Written by Anna Castro (Manager, SolidarityIs)
This week, I joined BMP as the Manager of SolidarityIs, a project that develops tools, trainings, and narratives for organizations and individuals. I’ve worked with Deepa Iyer, BMP’s Director of Movement Building, for a few years now and I’m excited about leaning into my social change ecosystem role as a weaver and guide to build out programming that gives nonprofit and movement leaders tools, tips, and examples on how to deepen their solidarity practice.
In trainings, I usually make it a point to tell people that solidarity is a daily practice. As this week is Transgender Awareness Week, I invite you to join me in re-energizing our commitment to centering trans and gender nonconforming people in our social change work.
Before joining BMP, I was the Senior Communications Manager at Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures. Under extraordinarily challenging circumstances including cruel policies at the federal level, trans and gender nonconforming people have exemplified resilience and built power by using solidarity as a strategy. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis this summer, senior national organizer with Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project and Minnesotan-born Igbo Queer Trans person, Oluchi Omeoga said, “The same system that kills [Black people] in detention centers and in prisons is the same system that kills us in the street with police officers and with ICE.” Trans and gender nonconforming migrants, particularly Black trans and gender nonconforming migrants, have experienced the effects of and built successful strategies to counter multiple systems of oppression.
How can we center the vital expertise of trans communities this week and beyond? First, we must learn about the history, vision, and demands of the trans liberation movement. One key resource is the Trans Agenda for Liberation, a blueprint for liberation for all, which is a foundational text developed by a coalition of Black, Indigenous, trans and gender nonconforming people of color with transformational solidarity as its core principle. In addition, we must make it a goal to build authentic connections with organizations led by trans people in service of trans communities including Transgender Law Center, Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Intransitive, House of GG, and many others. Lastly, our strategy conversations should include trans and gender nonconforming people and their expertise and wisdom should shape our conferences, webinars, and public education and outreach.
On Friday, November 20th, many will be commemorating Trans Day of Remembrance and inviting reflection by honoring Trans Day of Resilience. On that day and every day, I will remember and honor Lorena Borjas, Monica Roberts, Roxsana Hernandez, Dominique “Remmie” Fells, Layleen Polanco, Tony McDade, and far too many others whose lives have been lost. Their legacies remind us that the world we dream of and deserve to live in is within our grasp, when we commit to building it together.