Trans Women
of Color Collective

TWOCC Leadership


Healer, orator and academic, Lourdes Ashley Hunter has served as a transformative thought leader and change agent for grass-roots initiatives that impact the economic growth and leadership development of communities disproportionately impacted by state sanctioned violence for over 20 years.  Lourdes’ research, curriculum development, global organizing and activism centers healing restoration in social justice change.  Lourdes earned a Bachelor degree in Social Theory, Structure and Change with concentrations in Race, Class and Gender Studies from SUNY: Empire State College and an Executive Master of Public Administration from Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration. Lourdes has traveled the country and globe leading transformative conversations that expand the narrative of state sanctioned violence to one that is nuance and intersectional.  Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Lourdes is currently based in Washington D.C., is the co-founder and National Director of Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).

Lala Zannell



As the Lead Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence project (AVP), LaLa is the face and leads AVP’s public community organizing work, doing advocacy, outreach and networking on behalf of LGBTQ New Yorkers who have experienced violence. LaLa also plays a key role in AVP’s Rapid Incident Response team, which responds whenever incidents of hate violence, sexual violence or intimate partner violence impacting LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers become public.  LaLa is a gifted public speaker and speechwriter who speaks out on issues related to anti-LGBTQ violence, and especially the disproportionate violence that trans and gender non- conforming people of color face.  LaLa is a member of the National Coalition of Anti violence Program (NCAVP) Movement Building Committee. In additional LaLa spoke at the White House for the first and last trans women of color briefing under the Obama administration , testified at the historic Congressional Forum on violence against transgender people, and made last year’s 2015 Trans 100 list for LaLa’s work with making the lives of Tran Woman of Color better.

Awards and Recognitions:
Trans 100 List 2015
Community Award form Ken Thomas Brooklyn DA
Trail Blazer Award 2014 Black Trans Advocacy
Cris Award 2015 from Trans Latina Network
Free style chat for the Woman’s Freedom Conference 2015
Marsha P. Johnson Award NYC Black Pride 2016

Boards and Committees:
NOVO Women’s Advisory Board
Communities United For Police Reform
NYC City With Trans Forum with City Council and LGBT Caucus- Host committee Chair and Programs Committee Co-Chair

Jim Collins Selection Committee

Community Advisory Board for the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery (CTMS) at Mount Sinai 

Ubikwist Magazine
Out Magazine- http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2016/6/24/op-ed-trans-community-we-need-more-gun-control

Landmark Congressional Forum On Violence Against the Transgender Community
Empire State Pride Agenda
Trans In The Media

***Booking Information**

Management: 347.696.0494
Instagram: LaLa_4_President Link: https://www.instagram.com/lala_4_president/
Twitter: @LaLaZannell Link: https://twitter.com/LaLaZannell?lang=en


