Join the Revolutionary, Unprecedented Convening for Trans Women of Color

BY JASON A. MICHAEL

The Trans Sistas of Color Project is seeking sponsors for their first national convening for transgender women of color May 18-22 at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Detroit Riverfront.

"We are looking for partners, collaborators, co-creators and investors who share our vision, its intrinsic value and buy into our mission of uplifting, impacting and influencing the lives and welfare of transgender women," said Bre Campbell, TSOCP's executive director. "Your partnership and support is vital to the success of The Gathering."

There are several sponsorship opportunities and levels. Official Partner opportunities range from $500-20,000. TSOCP is also looking for event partners to help produce a total of five events over the long weekend. The events include the #SAYHERNAME #BLACKTRANSLIVESMATTER Welcoming Reception; the Opening Plenary Breakfast; a Health, Safety & Wellness Fair; a Trans Night @ the Movies; the Partners Gathering; Cocktails with Black Women's Blueprint; the I AM MY SISTA Community Brunch & Closing Plenary; and the DOLLHOUSE annual fundraising benefit showcase featuring some of Detroit's most fabulous and amazing female illusionist talent.

TSOCP is also looking for event table sponsorships, souvenir booklet ads and donations for a silent auction during the I AM MY SISTA Community Brunch & Closing Plenary.

"I really want to remind people about just being thoughtful in their giving," said Campbell. "As an organization yes, we need money. But I would be really interested to see people leverage access to their resources to make sure that trans people have all of the things that they need."

These resources include a variety of things like housing and employment opportunities, hormones, medical and dental care from inclusive providers, clothing vouchers, Bridge cards, bus passes, name changes, gender marker and ID changes, food, access to education, mental health services, HIV prevention and treatment, to name a few.

"The Gathering is organized as a rapid response convening to combat the growing levels of transphobia, transmisogny and discrimination embedded in the current administration's anti-trans, anti-woman, anti-other rhetoric, legislation and policies," said Campbell, adding that this work began during the 2016 Detroit Trans Community Gathering, which was created as a grassroots organizing, community building and engagement event for, by and around the lived experiences of trans women of color.

"It was designed with the intent to deepen the relationships, connections and sisterhood of trans women of color and, at the same time, develop a pipeline to shared resources, skills and opportunities for our collective and individual liberation and advancement," Campbell continued. "We aim to gather and bring some of Detroit's and the nation's fiercest trans advocates, activists and change makers to Detroit to work toward building a better, safer world for our sisters."

The theme of The Gathering this year is "Resistance as an Act of Resilience."

"When I think about trans communities we've always been resisting," Campbell explained. "We've been resisting since before Trump and we're going to continue to resist. I think the idea really came from like honoring the people who have been resisting and making sure that they have access to spaces that can help them further resist."

President Donald Trump is, in fact, part of the reason that TSOCP expanded The Gathering to make it a national event.

"We weren't expecting to have the current president that we have," said Campbell. "So I think for us it was a real priority shift. I don't know if there's ever really been a space that was dedicated to black trans women in terms of resisting. That looks different to different people in different spaces. So we wanted to bring trans women from around the country to see how they're resisting and make sure they have the resources to continue the work that's important in their communities."

While some events will be exclusive to trans women of color, others will be open to all.

"During the conference we're going to split off into two groups, one specifically for trans people who are doing the work and one for allies," she said, noting that most of the events are open to the public, like the DOLLHOUSE event and the Health, Safety & Wellness Fair.

As the TSOCP continues to pick up steam since forming less than two years ago, Campbell said she hopes The Gathering will put the agency on the national map.

"I'm really excited to invite some of my well respected advocacy friends from across the country to Detroit," she said. "I think it will create an opportunity for community members from Detroit to meet some well-seasoned activists and build comraderies and exchange some ideas. To be able to hold space with and for trans people, to share resources, ideas, stories - I'm excited about that."

For more information, to inquire about partnership or submit your partnership information, call 313-537-7000 Ext 107 or email tsocproject@gmail.com.
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