Scholar & Feminist 41: Sustainabilities

Reina Gossett, Cara Page, Krystal Portalatin, Joo-Hyun Kang & more.

city-of-reguge-micah-bazant
REGISTER DESCRIPTION PROGRAM SPEAKERS

Description—#sf41

In the forty-first year of BCRW’s cornerstone conference, we are taking seriously the framework of sustainability to ask how we can sustain the material, financial, creative, cultural, spiritual, and communal resources necessary to maintain the vitality of our communities, movements, and critical feminist inquiries. The conference brings together feminist scholars, activists, artists and community members from various constituencies to address the obstacles we face–including biomedical models of health and wellness; anti-black police and state violence; and the far-reaching tentacles of neoliberalism shrinking public resources and expanding the prison industrial complex. Panelists will address the creative and courageous responses they have developed to sustain their work as activists, scholars and visionaries working toward housing justice, ending poverty and incarceration, and building feminist knowledge production as theory, research, teaching, and praxis. Visionary activist and thinker Reina Gossett will be the keynote speaker.

Image courtesy of Micah Bazant.

Program

Saturday, February 27

 

10 – 10:30 AM
Welcome

Tina Campt
Event Oval, The Diana Center

10:30 – 11:30 AM
keynote
Making a Way Out of No Way
Reina Gossett

Event Oval, The Diana Center

Reina Gossett will discuss the uses of art, representation, and other creative strategies trans and gender nonconforming people are using while living and loving under the shadow of heightened violence.

11:30 – 12 PM
Lunch Pickup

Lunch is provided. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch to the afternoon sessions.

12 PM – 1:30 PM
Session I—Concurrent Panels

 

  • Fat Activism and Intersectionality at the Edges: Making Movements Sustainable

    PANEL
    Naima Lowe, Jamal Lewis, Tara Shuai & Rebecca Weinberger
    This panel brings together artists, activists, and thinkers who are working at the interstices of fat activism and intersectional feminism. They will discuss challenges to and strategies for refusing single-issue approaches, while showing how fat activism is already intersectional and central to left movement building. Panelists will discuss how fat activism is part of the broader struggle for bodily autonomy, how their work struggles to address questions of left political horizons and legitimate political aspirations, and how ending fatphobia is central to collective liberation.

  • Sustaining Harlem: Art, Community Activism and Black Women’s Leadership

    PANEL
    Pat Cruz, Thelma Golden, Virginia Johnson & Sade Lythcott
    How have the arts served as an essential resource for sustaining Harlem’s vibrant and diverse communities of color? How have the arts and arts organizations helped to shape and reshape Harlem’s changing identity over time? How have Harlem’s arts institutions served as a catalyst for activism and change throughout their long
    history serving this community? This panel brings together four visionary black women, each of whom have made significant contributions to sustaining Harlem through their leadership in its signature arts institutions. Each will offer their perspectives on what it means to work collectively and collaboratively on the project of sustaining Harlem, the under-acknowledged role of black women, and the resources they draw on to sustain their work.

  • Resourcing and Resilience: Building Alternative Models to Sustain Our Movements

    WORKSHOP
    Gabriel Foster, Cara Page, Krystal Portalatin, Eva Turner & Tanya Walker
    Very little money goes to LGBTQ organizations and even less goes to grassroots, social justice groups organizing around their experiences with racism, poverty and homelessness, transphobia, ableism, immigration, and incarceration. The combined legacies of white supremacy and capitalism and the limitations of the nonprofit industrial complex (NPIC) have shrunk what was already limited foundation funding for these organizations. What remains creates heavy administrative burdens for staff and members and pits communities into competition with one another. Taking the task of resourcing their movements into their own hands, the Trans Justice Funding Project (TFJP) and the Miss Major-Jay Toole Building for Social Justice (MMJT) Giving Circle have developed alternative models to build the long-term sustainability of their work and communities. Through mapping exercises, small group discussions, and report-backs, participants will unpack the history of the racial and gender wealth divide, share people of color giving traditions, redefine the value and worth of community resources beyond dollars, and explore the process of building and reclaiming alternatives.

