, and Aireana spoke at a historic hearing, the 147th Session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on March 15th. The three Astraea grantee partners presented on the “Situation of the Human Rights of Lesbians in the Americas.” This marks a milestone for the groups who, respectively from Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay, have been advocating for five years to address regional lesbian human rights issues.

The organizations conducted policy advocacy work at the Organization of American States (OAS), which spearheads the IACHR, as part of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean, criticizing the heteronormative framework of women rights in the OAS and calling for inclusivity and visibility of lesbian rights within women’s rights. They also made the case for children’s rights to include lesbian girls and youth.

The groups shed important light on the disproportionate violence against lesbians, calling for specific attention to the needs of the lesbian community. They refuted the assumption that lesbians experience less violence within LGBTTTI communities. Instead, they pointed to evidence that lesbians are “invisible in all aspects,” due in large part to lack of overall reporting and documentation of violence, as well as high levels of domestic violence.

In the hearing, the three organizations highlighted institutional violence, demanding the definition of torture be broadened to include torture of LBTI people in the hands of state agents, the military and other armed forces, the police, and civilians including specific attention to the horrific practice of “corrective rape” perpetuated by the police, the military, and civilians. In addition, the groups advocated for lesbianism to no longer be considered a legitimate cause for the conviction of a crime. They also demanded lesbians have rights to motherhood free from prejudice and legal obstacles to adoption.

In response to the extraordinary human rights violations of so-called “Lesbian Torture Clinics” or “rehabilitation clinics,” they demanded action to monitor and ultimately close all clinics, and called for government monitoring and accountability. Qualifying lesbianism as an addiction or a disorder, these centers subject women to torture, enforced “feminine” dress codes, electric shock, verbal harassment, forced sexual relationships with other patients of opposite sex, and cold water showers at night. Testimonies offered reports of being chained, receiving threats, experiencing sexual harassment, and being threatened with rape by health professionals. The groups pointed to the need for intervention by the OAS since women are afraid to denounce these treatments and are often forced to sign the admission contract, or are forced into “clinics” by families that sign contracts for them. Watch the groundbreaking hearing in Spanish.

FIERCEFIERCE member Lee speaks at CPR rally

New York Grantees Call for Police Reform

“Floyd vs. the City of New York,” an historic trial challenging discriminatory police practices is currently underway in New York. Communities United for Police Reform, which includes Astraea grantee partners Streetwise and Safe, Audre Lorde Project, and FIERCE, has organized a large-scale community mobilization effort around the trial. Each day, different members of the coalition pack the court to show support and monitor the trial, and organize press conferences to highlight how police misconduct affects the lives of people living in New York City. The trial painstakingly reveals how the stop and frisk policy is maintained not by hard evidence of crime prevention but by veiled NYPD “performance goals” and racial discrimination.

On March 28th, with a room packed with LGBTQI supporters, the court was forced to open a large overflow room for more community members to bear witness to the proceedings. The subsequent “Fabulous & United” press conference included powerful testimonies from trans immigrant women who have been profiled as sex workers simply for carrying condoms, queer youth of color who have been harassed, and a black gay male survivor of violence who had been stopped and frisked so often that he was unable to go to the police for help when he was assaulted. You can watch the press conference and read recent NY Times coverage of the issue. Astraea is an official organizational endorser of Communities United for Police Reform and their campaign to pass the NYC Community Safety Act.

grantee-ellaparatransActivists rally to bring awareness of transphobic violence in the Mission

El/La Para TransLatinas Speaks Out Against Violence in the Mission

In the wake of ongoing violence in the Mission District of San Francisco targeting the transgender community, El/La Para TransLatinas organized a rally on March 28th to raise awareness. The action drew public attention to transphobic and homophobic attacks in the Mission. At the rally, the group called for solidarity and support from the city, inviting the public to “come and know more about your sisters and brothers in your LGBTQQ community.”

The action received attention from city officials, local media sources including the San Francisco Examiner and the Bay Area Reporter, as well as the San Francisco Police Department. In attendance were two San Francisco Supervisors and representatives from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

El/La Para TransLatinas is an HIV prevention and human rights program for transgender Latinas, providing safe space, health education counseling, and anti-violence and harm reduction support in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Grants Made to our U.S. Anti-Criminalization Grantee Partners

We are excited to announce a new set of grants made to 10 innovative organizations across the country through our U.S. Fund, under the thematic focus of Anti-Criminalization and Freedom from Violence.

