A conversation with J. Bob Alotta and outgoing Director of Programs Cara Page

J.Bob Alotta chats with outgoing Director of Programs, Cara Page about healing justice, holistic security, and what’s next for philanthropy.

Astraea has always had the immense pleasure of bringing so many incredible, inspiring, fierce leaders from within our own movements into our team. Cara Page, outgoing Director of Programs, joined us in October 2017 to steward our International & US grantmaking and programs toward our shared vision for racial, gender, and economic justice. At the end of March 2019, Cara will shift out of her full-time role at Astraea to make time for political projects which continue to build on these visions of justice. Cara will continue on as an advisory strategist on healing justice with Astraea.

Executive Director J. Bob Alotta sat down with Cara to reflect on her time at Astraea and hear more about what’s next.

  1. Bob: Cara, we’re obviously very sad to see you go, but we’re really excited about what’s next for you and what you’ve got in the works. Can you share more about what is critical about this shift at this time?

    Cara: There is a heightened call to action to respond to increased surveillance, policing and safety. It has taken about a decade to arrive at this level of visibility and I could say it’s based on increased fascism and natural disasters around the world, but I think it’s also a direct response to the increasing resiliency and visibility of movement building strategies centering physical, emotional, digital security and well-being.  

    That’s what I find this moment to be about, and I feel committed to engaging with this work in a different way to meet this moment. I’m rolling off to do work in multiple spheres to build long-term infrastructure for safety and wellness as integral to our movement strategies; and Philanthropy is certainly a powerful sphere in there.

  2. Bob: Thinking about those multiple spheres, what are some of the projects you’re taking on as you transition out of your full time role at Astraea, and what it is about your work at Astraea that led you to delve deeper into those projects?

    Cara: Astraea is a feminist foundation that centers gender and racial justice, and has been funding healing justice, safety, and security, since its beginnings. I came in at a particular moment of picking up that lineage; there were resourcing requests from our grantee partners saying that they’d always seen Astraea as offering avenues to fund healing justice, safety, mental wellness, recovery, and transformational work, even if it wasn’t always called that. My time here has been a lot about advising our philanthropic partners to think about where movements are inviting us to bend, adapt and explore how they are responding to generational trauma from violence and oppression, and how healing is central to their collective survival and liberation.

    In my role as the Director of Programs I’ve brought expertise as a U.S based organizer, and Astraea’s given me an opportunity to learn about global perspectives on this work and the way holistic security and healing justice are moving and shifting in a global landscape in response to closing civil societies, to natural disasters and to heightened surveillance and policing of our communities. My work has moved into mapping sites of resilience and strategies that respond to state violence and trauma from systemic oppression.

  3. Bob: We are grateful to have had the opportunity to have worked with you and benefited from your wisdom and experiences as a Black, Queer Feminist organizer and cultural memory worker. What are some of the things you are reflecting on about your time at Astraea, and what are the learnings you are taking with you into this next phase?

    Cara: I am deeply committed to the transformative roles that philanthropy can hold. Astraea is positioned to do transformative work that centers feminist principles and ideology that are integral to safety, spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing. This is the time for philanthropy to answer the call from movements about how we are resourcing and looking towards the future to build long-term infrastructure that sustains our land, our communities and our collective wellbeing.

    We have to ask how are we sustaining land, healing, safety, and wellness as an integral part of our liberation. These are not separate and Astraea has taught me how to engage with philanthropy to ask these questions.

  4. Bob: Finally Cara, what are your hopes and wishes for Astraea?

    Cara: In the heightened movements for migrant and racial justice, we know it is our grantee partners that are building transformation and power! My hope and wish for Astraea is that we keep pushing the edge and keep moving ahead and forward of ourselves to imagine what it is we would like to fund and build with movements. We need to push these conversations and really commit to long-term infrastructure that goes beyond this current moment. We’ve really got to imagine our future into being!

  5. Bob: We as Astraea have certainly gained a lot from being in partnership with you. Apart from your skills and experiences, it has been a reminder that this work – the work of our communities – is not linear, and does not take just one form. Astraea has always been composed of the people and activists who make up our communities, and for our part, we’ve always tried to be as embedded in our communities as possible. And so, the work we have done together, and the work you are going on to do, exists in concentric circles, and it is in working both together and alongside each other in these ways that we are going to continue shift power in and for our movements.