1:45 – 3:15 PM
Session II—Concurrent Panels

 

  • Building Community Safety and Security

    WORKSHOP
    Ejeris Dixon, Elliott Fukui & Joo-Hyun Kang
    State violence, security, and militarization are daily realities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two Spirit, transgender, gender nonconforming, and queer people of color. Presenters will share their experiences, tools, and resources for creating safety teams in community spaces. Through storytelling, small group discussions, role plays about common situations, and resource sharing, presenters will share tools created by Black, Indigenous, People of Color, queer/trans/Two Spirit, sex working, disabled/chronically ill, and poor and working class communities to create safer events, conferences, gatherings and neighborhoods without relying on 911 or the police, redefining “safety” and how we can create it.

  • Working at the Limits: State and Structural Violence

    PANEL
    Tami Navarro (moderator), Alison Swartz, Deanna James & Charmaine Crawford
    This panel features scholars and activists in conversation around the issues of sustaining community-centered scholarship and programs in the wake of drastically decreased funding, hostile political environments, and tenuous public-private partnerships. This session asks participants to consider how we sustain our communities in the midst of financial crisis and structural violence. Emerging from BCRW’s Transnational Feminisms initiative, participants in this session work in areas around the globe, including South Africa, Barbados, and the US Virgin Islands.

  • Sustaining Community: Housing and Displacement in New York City

    WORKSHOP
    Gregory Jost, Daisy Gonzales & Ryan Hickey
    Neoliberal economic and social restructuring combined with a recession lasting nearly a decade has led to the displacement and dismantling of communities of color in neighborhoods throughout New York City. The typical policy response of increasing affordable housing benefits the real estate industry and big business and fails the communities it is designed to serve. This workshop will discuss strategies for vulnerable communities to sustain themselves through the constant and persistent threat of displacement that is pervasive in New York City. This workshop was organized by Pamela Phillips.

3:15 – 3:45 PM
Break: Coffee and Snacks

 

3:45 – 5:15 PM
Session III—Concurrent Panels

 

  • Disability and Healing Justice: Making Our Lives Sustainable and Our Movements Liveable

    PANEL/WORKSHOP
    Geleni Fontaine & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
    Join two visionary panelists for a hybrid panel-workshop as they discuss the connections between disability and healing justice. Participants will be invited to think through how disability and healing justice need to be central to the work of making all of our lives sustainable in the face of ableist and capitalist modes of organizing and belonging.

  • Queer Survival Economies: Invisible Lives, Targeted Bodies

    PANEL
    Amber Hollibaugh (moderator), Yana Calou, Kate D’Adamo, Hamid Khan & Ola Osaze
    Queer Survival Economies is a new initiative directed by Amber Hollibaugh and born out of the closure of Queers
    for Economic Justice. Queer Survival Economies aims to prioritize LGBTQ low-income and immigrant worker issues at a time of increasing crisis because of the on-going recession and reshaping of the global market. Participants will discuss overlooked and often invisible economic justice issues at the intersections of class, race, gender, immigration, HIV/AIDS, non-traditional families and sexuality. The goal of this panel is to bring together and educate community members to be better able to build movement possibilities in the face of economic crises and queer marginalization.

  • Bridging the Generations: Carrying On…

    WORKSHOP
    Katherine Acey (moderator), Trishala Deb, Frances Kunreuther, Krystal Portalatin
    This workshop features four activists and nonprofit leaders who span four generations and have diverse experiences working for social justice feminism. Panelists will share their stories, discuss myths and assumptions about each other’s generations, and share strategies for building meaningful multi-generational relationships that sustain individuals, communities, and political movements for transformative social change. Audience members will be invited to participate in the conversation as an essential tool for “carrying on” the dialogue and generating ideas to propel us forward.

