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Janna Zinzi, Forward Together
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TRANS DAY OF RESILIENCE USES ORIGINAL ART TO SHIFT THE CONVERSATION FROM VIOLENCE AND VICTIMIZATION TO TRANS POWER AND LIBERATION

November 20, 2017: Transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary visual artists and poets of color from across the country collaborated to honor Trans Day of Resilience (TDoR) by creating original art pieces celebrating their magic and power. This TDoR art project is an extension and re-imagining of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the annual event memorializing people, primarily Black trans women and femmes killed by anti-trans violence. The project’s goal is to expand the conversation towards honoring and supporting trans people while they are alive, and not just in memoriam.

This year five pairs of trans and gender nonconforming creative writers and visual artists of color from across the United States joined forces to create original collaborative pieces of art amplifying stories of trans liberation. Trans Day of Resilience acknowledges how violence disproportionately impacts trans and gender nonconforming people of color while simultaneously using art to lift up how resilient and beautiful trans people are. Through this project, trans artists are telling their own stories of resistance, hope and liberation.

“Being a part of this project has been an affirmation to my identities as a non-binary Black artist. As TGNC people of color, we have always had to be resilient, so our art has become a place of healing,” shared Amir Khadar, one of this year’s artists. “To gather with others who share my identities, and find sanctuary in art, while creating for our community has been an extremely powerful and impactful experience.”

“We see a clear connection between the power of art to change hearts and minds and the visionary organizing happening right now all over led by trans folks,” said Micah Bazant, Forward Together Artist-in-Residence. This is the fourth year that Forward Together, TDoR’s sponsoring organization, has been involved in this TDoR culture shift work. Since 2014 Forward Together has worked with trans-led partner organizations who called for a resilience framework to create art for online and offline actions. On our TDoR website (http://tdor.co.) we’ve included our learnings on how to best integrate art into social movement work, and will be offering art kits to local organizers or organizations to use for their campaigns and events.

The artists and writers in this year’s project are:

jayy dodd (CA) and Sophia Zarders (Long Beach, CA)
Amir Khadar (MN) and kiki nicole (Portland, OR)
EDXIE BETTS (Los Angeles, CA) and Benji Hart (Chicago, IL)
Colin Laurel (Portland OR) and Nikole (Niko) Shahbazian (WA)
xoài phạm (Brooklyn, NY) and Art Twink (Long Beach, CA)

“This opportunity to collaboratively build the archive of trans/gnc narratives both as a celebration & defiance is unspeakably meaningful,” said jay dodd, writer for this year’s TDoR project. As advocates and artists, we believe in the power of art to help others imagine a world everyone can live freely.

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Forward Together works nationally with grassroots leaders to build relationships across lines of race, gender, and sexuality to transform culture and policy and catalyze social change. Our mission is to unite communities to win rights, recognition and resources for all families.

Select past coverage:

Trans Day of Resilience Shifts the Narrative of Trans LivesRewire

Trans Artists, Activists Visualize Liberation for Transgender Day of RemembranceColorlines

Trans Artists Made These Stunning Posters For Trans Day Of RemembranceBuzzfeed

8 Illustrations Show the Resilience of Trans Women of Color, Latina.com

8 Beautiful Posters to Mark Trans Day of ResilienceMashable

This Powerful Artwork Will Show You What It Means to Be Transgender and Resilient, Mic.com

Trans Day of Remembrance is Resilience Above AllThe Establishment