Streetwise and Safe's Teeshirt on Police Accountability
“Know Your Rights” t-shirt developed by Streetwise and Safe youth.
We awarded $220,000 to 10 groups working on campaigns and policies that increase safety and end multiple forms of violence within LGBTQI communities across a range of issues. These include efforts around interpersonal and hate violence, domestic, family, and intimate-partner violence, as well as institutional violence. Many of the organizations funded under this thematic focus tackle institutional violence, such as policies that criminalize gender expression, sex work, and many other aspects of LGBTQI people’s lives, dignity, and livelihoods. We are deeply encouraged to see the diverse interventions this set of grantee partners is making in anti-criminalization efforts locally and nationally in the areas of immigration, prison abolition, sex work organizing, and homelessness. By bringing together these groups into a cohort, we expect to see fruitful collaborations among them in policy advocacy efforts specifically related to police accountability at the city and state level.

New Orleans, LA

Community United Against Violence – CUAV
San Francisco, CA

El-La Para Translatinas
San Francisco, CA

Freedom Inc.
Madison, WI

Gender Just
Chicago, IL

Gender Justice LA
Los Angeles, CA

Providence Youth Student Movement – PrYSM
Providence, RI

Queers for Economic Justice
New York, NY

Streetwise and Safe
New York, NY

Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project – TGIJP
San Francisco, CA

8th Annual Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project Film Festival

“Al borde” translates into “on the margins” and both Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project and Mujeres al Borde, two long-term Astraea grantee partners, do important work in featuring perspectives that are on the political, identity, and social margins.

by Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez

I attended the 8th Annual Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) Film Festival in San Francisco from June 8th through 10th, alongside 3,000 other attendees. The festival was entitled “I do and I don’t: LGBTQ People of Color & Same-Sex Marriage” and this year was held at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the largest venue the QWOCMAP has used. It was thrilling to see a theater of nearly double capacity as last year’s filled with festival goers. We were invited to participate in a community conversation that followed UNFENCED/SIN VALLA, a showcase of five documentaries featuring stories of resilience and struggles for self determination of queer, trans and gender-non-conforming people in Chile and Colombia. The films were produced through the South American Audiovisual Academy Al Borde led by Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice grantee partner Mujeres al Borde (MAB).

Panelists Elisa Diana Huerta, Claudia Corredor (Mujeres AL BORDE), Mónica Énriquez-Énriquez, and María Cristina Rodríguez (Mujeres AL BORDE)

“Al borde” translates into “on the margins” and both QWOCMAP and MAB, two long-term Astraea grantee partners, do important work in featuring perspectives that are on the political, identity, and social margins. What I took away from this historic film festival –which featured “al borde” videos from Chile and Colombia as well as “al borde” films from the U.S.- is that the only way to survive is to break isolation both at local and global levels. We can no longer afford to do our work without coming together in collaboration. LGBTQI people of color living and surviving in the U.S. must connect with LGBTQI people living and surviving in the global east and global south and vice versa. In this way, we can exchange strategies, build friendships, translate our different experiences, celebrate difference, and, as a result, forge new possibilities. And these modes also define the culture of Astraea’s commitment to the communities we support.

A former QWOCMAP participant and festival curator, I was thrilled to represent Astraea as one of its Program Officers, and to experience the community screening. I was moved by several QWOCMAP films, especially those that highlighted the struggles for gender self-determination and the empowerment of LGBTQI communities of color living in the U.S. These stories are often invisible in mainstream media. And, in the cases they are visible, they are often told by people outside the communities in question. It was powerful to see stories such as that of a transgender youth living in poverty and accessing chest reconstructive surgery, another about queer migrants resisting harmful immigration systems, and lesbian parents carving spaces for their voices and their families. I was impressed by narrative use of fantasy to question normative constructions of gender and to imagine alternatives. In conversations about same-sex marriage, I was thankful for wise community responses that re-framed issues to focus on the urgent needs queer and trans people of color have such as access to dignified healthcare, education, non-discrimination in the workplace, jobs, immigrant rights, accessible housing and anti-ageist youth services.