5:30 – 7 PM
Reception

Event Oval, The Diana Center

Speakers

Katherine Acey

Katherine Acey

Katherine Acey is a Senior Activist Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Prior to BCRW, Acey was the Executive Director of GRIOT Circle, a people of color LGBTQ elders organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y. From 1987 to 2010 Acey served as the Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and holds the title of Executive Director Emeritus. Prior to Astraea, Acey served as the Associate Director of the North Star Fund in New York City. She helped create and shape the Women’s Funding Network in the mid 1980s serving on its first board and as Board chair. She is a founding member and past board chair of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and has served as a board or advisory member to countless organizations including: Women in the Arts, the Center for Anti-Violence Education, New York Women Against Rape, MADRE, Women Make Movies and the International Network of Women’s Funds. Acey is past chair of the National Executive Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, and was a core member of the Arab Women’s Gathering Organizing Committee. Acey serves on the Boards of Political Research Associates, Center for Constitutional Rights and the Advisory Board of Open Society’s International Human Rights Initiative.

Charmaine Crawford

Charmaine Crawford

Charmaine Crawford is Head and Lecturer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Nita Barrow Unit, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. She completed her graduate work (M.A., PhD.) in the Women’s Studies Programme at York University, Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include gender and sexuality in the Caribbean, transnational motherhood, Caribbean domestic workers, feminist pedagogy and post-colonial/queer/feminist theorizing. Some of her publications include “Feminist Pedagogy and Social Change: The Impact of the Caribbean Institute in Gender and Development” (forthcoming); “Sexually Undone: A Review of Sex and Citizen Interrogating the Caribbean” (2014); and “Who is Your Mama? Transnational Motherhood and African-Caribbean Women in the Diaspora” (2012).

Patricia Cruz

patricia cruz

Patricia Cruz began her term as Executive Director of Harlem Stage in 1998. Ms. Cruz is a member of the Board of Directors and is responsible for overseeing Board Development, long range planning, fundraising, and program development. The highlight of her tenure has been the renovation of the Gatehouse for use as Harlem Stage’s new home. Cruz serves on the board of The Urban Assembly and the CalArts Board of Overseers. She is a past board member of The Andy Warhol Foundation. She is also past president of The New York Foundation for the Arts and ArtTable.

Trishala Deb

Trishala Deb

Trishala Deb is the Regional Director, Asia at the International Development Exchange. Trishala has worked at the intersection of a variety of issues, including immigrant and refugee rights, gender justice, anti-violence and militarization, community organizing based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and supporting the capacity building efforts of emerging grassroots organizations. Previously, she worked at Caring Across Generations, bringing together home care workers, consumers, and families. She also coordinated a program for immigrants at the Audre Lorde Project, a community organizing center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two Spirit, and trans people of color in New York City; and has worked with the Arcus Foundation and Public Interest Projects. Trishala was on the Advisory Board of the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and worked with Migrant Rights International as well as the Steering Committee of Grassroots Global Justice to connect issues of migration, sustainable development, and economic justice with organizations in the Global South as well as the United States.

Ejeris Dixon

Ejeris Dixon Thumbnail

Ejeris Dixon is an organizer and advocate with 15 years of experience working in racial justice, LGBTQ, anti-violence, and economic justice movements. She is the former Deputy Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, in charge of the Community Organizing and Public Advocacy Department, where she directed national, statewide, and local advocacy efforts on hate violence, domestic violence, and sexual violence. She is also the founding program coordinator of the Safe OUTside the System Collective at the Audre Lorde Project where she worked on creating community based strategies to address hate and police violence. She has been featured in multiple media outlets as a subject matter expert on violence as it impacts LGBTQ communities and communities of color, including the New York Times, Huffington Post, SPIN Magazine, CNN, the New Civil Rights Movement, the New York Post, NY1, and Citylimits. In 2012 the White House recognized her as both an Emerging LGBT Leader and selected her as a featured speaker on violence against Black LGBT communities. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies at Yale University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Geleni Fontaine

