Trans Women of Color Collective’s Black Trans Health Initiative
State sanctioned violence has utilized science, religion, academia, gender binary, amongst other systems of oppression to justify its acts of oppression, genocide, rape, slavery, subjugation and conversion . It has demanded that we assimilate, erase ourselves our heritage, to show obedience to these destructive ideologies. Feigning safety, equality and freedom while killing us at every turn.
We have seen these same conditions replicated in social justice spaces where we have yet to experience a demonstrated intentional sustainable investment in the socio- economic growth, cultivation of political and earning power of Black trans leadership. In partnership with Gilead Sciences, Black Women’s Health Imperative, ISA Associates, HBO and National Geographic and led by our Chief Operating Officer and West Coast Leadership Samantha Jo Dato, our Black Trans Health Initiative seeks to create spaces for our communities to engage in healing strategies, curate spaces of safety, awareness and empowerment while providing sustainable economic opportunities for our members to thrive.
Our efforts center those in our community who have not had access to resources, opportunities and sustainable systems of support to live unapologetically in their truths; Trans and gender non-conforming people of color, in particularly Black trans women and femmes, poor, indigenous, disabled, our seniors and youth who are disproportionately impacted by structural and state sanctioned violence that impacts our socio-economic growth and development and is inextricably linked to physical violence and discrimination we face daily.
There is a critical need for trans youth of color led initiatives that cultivate affirming spaces for our communities to engage in healing and restorative justice. We lean in with an intentional response to the trauma our community has endured by leading with the voices and leadership of our youth and young people.
TWOCC seeks to shift the narrative of surviving to thriving in our communities. We strive to build economic empowerment and global networks that connect rural communities with suburban enclaves, inner city youth with elders, donors with Black trans entrepreneurs, healers with those seeking to be whole and collaborators with agitators.
Our work elevates those in our community who have had their voices stolen, usurped, commodified, silenced and exploited by cis gaze, colonization, anti-Blackness, imperialism and transphobia.
Our mission is to uplift the narratives, leadership and lived experiences of trans and gender non-conforming people of color while building toward the collective liberation of all oppressed people.
Our Community Teach Ins, advocacy workshops and direct actions serve as an avenue for our community members to enhance their skills as community organizers, become policy proficient and expand social justice efforts.
Our Visibility Campaigns serves as a vehicle to raise awareness of our lived experiences. It is an opportunity for our community members to share their stories and tell their own truths in an effort to be affirmed and see themselves reflected in the social justice landscape.
As we build economic growth and development for our community, we are enhancing the capacity of future leaders by equipping them with the tools to navigate systems designed to kill them. Pouring into the lives of Black trans youth is a revolutionary act. We are showing the world that there is a place where we belong, that our community members have a home, that we are loved by our chosen family and that our lives have tremendous purpose. We believe that everyone deserves to exist in a world where they are celebrated in their truth. Through our Community Funds, we support the everyday lives, goals and dreams of our members.
Our Survival Fund is used to assist with financial needs that can range from a meal, car fare, hygiene products, assistance with bill pay, a pair of shoes and so much more.
Our education fund is used to support the efforts of our members who engage capacity building, community education and cultural competence as participants in National Coalitions, and Conferences.
Core to our work is a deep investment in healing and collective care. It is critical for trans people of color to curate spaces that center our health and wellness as well as leadership development. Our wellness fund supports our leadership retreats, community events (which are free to trans people), dinners and gatherings.
Trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary Black and Brown people are disproportionately impacted by high rates of homelessness, trauma, criminalization, under-employment and incarceration and which is inextricably linked to state sanctioned violence.
All of our work is led by the narratives, leadership and voices of our community members who exist at the nexus of state sanctioned violence. Sex workers, poor people, homelessness and folk experiencing housing insecurity, healing from trauma while deeply entrenched in complex, seemingly inescapable traumatic environments. Through healing and restorative justice, are building a network of trans, non-binary people of color who are entrepreneurs, consultants and content creators to share and cultivate economic empowerment and sustainable projects for us and by us.
Black Trans Health Initiative
Activities and Goals:
Goal: Enhance the professional development of leadership team
Create professional development plan for leadership team team
Curate 5 professional development leadership gatherings and a Writing Clinic
Participate in the leadership and development of a Economic justice policy platform that elevate the voices and needs of those disproportionately impacted by state sanctioned violence
Goal: Cultivate new and emerging leadership through community organizing initiatives and capacity building
Develop and implement mobile health application that improves access to care, model for our current initiatives centering individual and collective healing
Curate a Creative Writing Initiative by and for Black trans folk and their parents in partnership with HBO
Design a Digital Visibility Campaign elevating the narratives of Black trans and non- binary folk through our partnership with National Geographic
Goal: Support the provision of access to housing, healthcare and educational opportunities to through advocacy initiatives
Engage 5,000 community members through global health and wellness initiatives Create 4 advocacy initiatives that enhance grassroots community organizing capacity of community participants
Create an innovative theory-based HIV behavioral intervention designed by Black trans women to overcome the unique barriers faced when accessing HIV care.