This June, FeministWire named J. Bob Alotta one of their “Feminists We Love.” In an in-depth interview, Aishah Shahidah Simmons gets a personal and political look at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justices Executive Director. Bob lets readers in on, among many things, where she grew up, how her art-making turned into activism, and how she balances celebrating advances in LGBTQI rights while pushing the hard work forward thats yet to be done.
Aishah: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
Bob: I am first and foremost a kid from New York City. That is how I think of myself, even now. I grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens & eventually the East Village. Im the product of an immigrant-informed hustler-class, loud proud multi-ethnic family.
They are people who knew exile (both politically and self/economically imposed) and who weaved their prides and longings into the stories they did and did not tell, the food they cooked and the company they both kept and deeply missed. They were dancers and singers and musicians and barbers and whatever else a kid isnt supposed to overhear at the dinner table. They taught me to: trust the story above all else; love the rhythm of things; want spicy food; feel safest in the company of people who do not resemble each other; believe in ghosts; attempt a love that can conquer all and to absolutely believe that anything is possible.
Read the full interview.