Geleni Fontaine

Geleni Fontaine is a fat, queer, disabled and chronically ill Latinx transperson raised and living in Brooklyn, New York.  Geleni is an acupuncturist and former registered nurse with a public health and HIV-counseling background. They are a cooperative member and practitioner at Third Root Community Health Center, a worker-run holistic health care center providing transformative, accessible, and empowering care to LGBTQ people, People of Color, and all communities in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Geleni is also self-defense teacher and a lifelong poet. As a healer living with chronic illness and pain, Geleni celebrates the intersections that inform their practice and nourish solidarity and interdependence with their communities.

Gabriel Foster

Gabriel Foster

Based in Brooklyn, NY, Gabriel Foster is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Trans Justice Funding Project. Prior to making his way east he worked in Seattle, WA with the American Friends Service Committee’s GLBTQ Youth Program and the Northwest Network of bisexual, trans, lesbian, and gay survivors of abuse. Before arriving in New York, he worked at SPARK Reproductive Justice Now with LGBTQ youth of color and allies in Atlanta, GA; the Leeway Foundation, supporting women and trans people creating art for social change in Philadelphia, PA; and provided outreach for the Jonathan Lax Fund at the Bread and Roses Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. Gabriel is a former staff member of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and a current board member for Funders for LGBT Issues as well as an ABFE Connecting Leader Fellow, class of 2015-2016. He loves dreaming big and is constantly amazed by pug memes!

Elliott Fukui

Elliott Fukui

Elliott Fukui is a trainer, facilitator, and community organizer with over 10 years of experience in social justice movement work. With Midwest roots and East coast seasoning, Elliott has been organizing both on national and local levels across many different issues and struggles, including reproductive justice, racial justice, economic justice, and gender justice. Currently, Elliott is the Director of Community Engagement with the Transgender Law Center, working to support Trans and Gender Non Conforming leaders, and build strong coalitions fighting Anti-Trans legislation and ballot initiatives. Prior to this, Elliott was the program coordinator of Trans Justice, a political organizing group led by and for Trans and Gender Nonconforming People of Color and a program of the Audre Lorde Project in New York City. He is also currently on the advisory board of the Icarus Project, a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. Elliott believes Audre Lorde said it best when she said “there is no such thing as a single issue struggle, because we do not lead single issue lives.” He works hard to build spaces with many communities that make room for all of our fabulous complexity and fierceness, and build our collective power. He also believes that we will win.

Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem where she began her career in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. After a decade at the Whitney, she returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs, and was named Director and Chief Curator in 2005. Golden was appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House by President Obama in 2010, and in 2015 joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. She serves as the 2015–16 Chair of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group and was appointed to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Golden is the recipient of the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. Born in St. Albans, Queens, Golden currently resides in Harlem.

Daisy Gonzalez

Daisy Gonzalez

Daisy Gonzales began at Community Voices Heard in 2015 as the Gail Aska Policy and Research Fellow and is now on staff as the Sustainable Communities Organizer focusing on the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan and Rezoning Process. Her family emigrated from Guatemala to South Gate, California in Los Angeles where she was raised. Daisy was first exposed to organizing in her hometown around issues of environmental justice and has since worked on various processes alongside low-income people of color, connecting urban planning, civic engagement, and organizing. Her experience includes working in Orange County, California with tenants on substandard housing and affordability issues, as well as making decision-making processes more inclusive. Daisy worked with the City of San Diego on the Barrio Logan Community Plan from 2008-2010 in a participatory process for updating land use and zoning regulations. She has a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, San Diego and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Urban Planning at CUNY-Hunter College.