It was beautiful to witness the powerful and meaningful transnational connections between QWOCMAP and MAB who have been in collaboration since they met in 2010 at the VIII Latin American and Caribbean Lesbian Encuentro in Guatemala City. MAB developed their “Audiovisual Academy Al Borde” based on QWOCMAP’s free video workshops and QWOCMAP was invited to participate in the XII Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encuentro that took place in Bogotá, Colombia last year, forging links with other Latin American organizations that use art and culture as a strategy for social change.

During our post-screening community conversation, MAB members Maria Cristina and Claudia told the audience about Al Borde’s logo, an image of a transgender camera wearing a tie and heels. This transgender camera is able to cross both gender and national borders, and to capture magic, fantasy and survival. They went on to share that LGBTQI people experience institutional, interpersonal, psychological and physical violence in Latin America. In Colombia, LGBTQI people are targeted on the basis of gender and sexuality in so-called “social cleansing” campaigns led by paramilitaries who are often aided by the military. MAB has witnessed the violence and suffering caused by discrimination and hate. MAB uses not only video, but also Al Borde theater, radio, a caricatoon series, sex education and children stories to respond to violence. They believe that deep social transformations start with individuals. And they mobilize affect and laughter to build bridges, formulate a critique, protest institutional oppression, deconstruct gender and create strong social change networks. Their films portray important stories: experiences of gender-non-conforming youth, trans womens’ access to education, mothers supporting their children’s sexual and gender choices, lesbians questioning the limits of monogamy, and trans mens’ reflections on desiring other men. These films document the incredible strength it takes to love ourselves and to be in a world that imposes, often through violent means, gender and sexuality norms.

UNFENCED/SIN VALLA at Queer Women of Color Film Festival

Astraea will be part of the Queer Women of Color Film Festival centerpiece screening and community conversation UNFENCED/SIN VALLA in San Francisco on June 10th, 2012 at 2pm.


From quirky twists on teenage angst, to the love mothers have for their transgender children, these documentaries from Chile and Colombia show that our spirits can’t be contained. After the screening, join QWOCMAP, Bogotá-based sister organization Mujeres al Borde, and the Astraea Foundation for a conversation on LesBiTrans Feminism in Latin America.

Brief Nudity. Bilingual Screening & Films Subtitled in English

And be sure to check out the many other screenings and community conversations that are part of the Queer Women of Color Film Festival which runs from Friday, June 8th through Sunday June 10th.


Party with Astraea in San Francisco!

Get some soul and house music in your system and dance the night away at a benefit for the Astraea Foundation in San Francisco!

Get some soul and house music in your system and dance the night away at a benefit for the Astraea Foundation in San Francisco! On April 7th, monthly happy-hour dance party DRIFT, SF is throwing Astraea a party featuring House Music DJs that will be sure to keep you going all night!


April 7th, 2012
Harlot – 46 Minna Street @ 2nd Street
$10 (Free before 7pm)

Flyer below has all the details!

El/La Para Translatinas

El/La works to build a world where transgender Latinas (translatinas) feel they deserve to protect, love and develop themselves.

El/La works to build a world where transgender Latinas (translatinas) feel they deserve to protect, love and develop themselves. By building this base, they support translatinas in protecting themselves against violence, abuse, and illness, and in fully realizing their dreams. El/La is an organization for translatinas that builds collective vision and action to promote their survival and improve their quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their scope of work includes: (1) HIV Prevention – outreach, education, testing, peer-to-peer counseling, accompaniment, and referrals and accompaniment; (2) Violence Prevention – case management, referrals and accompaniment, and Luchadoras Leadership Development and Translatina Council/Consejo Translatina; and (3) Safe Space and Community – evening drop-in,  family-style celebrations, social networking, expression of spirituality, and life skills groups. As a result of these programs they in turn go out and educate community members about risks to their health and safety, support each other in identifying barriers to full participation in society, and find resources to overcome those barriers. El/La builds visibility and alliances to respond to transphobic attacks and has worked with over 105 city agencies, service providers, programs and collaboratives in San Francisco, the greater Bay Area and beyond. Their work strengthens translatinas’ ability to critique and respond to the systems of violence they face, and the continuation of anti-violence programs addressing violence against translatinas.

