(Most of QT SaS Brigade in a group photo in front of a mural in Ponce.)
Let us start by saying a giant: THANK YOU!!!
The Queer Trans Solidarity and Service Brigade was a success thanks to the existing leadership in the Puerto Rican archipelago, thanks to the leadership of brigade participants and thanks to the networks of comrades and supporters who really made the work possible. Financial generosity and donor politics, which centered accountability to on-the-ground leadership instead of attaching strings to funding, really enabled powerful T4T connections and contributions towards movement building. Thank you!!!!
In January 2019, the QT SaS Brigade succeeded in bringing more than 23 queer and trans anti-imperialists together. We brought 8 trans anti-imperialists based across the continental u.s. together for 3 weeks in Borikén. 7 of the 8 leaders are trans people of color; 4 among the Trans Solidarity Delegation are Boricua; 2 of whom had lived in the archipelago for more than 10 years of their life. For one week of that 3 week period, we brought 15 additional trans, gender non-conforming and queer community leaders together to learn and build relationship, to be directly useful and to continue to grow the solidarity movement.
(Most of QT SaS Brigade in a group photo in front of a mural in Ponce.)
We did a lot of things during our time in the archipelago: attending protests, co-hosting and attending workshops, going to political movie showings, attending art exhibits, working the land, pursuing language justice, breaking bread, cooking, cleaning, singing, dancing, having meetings, attending meetings, building skills (both our own and communities’ on the ground), witnessing some of the truths of colonialism and resistance, always resistance. In addition to bringing additional people power, we brought material resources both to project sites and afterwards through a resource redistribution process.
(Photos from QT SaS Brigade at Patio Taller. Participants collaborated to make this banner, clear area and raise a fence. Many said this was one of the more powerful days on the trip.)
The 8 leaders who went for 3 weeks helped shape the container and work of QT SaS Brigade and selected 19 organizations in the people’s movement to move small grants of $4,000 directly to. Most of these organizations are made by and for trans and queer people, and all of them exert a trans feminist politic within their work. Special thank you to the Chinook Fund for helping us have the infrastructure necessary to mobilize in January 2019 and to administer redistributing $76,000 directly to frontline formations working towards trans and queer liberation in Borikén.
Leadership In The Archipelago
We are proud to have connected with and been able to redistribute resources to: AgitArte, Bemba, Camp Albizu Campos, Casa Ruth, CC Editorial, CEPA, Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer, Espicy Nipples, Girasoles Creative Studios, Huerto Semilla, Jornada Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, Museo de la Masacre de Ponce, Patio Taller, Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition, Radio Vieques, Semillas, La Sombrilla Cuir, Taller Malaquita, and the Trans Task Force de Puerto Rico! Thank you to the leaders of these formations for your ongoing work as well as for welcoming and connecting with us!
Readers, we ask our you to please continue to support these organizations and the work that they advance with your deepest solidarity. For many of the groups, following them on instagram is a good way to stay in the loop. Specifically we wanted to amplify these asks for solidarity that we heard:
Please help promote AgitArte’s current campaign focused on public education: #DefiendeLaEducaciónPública Language and downloadable images can all be found on the campaign page of their website .
Also just released the final video ( https://vimeo.com/336674510 ) of AgitArte’s project, End the Debt! Decolonize! Liberate Puerto Rico! Scroll. Language, artist credits and more videos can be found on project page. Videography and editing by Osvaldo Budet Meléndez.
IG: @ bemba.pr
TW: @ Bemba_pr
Additional donations: https://www.patreon.com/BEMBAPR
Outside of money, the needs are diverse, particularly when we have recently found our own workspace and are trying to develop the Lumpen Workshop project, our headquarters space, right next to Taller Libertá which was the meeting space. We are working and managing to equip the workshop in the best way. This is a space for the exploration and development of public art in Puerto Rico. It is self-managed and is still in its first steps and still functioning without being connected to water or electricity services. We still lack basic equipment such as spotlights, tables, extensions and even our own work materials. Contributions, support and assistance aimed at improving construction skills, audiovisual management, legal and fiscal aspects, would be of great impetus for us.
Camp Albizu Campos
Joanna Cifredo is working to bring a group 30 Puerto Rican youth leaders from Puerto Rico and our five largest diasporas in the US (Chicago, Philly, Greater Boston, NYC, and Central Florida) for a week-long celebration of Puerto Rican heritage, culture, and organizing. Throughout 2019, Joanna aims to build a coalition of community organizers to help host the first youth cohort for Camp Albizu in summer 2020, ahead of the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria. The money collected through this initial fundraiser will cover the cost of conference fees, professional development training for emerging nonprofit leaders, and allow Joanna to travel back and forth between Puerto Rico, New York, and throughout our diaspora communities in the US in order to network with local activists. Camp Albizu – Named after one of the leading labor organizers and political activists in the Puerto Rican independence movement, Don Pedro Albizu Campos, Camp Albizu is a diaspora reintegration summer program for Puerto Rican youth. Mission: “To preserve the history, culture, and beauty of Puerto Rico through telling the story of Boriken and her people. Through education, community, and service, Camp Albizu seeks to instill a sense of pride, responsibility, and belonging in Puerto Rican youth.”