Reina Gossett

Reina Gossett and Sheila Cunningham

Reina Gossett is an activist, writer, and artist and an Activist Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women.  As the membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project from 2010 to 2014, Reina worked to lift the voice and power of trans and gender nonconforming people. Prior to joining the Sylvia Rivera Law Project Reina worked at Queers for Economic Justice where she directed the Welfare Organizing Projected and produced “A Fabulous Attitude:  Low Income LGBTGNC People Surviving and Thriving on Love, Shelter, and Knowledge,” a report documenting low-income LGBT New Yorkers surviving inequality and thriving despite enormous obstacles.

Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey is the Housing Organizer at Picture the Homeless. Upon completion of his master’s degree, he was accepted into a PhD program at the New School… but chose instead to pursue an organizing career with the hopes of helping build a radical grassroots housing campaign. Although much of his background is in organizing students, he has worked as a community organizer on many campaigns, including a living wage campaign with supermarket cleaners, and as an organizer for a report on the Tottenham Riots. There he further developed his understanding of how the police uphold racism and state power within society. Most recently, he worked as a researcher and campaigner on a campaign calling for the statutory regulation of private military and security companies.

Amber Hollibaugh

A well-known activist, artist, public intellectual and community organizer, Amber Hollibaugh was a founding member and formerly the Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). Prior to that position, she held the positions of Chief Officer of Elder & LBTI Women’s Services at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago, Senior Strategist for the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, and Director of National Initiatives at SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). Earlier in her tenure she was SAGE’s Director of Education, Advocacy and Community Building. Before joining the staff of SAGE, she spent seven years at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) as Founding Director of the Lesbian AIDS Project and subsequently as the National Director of Women’s Services. She had also been the Director of Education for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, AIDS Division. Amber is currently on the board of CLAGS (the Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies) and on the editorial board ofGLQ: A Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies.

She was a recipient of the Dr. Susan B. Love Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women’s Health. She is the author of My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (Duke University Press) and the director and co-producer of The Heart of the Matter, a documentary film focusing on women’s sexuality, denial and risk for HIV and AIDS. The film won the 1994 Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression award and premiered on PBS’s prestigious POV film series. She emphasizes the importance of looking at an issue through different lenses as well as the complexity of the intersections of race, class, gender, age and sexuality.

Deanna James

Deanna James

Deanna James is the Executive Director of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development, a 25-year-old operating foundation, which has been recognized as one of the most prominent civic organizations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has held a number of executive level positions at the Foundation during her 13-year tenure, overseeing general operations, grantmaking, and program development. She is also responsible for fiscal Sponsorship services for 50+ small non-profits, federally funded community-based programs and, grassroots initiatives, which operate under the Foundation’s 501(c)3 umbrella., As a result of the Foundation’s expansive programmatic wingspan, Deanna works intimately with almost every sector of the Virgin Islands community, including most local governmental agencies, a cadre of corporate partners as well as a host of civic organizations throughout the Territory. Deanna also serves on a number of public sector councils and advisory boards including the Children, Youth and Families Council, the Small Business Development Commission Board, and is a member of several national organizations including the Society for Human Resources Management, the Council on Foundations and Grantmakers for Education. Deanna is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Lehigh University as well as a Master of Arts degree in Communications from American University in Washington D.C.  She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and has held a number of positions in Public Relations and Human Resources in the Virgin Islands and on the U.S. mainland.

Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson returns to Dance Theatre of Harlem as artistic director having been a founding member and principal dancer. Born in Washington, DC, Johnson graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet. She briefly attended the School of the Arts at New York University as a University Scholar before joining DTH in 1969. During her 28 years with the company she performed most of the repertoire, with principal roles in “Concerto Barocco,” “Allegro Brillante,” “Agon,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Fall River Legend,” “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “Voluntaries,” and “Les Biches,” among others.