If you are a bold, badass changemaker who wants to help us keep building power for our communities, we want to welcome you to join the Astraea team! We’re hiring for some really cool positions and consultancies at the moment, and we’re also always looking for more volunteers. 

Join us!

 

 

Note: Along with her continued consulting work with Astraea, Cara will be launching a new project called the Changing Frequencies Project; which includes co-curating and touring a digital timeline of the medical industrial complex in the U.S. that maps scientific racism, experimentation and policing of our communities.  Cara will also be training up and strategizing with organizers, bioethicists, researchers, health practitioners, & healers to strategize interventions on and hold institutions accountable for abusive historical and contemporary practices in the MIC as an extension of state control, and also imagine the ways we intervene to make sure these practises end.

CSW Activist Solidarity Party

Join Astraea on March 13, 2019 as we celebrate the brave and creative activism around the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Join Astraea Lesbian Foundation to celebrate the brave and creative activism that shapes our world around the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Come to the Astraea office to meet and connect with Astraea grantee partners, allies, and communities.

Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, live performances, and dancing! Celebrate CSW week with Astraea.

Performer:

Sahar Romani, Poet (She/Her)

Sahar Romani is a poet and educator. Her work appears in The Offing, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s Margins, Entropy and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships from Poets House and New York University. Sahar grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently lives with her partner and cat in Queens, New York.

RSVP

 

 

For more information, contact Sally Troncoso at stroncoso@astraeafoundation.org or call 212.810.4155.

Giving with Trust: a Brown Bag Lunch & Discussion with Ise Bosch and Justus Eisfeld

Join us in New York City as Ise Bosch and Justus Eisfeld discuss their new book, Giving with Trust, and how the power of money can be transformed into power for the many.

Join us in New York City as Ise Bosch and Justus Eisfeld discuss their new book, Giving with Trust, and how the power of money can be transformed into power for the many. Titled “Turning the power of money into power for the many,” the lecture will deal with questions like: How can we create mutual trust and stand together to shape more humane societies? How can we give in a way that transforms both the recipient and the donor? Do we dare to try something new?

Ise Bosch and Justus Eisfeld will talk about the themes explored in Transformative Philanthropy Giving with Trust, a book in which both, together with co-author Claudia Bollwinkel, reflect on holistic grant making, philanthropic involvement, and impact investments by Dreilinden gGmbH. For more than ten years, Dreilinden has been championing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and queer people and strengthening social movements around the world. The book therefore features the voices of partners, grantees, and constituents of the projects backed by Dreilinden. It also discusses privilege, power, trust, and access, and offers a new view on philanthropy and its possibilities for impact.

Giving with Trust: a Brown Bag Lunch & Discussion with Ise Bosch and Justus Eisfeld
March 14th, 2019
12:30-2:00pm
Astraea offices in New York City
Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to steph.klinkenborg@dreilinden.org

This Valentine’s Day, we’re loving our people!

In recent months, we’ve been thrilled to welcome four new staff members. 

This Valentine’s Day, we’re appreciating the staff members who work daily to advance Astraea’s mission to resource frontline LGBTQI activists in the U.S. and around the world.

In recent months, we’ve been thrilled to welcome three new staff members. We’re delighted to welcome Loé Petit to the Intersex Human Rights Fund as a Program Associate, where they’ll work closely with our IHRF Program Officer, the Intersex Fund Advisory Board, and intersex leaders in regions around the world to further resource and garner support for multi-racial, intersectional and global intersex movement-building. Biola Odunewu brings her strong organizational skill, good humor and Nigerian herbal tea apothecary prowess to our team as Executive Assistant. Lastly, Hanna Israel’s West Coast savvy and diligence bolsters our fundraising efforts as Development Associate for Institutional Giving.

Our staff, both new and old, continue to drive and shape Astraea’s work as we resist and build collective power and liberation among LGBTQI movements. We’re grateful for all they do!

With deep solidarity and power,
The Astraea Team

Meet our new staff members

Loé Petit
Intersex Human Rights Fund Program Associate

Loé Petit is a French queer and feminist intersex activist, involved in community organizing at national, regional and international scales. [Read more]

Biola Odunewu
Executive Assistant

Biola Odunewu is a multi-channel communications specialist and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in strategy, operations, marketing, and product development. [Read more]

Hanna Israel
Development Associate, Institutional Giving

Hanna is a queer activist and unapologetic anti-zionist Jew from Los Angeles with ten years’ experience in grassroots organizing for environmental defense, reproductive rights, prisoner support, migrant justice, tenants’ rights, and elevating sexual assault survivors in alternative communities. [Read more]


Want to join our team? We have some exciting new positions opening:

Program Intern
Program Interns work closely with Astraea’s Program Team to learn about and contribute to our support of over 130 grassroots LGBTQI groups around the world.