Founder of Astraea Grantee Partner QWOCMAP on ABC Channel 7

San Francisco’s ABC Channel 7 News honored the founder of Astraea grantee partner Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP). Madeline Lim was recognized as part of the channel’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Salutes, which named six leaders in the community this year. QWOCMAP has been an Astraea grantee partner since 2003. The organization equips queer women and trans people to use filmmaking for social change. QWOCMAP conducts a free16-week film training program; holds film screenings in collaboration with community-based organizations; and hosts an Annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival.

ABC Channel 7

Madeleine Lim

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Madeleine Lim - Executive/Artistic Director, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project

Executive/Artistic Director, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (KGO Photo)

At the age of 23, Madeleine Lim escaped persecution by the Singaporean government for her organizing work as a young lesbian artist-activist.

Ten years later, she created Sambal Belacan in San Francisco, a film that is still banned in Singapore for its exploration of race, sexuality and nationality. As one of a small number of queer women of color filmmakers on the international film festival circuit, she saw that only queer women of color would tell their own authentic stories. She created Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) with the belief that a community of artist-activist leaders could change the face of filmmaking and the social justice movement.

As founding Executive/Artistic Director, Lim directs organizational vision and provides artistic direction for all QWOCMAP programs. She is an award-winning filmmaker with more than 20 years of experience as a producer, director, editor, and cinematographer. Her films have screened at sold-out theaters at international film festivals around the world, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, and Amsterdam Amnesty International Film Festival. Her work has also been featured at museums and universities, and broadcast on PBS to over 2.5 million viewers. She holds a B.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University, where she was awarded Outstanding Cinema Student of the Year.

Lim’s films have received awards from the prestigious and highly competitive Paul Robeson Independent Media Fund, as well as the Frameline Film Completion Fund. She received the 1997 Award of Excellence from the San Jose Film & Video Commission’s Joey Awards and won the 1998 National Educational Media Network Bronze Apple Award. From 2000 to 2003, she was a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence. Under Lim’s leadership, QWOCMAP’s Filmmaker Training Program was awarded 2003 Best Video Program by San Francisco Community Media. In 2005, Lim received the LGBT Local Hero Award from KQED-TV in recognition of her leadership of QWOCMAP and her dedicated service to the queer women of color community.

The Featured Filmmaker at the 2006 APAture Asian American Arts Festival, Lim has twice been awarded the San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission for her new film about her mother and other girls adopted from China. She has won the 2007 DreamSpeaker Award from Purple Moon Dance Project, and the 2010 Phoenix Award from Asian Pacific Islander Women & Transgender Community (APIQWTC).

For more information: http://www.qwocmap.org/MadeleineLim.html

For Grantmakers: Intersections between Race, Justice and Disability

Please join us on May 12th for a briefing for grantmakers about the emerging framework of Disability Justice as central to the success of our broader social justice movements.  No longer accepting disability within a framework of “individual” struggle, Disability Justice activists address disability within a broader social context that includes race, class and sexuality.

An emerging Disability Justice framework provides us the opportunity to learn how disability is interconnected with every other issue, and how our movements can become inclusive and sustainable for all people, of all abilities and identities. We will hear from three visionary activists at the leading edge of Disability Justice.

“People living with a disability may be inconvenienced by living with an impairment, but what oppresses us is the systemic prejudice, discrimination, segregation and violence we face because we do not fall within a perceived ‘norm’.” — Patty Berne, Director Sins Invalid

Sponsors: Aepoch Fund, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Common Counsel Foundation

Register HERE


Thursday, May 12, 2011
2 pm – 3 pm EST / 11 am – 12 pm PST
Register HERE

When you register, you will receive a call-in number and unique pin number to access the call through Maestro Conference. You will receive additional visual materials via email.


Patty Berne, co-founder and director, Sins Invalid, San Francisco, CA
Stacey Milbern, community outreach director, National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN), Raleigh, NC

Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, co-founder, intersections/intersecciones consulting, Silver Spring, MD

Moderator: Zak Sinclair, Aepoch Fund, San Francisco, CA

Please contact briefing@aepoch.org with any questions.