Since the 1980s, I have been connected to Astraea through receiving organizational grants, facilitating meetings, being a donor, and most recently, coordinating its flagship program, the Movement Building Initiative which builds capacity and strategies of LGBTI people of color organizations. What an honor and a wonderful ride over the years. Why am I now involved in the Fall Campaign Drive, you might ask? Because this tough, thoughtful foundation is where my belief in justiceeconomic, racial, gender, disability, reproductiveis reflected, and social justice is still seen through the lens of the best of lesbian feminism as put forth in the Combahee River Collective statement in the 1970s. That is, Astraea sees people and their issues as connected and of equal worth, interdependent upon each other both for survival and well being in mind, body and spirit. And now my commitment is fueled with the excitement of a new leader, the highly charged, new-media-savvy, bold new-school lesbian-feminist, J. Bob Alotta. Astraea is stepping solidly into real time: intergenerational, multi-gendered, multi-racial, transnational, technological, multi-issuedand remains grounded in those small organizations world-wide that are the legs of the liberation movements. I’m there.
Theo Yang Copley
As a long time donor, I am passionate not only about the grassroots organizing that Astraea has traditionally funded, but also about the foresight and vision of the U. S. Movement-Building Initiative (MBI). Through MBI, Astraea has the opportunity and the privilege to not only continue to develop new models of funding that reflect progressive values, but also to use our deep and wide legacy to fund, convene and encourage collaboration among social justice organizations that are equipped with the capacity to target social and economic injustices that particularly affect LGBTQI people of color. I am proud to be a part of the next generation of Astraea donors and hope that many others will join me in committing support to Astraea’s vision to make the world a better place for all of us.
In 2007 I met a group of Astraea grantee partners in Dublin, Ireland at a meeting of frontline activists. I was living in Cairo, Egypt and working in the Middle East, where I personally witnessed the work of these granteesfrom Aswat, a Palestinian Lesbian Womens organization, to a network of women from diverse backgrounds meeting in private homes around Cairo. Now back in New York, I have followed as some of those same activists played integral roles in the revolutions that have shaken decades-old patriarchal regimes to their cores. After years working in the humanitarian field, and seeing some of the worlds conflict zones firsthand, I am convinced that working from a feminist perspective where the safety of all family members and the primacy of education are prioritized over land and resource acquisition is the way to go. Similarly Im convinced that Astraea especially at this unique moment of new leadership is the organization that can uplift and amplify so many LGBTI-led humanitarian and community initiatives around the world using a tried and tested roadmap. That’s why I’ve joined the team to create the resources for the next phase of Astraeas important work.
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