Director of Individual Giving and Special Events
Astraea seeks an experienced fundraising professional to lead Astraea’s Individual Giving Strategy.

Deputy Director
The DD will work closely with the Executive Director to create an environment for success that inspires staff and provides holistic, adaptive systems to support the organization’s mission and values.

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Why We Fund: Care and Holistic Security with Mozilla Fellow Maya Richman

In September 2018, Mozilla announced its latest cohort of 25 technologists from 10 countries that would partner with organizations including Astraea to address emerging threats and challenges that prevent the internet from remaining a force for good. On Feb 27th, Astraea’s Mozilla fellow, Maya Richman, will share a bit about her work here at Astraea, and the value of embedding technologists within under-resourced organisations.

 

Astraea is celebrating the one year anniversary of our ‘Why We Fund’ series with a conversation centering on holistic security for organizations and collectives.

We are quite thrilled to have our Mozilla Fellow, Maya Richman, in NYC to share a bit about her work with Astraea, the Mozilla fellowship, and how holistic security intersects with our healing justice work. Maya will be joined by Slammer, another Mozilla Fellow embedded within Consumer Reports, who will share her experience as a security practitioner and fellow. We hope you can join us.

The consistent goal through our Why We Fund series is for Astraea to provide space for engagement around issues, and build a greater understanding of why, where and how Astraea funds this work, and in the specific ways that Astraea always has.

We will have wine and light refreshments, and it will be an opportunity to be in community, as well as in conversation.

RSVP

Meet our grantee partner, Immigrant Youth Coalition

An interview with Immigrant Youth Coalition’s Communications Coordinator Yessica Gonzalez.

The Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC) is an undocumented and queer/trans youth led organization based in California, that mobilizes youth, families and incarcerated people to end the criminalization of immigrants and people of color. Through story-based strategies and grassroots organizing, IYC brings the struggles of directly impacted communities to the forefront of our movements to create social, cultural and policy change.  

In the video above, IYC Communications Coordinator Yessica Gonzalez shares more about the importance of the organization’s work, as well as what it’s meant to receive support from Astraea.

Learn more about Immigrant Youth Coalition.

***

Video transcript:

I think meeting other resilient queer, undocumented folks who have become my best friends, and creating a different world that we’re envisioning forward, that’s been one of the powerful moments doing this work.

There’s a lot of media attention around immigrant visibility, and we always see the good, light-skin student who is valedictorian as the one who should get citizenship. So when there are other folks who don’t fit into that criteria, they’re easier to be targeted because then they don’t seem as the ones who are deserving of all these other treatments.

A few years ago we launched a campaign called the TRUST Act to stop the collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration. That was really instrumental because it would stop people getting targeted. Or, at least, when they were stopped by police and asked for an I.D., or questioned for anything, they wouldn’t be directly funneled into a detention center, and it would give more security to folks who were victims of domestic violence, or who had been victims of a crime to call upon somebody and not fear that they would be deported or fear direct persecution or direct criminalization through immigration enforcement.

We know that citizenship isn’t the answer because a piece of paper isn’t going to take away the anxiety, depression, trauma that a lot of people are going through or absolve the targeting and criminalization of folks. Colorism is a reality, so by saying “it’s beyond citizenship, and it’s about stopping deportations,” I think that is more of the framing that we want to go towards.

Astraea was actually our first funder back in 2013, and thanks to the support of Astraea, we’ve been able to get more access to funds and sustain the work that we’ve been doing and supporting it through leadership development. And we are seeing other youth who are undocumented and who are queer creating more spaces for themselves. And, also, supporting other folks so we can continue the work and create long-term visioning.