sammi jo

What do you get when you mix fierce make-up, stunning style, and a passion for social justice? You get Ms. Samantha Jo! After relocating from Atlantic City, NJ to Philadelphia, PA in 2011, Samantha Jo-Dato has quickly become a force to be reckoned with as a dedicated and passionate advocate and activist for trans* issues. A self-determined, affectionate, and loving person with a sassy, fireball personality, Samantha has worked tirelessly in a number of efforts forwarding the Trans* Movement. In 2012 she served as a committee member for the Philadelphia Trans* March, played an integral role in the launch of Mazzoni Center’s Trans Wellness Project, and developed and presented workshops at conferences such as The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and The Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. While living a transparent life as a transwoman, she has become a role model, leader, big sister, and support system to many people who struggle with intersecting life issues. Samantha has sat on numerous community boards and many national studies such as: Resources for Human Development (RHD), American Medical Student Association (AMSA) to educate and raise awareness of trans* communities and their place in the world. “Sami Jo” as she is so affectionately called by many friends and family members, continues to tackle issues of self-esteem, self-worth, healthy living, positive imaging, and the genuine belief that “there is a better me within me”. Striving to be an even more phenomenal woman and reaching the pinnacle of her career, Samantha has never left her first love of beautification through make-up art. As a make-up artist, she was able to deliver enlightening moments of self-worth and empowerment for almost every face she enhanced, and she never stops helping people reveal their true beauty inside. Samantha continues to live an authentic life with her core belief that “my story can change someone’s life”. In 2014, she became the Logistical Coordinator for The Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference and fearlessly lead the three day event into its 13th and 14th successful years. Samantha plans to continue revitalizing the conference to reflect the current needs of trans* communities worldwide as well as adding to her list of accomplishments becoming an author. She will soon publish a testimonial journal called “Sami Jo Shattered Perfect” which she hopes will reach trans* people near and far and inspire them to transform their narratives of struggle into stories of major success. Joining the leadership team of TWOCC (Trans Women of Color Collective) in 2015 Samantha is nationally working to strengthen the bridge of sisterhood in her community. Sami also was recognized on the Trans100 in 2015, along with LGBT Community Leaders Award, and many other recognitions for the unapologetic work she see to for the trans* kin folks she shares space and love with.


In March 2006 moved to New York & In July of that year started her transition. In 2007, she began her career as a model & entertainer. Did her first runway, for Banana Republic’s Fall line, in late Summer 2007.

She is an Ambassador & founding member of The Transgender Women of Color Collective & a member of the Human Rights Campaign-Diversity Committee & Transgender Engagement Team.

Was cast in The Trans Women Theater Troupe, Play: In My Skin, that debuted in November 2013 in Joe’s Pub in New York City. The Play was a complete success & was later made into a documentary& did have its official premier in New York, Philadelphia & Boston.

Vanessa was chosen as, one of the 2014 Trans 100. The Trans 100 is an annual listing of 100 Trans individuals from all over the country who are active in the work of making the lives of Trans people better.

Vanessa Currently works for The New York City’s Anti-Violence Project, as a Community Based Counselor. Helping mainly victims of violence, who identify as LGBTQ & who are HIV positive. Works very closely with clients who are of Transgender experience.

She is currently the Face of BXSmash, a comprehensive social media Campaign, that deals with intersections between Cis-gender & Transgender women & She is also one of the faces of an Anti-Violence Campaign By The New York City Anti-Violence Project “Born to Be”. That was released & was seen in bus shelters & phone booths throughout the 5 boroughs in New York City, late Fall 2014/early Winter 2015 & now available in outreach material.

On October 24, 2014 Was honored by The Ali Forney Center, for all the work she has done & for being a great possibility model in the Trans Community.

Vanessa Victoria took the stage again, on November 2014, for 2 nights only on a Play entitled: Cold November Rain in New York City. Where she played a 17 year old Transgender lesbian, the Play received positive reviews.

In December 2014 was named among The 10 Transgender Trailblazers, for the work that she does for the Trans Community.

n March 2015, Vanessa Victoria, went on a 2 City tour. First to Chicago, for the first National Trans Anti-Violence Convening & to the fourth annual, Color of Violence Conference. Then went to Washington D.C, for the grand opening, of the Trans Women of Color Collective’s National Headquarter offices & the White House, for Trans Women of color-Women’s History month briefing, speaking on issues that Trans Women are facing in the United States.

In June 2015 was given a citation of Merit by the Bronx Borough President, At the Fifth Annual Bronx Borough President & Allies LGBTQ Pride Awards.

In July she joined, the Ali Forney Center’s Trans Advisory Board, to work closely with Transgender clients at AFC. Was recently named one of 13 Trans Latin@s, who are changing the world!

In January 2016 she went back home to Puerto Rico & was the keynote speaker, in the first Transgender Town Hall. Where she started the conversation of change & will continue working with LGBT organizations, in hope to bring to Puerto Rico better services & care for Trans folks.