We are planning a summit event in November, to be held during Transgender Visibility Week, in order to 1) bring together artists of dissident identities and sexualities in a great event that will create visibility within the artistic panorama of Puerto Rico and 2) raise funds for Noa’s top surgery. It would be the first time an event of this magnitude is organized in collaboration with queer artists and the largest event of our publishing house since its foundation.
Girasoles Creative Studios
IG & FB: @Girasoles.CreativeStudio
Donations can be done through @paypal.me/maxitovega
Actively seeking to raise nearly $10k : paypal.me/huertasemilla
IG: @HuertoSemilla FB: https://www.facebook.com/huertosemillauprrp
Also actively pursuing donation of frequent flyer miles/ticket donations on: Copa, Avianca, United, American Airlines, Azul Airlines
Jornada Filiberto Ojeda Ríos
Museo de la Masacre de Ponce
Obra Lolita en Ponce, 2 de Noviembre 2019!!!! Celebrando Centenario Lolita Lebron!!!
Patio Taller es la antigua parcela de Don Nonó (agricultor) y Doña Manuela (curandera) ubicada en el barrio San Antón de Carolina. En continuación con las prácticas que han cobrado vida en la parcela desde finales de los años 40: el intercambio de cosechas frutales, la curación por medio de plantas medicinales y la crianza de animales de granja, se ha gestionado también un espacio de taller de arte e intercambio de conocimiento como propuesta espiritual y estética por parte de Las Nietas de Nonó.
[Translated: Patio Taller is the old plot of Don Nonó (farmer) and Doña Manuela (curandera) located in the San Antón neighborhood of Carolina. In continuation with the practices that have come to life on the plot since the late 40’s: the exchange of fruit crops, healing through medicinal plants and the raising of farm animals, a workshop space for art and knowledge exchange as a spiritual and aesthetic proposal by the granddaughters of Nonó.]
In addition to upcoming summer events for neighbors, Patio Taller is still working with the small fruit forest (honoring the fruit forest that existed when our Abuelitxs lived here) so for this they are welcoming brigades (5 to 7 persons that would like to put their hands and spirit on it).
Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition
We would love to have content on who we are and the work we’ve done since 2015 shared on other networks to facilitate the accessibility of information and the services that are currently available. As of now we only have our Facebook page Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition and our email: email@example.com
Our support group focuses on issues of social and economic justice with the funds we’ve received thus far to facilitate access to legal services, health care, crisis intervention, groceries or essentials, transportation, referrals, and connecting youth with local communities and organizations that tend to our needs.
Radio Vieques is open to future collaborations. Potentical examples include in person or long distance Bori Trans/ Bori Cuir radio content, particularly for cuir youth and/or cis adults.
La Sombrilla Cuir
Paypal firstname.lastname@example.org with “La Sombrilla Cuir” in message
IG and FB: @Tallermalaquita
(QT SaS Brigade meeting w Espicy Nipples!)
(Girasoles Creative Studio set up to table an event. Reach out for graphic design project estimates! For copies of the powerful prints seen here and more, check out girasolescreativestudio.com )
Continuing the Work After Returning from the Brigade
The solidarity work and the relationships formed during the QT SaS Brigade continue to grow in emergent and powerful ways. Brigade participant Jack Aponte recently released a piece in TruthOut (“Corporations Are Poisoning People in Puerto Rico with Ash”) helping spread the word about conditions they learned about while on this trip.
Other brigade participants have continued to escalate their leadership through building organization and mobilizations through diaspora based, Boricua Resistance. With about 2/3rds of Puerto Ricans living in the diaspora, Boricua Resistance builds people power through organizing in chapters.
Currently there are three chapters: NY Boricua Resistance (cash app: $NYBoricuaResistance), Chicago Boricua Resistance (Venmo @BoricuaResistance) and NW Boricua Resistance (gofund me: https://bit.ly/2KdRcVN). The chapters of Boricua Resistance are pipelines of support for the resistance and uprising on the ground both in the diaspora and in the archipelago.
Please follow them on instagram: @NYBoricuaResistance @Boricua_Resistance @NWBoricuaResistance because supporting the trans feminist leadership of these diaspora formations is a necessary strategic move towards #BorikénLibre. Please consider supporting (and/or attending) the Boricua Resistance National Launch on Aug 31, 2019 in Chicago, IL.
(3 compas from the Trans Solidarity Delegation (on right) with a banner at recent #RickyRenuncia action in NYC. Banner features words of archipelago based leader @sintomaestetico: “La Furia BoriTrans, multiplicándose por el amor que nos tenemos”.)
The Trans Solidarity Delegation is working towards finishing a second disbursement of the remaining funds raised and will report out once all of the resources we were able to collect pledges for have been redistributed.
We know this has been a long email, so please remember to circle back to the direct asks from formations continuing the work in the archipelago!
Thank you deeply! Through our unity there is strength, and in our collective strength there is the will and capacity to win.
In solidarity, pa’lante,
Cris, danni, Pao, Rapha, and Woods
from the Trans Solidarity Delegation of QT SaS Brigade
(Members of the Trans Solidarity Delegation on an adventure with Paseadora Rio Espiritu Santo ig: @la_paseadora_riospiritusanto.)