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Artists and Activists Re-Imagine "Trans Day of Remembrance"
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Eight transgender artists and organizations release original art highlighting trans resilience, power and leadership
November 16, 2015 — Today the Strong Families movement launched the Trans Day of Resilience campaign, an art and activism project that supports trans women and femmes of color in their lives and leadership. It is an extension and re-imagining of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the annual event memorializing people (mostly trans women of color) killed by anti-trans violence. Trans Day of Resilience goes beyond remembrance, and uplifts the resilience and power of trans and gender non-conforming communities of color.
Forward Together, which houses Strong Families, and visual artist Micah Bazant joined together to create this project. It paired eight trans and gender non-conforming artists with eight organizations across the country doing trans justice work. Although trans and gender non-conforming people of color face disproportionate rates of violence and poverty, they are also thriving and leading movements for social justice. The shareable art created for Trans Day of Resilience tells those stories of trans power, vision and leadership.
“Too often we’re only fighting the things we don’t want, like violence and poverty. Its just as important to imagine and build the world we do want,” explains Micah Bazant, founding artist. “I partnered with Forward Together because we are committed to modeling the change we want to see. For example, by hiring trans and gender non-conforming artists and leaders, especially from communities of color, to lift up their visions for a different world.”
“A lot of people don’t have the language or capacity to understand a trans woman if they haven’t met or spoken to one,” said Wriply Bennet, an artist who created art for Black Lives Matter through this campaign. “This project provides a platform to introduce people to trans women and trans life. It’s important for trans women to be able to mediate that conversation, mediation through art is a beautiful way to transmit our lives.”
This year’s “Trans Day of Resilience” project is an expansion of the collaboration between Micah Bazant and the Audre Lorde Project in 2014. They received overwhelming feedback about last year’s collaborative Trans Day of Remembrance artwork that lifted up trans women of color so Micah wanted to build the project to include more organizations and artists. There was also a conscious shift toward “resilience” as opposed to only “remembrance” to also highlight the important trans justice organizing work that is happening in communities of color around the country.
Elle Hearns from Black Lives Matter and GetEQUAL notes, “It’s not enough to just commemorate folks on Trans Day of Remembrance. It’s important to uplift all of the trans folks who are determining the ways that they want to be seen in the world as their true selves. The call to action is to affirm us every day by creating opportunities for trans people to have resources, especially in a world that has denied us opportunities at every corner.”
Trans Day of Resilience also encourages people to not only share this powerful art, but to take action and support with local and national trans justice groups. Visit the “Get Involved” page to learn more about Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience actions and how to participate online and offline.
Forward Together builds relationships across lines of race, gender, and sexuality to connect marginalized people and catalyze social change. Our work influences culture and policy to ensure that every person, family and community has the power and resources they need to reach their full potential. For more info visit: www.ForwardTogether.org and www.StrongFamiliesMovement.org.