Gregory Jost

Gregory Jost thumbnail

Gregory Jost is a Bronx-based researcher, organizer, and facilitator with expertise in affordable housing, the history of redlining, and strategies for community reinvestment. While at the University Neighborhood Housing Program, he created the Building Indicator Project to evaluate levels of physical and financial distress in more than 60,000 New York City apartment buildings. Gregory is a partner at Designing the WE, a facilitation and social impact design studio that believes we can redesign our systems to acknowledge that everyone has value to contribute. He is also a partner at LotInfo, which empowers communities by making data and mapping accessible. He is currently writing a book on race, real estate, and redlining.

Frances Kunreuther

Frances Kunreuther

Frances Kunreuther co-directs the Building Movement Project (www.buildingmovement.org), which works to strengthen U.S. nonprofits as sites of civic engagement and social change. She is co-author of two books, From the Ground Up: Grassroots Organizations Making Social Change (Cornell, 2006) and Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2009).  Frances was a senior fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University for five years and is currently affiliated with the Research Center for Leadership and Action at NYU where she also teaches. In the 1990s, Frances headed the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LBGT youth and was awarded an Annie E. Casey Foundation Fellowship for this and her previous work with homeless youth and families, undocumented immigrants, crime victims, battered women, and substance users. She writes and presents frequently on issues related to nonprofits, leadership, and social change.

Jamal T. Lewis

Jamal Lewis

Jamal T. Lewis is a cultural worker and emerging multidisciplinary performance artist living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. He/She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music with concentration in Vocal Performance from Morehouse College, and is currently a second-year graduate student in The School of Media Studies at The New School. Jamal’s work interrogates and explores identity formation, ugliness, desire(ability), race, class, gender, and sexuality through a Black, queer, feminist, and abolitionist lens. He/She is currently working on his/her first documentary film, “No Fats, No Femmes,” and is receiving submissions for his/her forthcoming varied anthology, Femme to Femme.

Naima Lowe

Naima Lowe

Naima Lowe’s films, videos, performances and writings have been seen at the Athens International Film and Video Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive, The Knitting Factory, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Islander Experience, The Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery, The International Toy Theater Exhibition, and Judson Memorial Church.  Naima has been recently working with letterpress printing, hand made 16mm film, and other forms of archaic producible visual media. Her 40-page, limited edition, looseleaf book Thirty-Nine (39) Questions for WHITE PEOPLE was shown at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle from May-November 2013.  Naima is currently a member of the faculty at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

Sade Lythcott

Sade Lythcott

Born and raised in New York City, Sade Lythcott is the daughter of Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder of the National Black Theater (NBT) and legendary champion of African-American culture in New York. Following her mother’s death in 2008, Sade was appointed CEO of the NBT. She is also co-chair of the Coalitions of Theaters of Color, which represents the oldest theaters of color in New York State. A graduate of New York University with a BA in art history, Sade lives in Harlem, NY. Prior to joining the NBT staff, she performed with several Off  Broadway theater companies, including appearances as Gail in Ron Milner’s “Urban Transition: Loose Blossom” at the New Federal Theater directed by Woodie King, Jr and as Dorothy Dandridge in “Dorothy Dandridge: Before, After & Now” directed by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. In 2012 Lythcott wrote & produced the highly-acclaimed musical “A Time To Love,” garnering 3 AUDELCO award nominations and the Key to Harlem for her excellence in the Arts. Sade is the recipient of the 2015 Black Theatre Network’s LLH Legacy Award, 651 Arts Rising Star Award, Castillo Theatre progress on stage award. She is a contributing artist and cultural organizer for Arts in a Changing America.

Ola Osaze

Ola Osaze

Ola Osaze is a trans feminist of Edo and Yoruba descent who serves as the Development Senior Manager for Transgender Law Center in Oakland, CA. Ola has also been involved with the Audre Lorde Project, Uhuru Wazobia, Queers for Economic Justice and Sylvia Rivera Law Project. As a writer, Ola’s work has been featured in Black Public Media, Black Girl Dangerous, Black Looks, Apogee, HOLAAfrica, Autostraddle, Trans Atlantic Times, and anthologies, including Yellow Medicine Review, Queer African Reader, and the soon to be released Outside the XY: Queer, Brown Masculinity.

Cara Page

Cara Page

Cara Page is a Black queer feminist cultural worker & organizer. She comes from a long ancestral legacy of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast.  For the past 20-plus years she has worked within the queer & trans liberation movement, reproductive justice movement, the racial and economic justice movements and the National People’s Movement Assembly. She continues to organize, create cultural and political spaces that honor our leaders, movements, communal legacies, and mobilize transformative spaces for the safety and well-being of our communities. Cara is currently the Executive Director of the Audre Lorde Project. She is also a co-founder and former Coordinator of the Kindred Collective, a southeastern network of healers, health practitioners and organizers seeking ways to respond to and intervene on state violence & generational trauma. She is the former National Director of the Committee on Women, Population & the Environment, and a proud member of Southerners on New Ground, Project South, and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performance artist, and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author of the Lambda Award-winning Love Cake, Dirty River, Bodymap, and Consensual Genocide and co-editor with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writings on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, healing, disability, and transformative justice have been widely published. She is the co-founder of Mangos With Chili, North America’s touring queer and trans people of color cabaret, a lead artist with the disability justice incubator Sins Invalid, and co-founder of Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press’ 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future and is a 2013 Autostraddle Hot 105 member.

Krystal Portalatin

Krystal Portalatin

Krystal is a Queer Femme Latina, born and raised in New York City. As a youth she co-founded FIERCE and worked to fight against the impacts of gentrification and policing in the West Village. After graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa she worked in the areas of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS prevention, and youth development in Hawaii and San Diego. Longing for her political home, she returned to NYC in 2008 to work at FIERCE, where she held various staff roles, concluding her 7 years of service as a Co-Director. Currently, as an independent consultant, she supports grassroots groups one-on-one in various areas, including program development, organizational development, financial management, and fundraising. Outside of her commitment to social justice and work life, Krystal enjoys reading, cooking, and perfecting her winged eyeliner!

Tara Shuai

Tara Shuai

Tara has been active in feminist, LGBTQ, body liberation, women of color, and other justice-based movements for over a decade, and she brings both her passion for the work and her love of creating organizational systems and structures to her role at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). As Finance and Operations Director, Tara is excited to support NDWA’s internal operations through creating robust financial, human resources, and administrative infrastructure. Prior to joining NDWA, Tara served as Deputy Director at the Third Wave Foundation, a feminist foundation that supports young women and transgender youth in justice movements, primarily in low income communities and communities of color. Before that, Tara also served as the Public Policy and Government Affairs assistant at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, where she supported a team doing state and federal policy work, as well as work around faith and aging. She is the former Board Co-Chair at NOLOSE, a fat and queer organization. She currently serves as the Board Treasurer for the Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color community organizing center, focusing on the New York City area.

Alison Swartz

Alison Swartz

Alison Swartz is currently working on a PhD in Public Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Her PhD investigates the ways that youth coming of age in Khayelitsha (a township in Cape Town) navigate threats and opportunities to health and wellbeing. Alison has a background in social anthropology and environmental sciences. She completed a Masters in Public Health in 2012 also at UCT. Her research and publications have focused on community health workers in Khayelitsha and the synthesis of qualitative data for qualitative systematic reviews. She is employed as a lecturer in the Division of Social and Behavioural Sciences in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at UCT. She teaches qualitative research methods on the Masters in Public Health programme. Previously, Alison has taught undergraduate medical students at UCT, and has worked in a range of capacities teaching and developing curricula for study abroad programmes with North American undergraduate students.


Lunch, coffee, and snacks will be provided.

This event is free and open to the public.

Click here for a map of Barnard College. The venue is accessible to people with mobility disabilities.