I think personally, growing up undocumented and getting to know other undocumented folks and knowing that we’re resilient people! Everybody thinks that we’re this sad story but no, undocumented people are great! Yeah, we’re hard-working but yeah, we also know how to have fun, you know? We also know how to smile. We also know how to laugh. We also know how to do other amazing things. And I think seeing somebody reunite with their family after they’ve been incarcerated or detained, being able to mobilize, empower themselves to tell other people about the work and that it’s okay to fight back and it’s okay to take on your own case. And then seeing them outside of a detention center, when they’re back with their community, back with their family, to me that has been the highlight of this whole work. And it always reminds me why we continue to do this.

On the U.S. Trans Military Ban

Astraea condemns the Supreme Court’s recent decision to stay injunctions in recent trans military ban cases, effectively banning trans people from serving in the military.

Astraea condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay injunctions in recent trans military ban cases, effectively banning trans people from serving in the military. We deplore this stance, as its function is to dehumanize trans people and deny them a key avenue of access to resources like healthcare and education. Like many other tactics deployed by the current administration, we see this action for what it is–an effort to pretend to “protect” an invisible electorate from an imaginary enemy.

At the same time, Astraea strives for the demilitarization of the state and dismantling of mechanisms that force people to participate in the military industrial complex in order to access vital resources. We hold these contradictions because it is our responsibility to, and we vow to continue supporting work that does not shy away from paradoxes or nuances, but that seeks solutions that free us from all forms of oppression.

Learn more about the Supreme Court’s decision via the links below:

Astraea 2019 New Year’s Celebration

Astraea is opening its offices for a New Year’s Celebration!

Astraea is opening its offices for a New Year’s Celebration! Join us on January 16th at 6PM to enjoy food, drinks, art, and community. Our New Year’s Celebration will uplift brilliant artists who are creating a new world in the new year through their art and resistance.

Global Arts Fund recipients Yaneris Gonzáles Gómez and Kiyan Williams will share their experiences as LGBTQI artists creating meaningful representation and the importance of art as tool for resistance. The night will also feature visual works from Beldan Sezen and Las Nietas de Nonó.

Bring your resolutions for the revolution, RSVP online and join us at our offices on January 16th at 6PM!

For more information, contact Sally Troncoso at stroncoso@astraeafoundation.org or call 212.810.4155.

RSVP

Ellen Page and Jason Reitman to hold CASABLANCA live read benefitting Astraea

Join us on December 13, 2018 for a special live reading of Casablanca with Writer/Director Jason Reitman and Academy Award nominated actress Ellen Page! All proceeds will benefit Astraea.

Come away with us to Casablanca as Writer/Director Jason Reitman, in collaboration with Academy Award nominated actress Ellen Page, brings back his acclaimed “Live Read” series with a modern diverse cast of artists reimagining the classic 1940s film. Cast members will include Ellen Page, Kiersey Clemons, Hannah Gadsby, Emily Hampshire, Indya Moore, Kate Moennig and Olivia Wilde.

Enjoy an evening at the iconic Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles and show up in true Casablanca style with your trench coat and fedora. Cocktails will be served, and nostalgic memorabilia will be available for purchase. Join us there!

Date: December 13, 2018
Time: 8pm PST
Location: Ace Theater, Los Angeles, California

*All proceeds to benefit LGBTQI grassroots activists through Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which supports the bravest and most radical organizations fighting for change.

Tickets

 

 

Press about the event:

For more information, please contact Astraea’s Develop Officer for Special Events, Sally Troncoso, via stroncoso@astraeafoundation.org or 212-810-4155.

Trans Day of Remembrance 2018

Today and everyday we remember the legacy of our trans ancestors as we continue to fight for the rights and autonomy of trans, non-binary and GNC people.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Rita Hester, a young Black trans woman from the U.S. whose life was taken in an act of anti-transgender violence. Her death led to the creation of Trans Day of Remembrance by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith. On this day, two decades after Rita’s life was taken, we honor her and all the trans people that came before us. It is vital that we connect the murder of Rita Hester to the violence that trans people, especially trans people of color, continue to face. Transrespect recently reported there were 369 cases of reported killings of transgender people worldwide in the past year. Each trans person we lose to violence is an individual with their own colorful life story of resilience and joy.

Despite this violence, our trans ancestors showed resilience and strength. They paved the way for our grantee partners all over the world who are advocating for trans rights in their respective regions, and working towards a world where we are free from this violence. Today and everyday we remember the legacy of our trans ancestors as we continue to fight for the rights and autonomy of trans, non-binary and GNC people. Our existence is resistance.

Find a TDOR event near you:

Trans Day of Remembrance Resources & Links: