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Saturday, September 8th, 2018 • 9 am to 6 pm
Wayne State University Student Center • Detroit, MI [MAP]

Please join us for a day that centers the voices of queer and trans* people of color!

The Queering Racial Justice program is for people of all gender identities, sexual orientations and racial identities to join together and:

  • Learn more about how race and racism have shaped mobilizing and advocacy efforts in Detroit, MI;
  • Celebrate how Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) movement building has endured through time and flourishes today;
  • Provide healing and reflection spaces for leaders and organizers; and
  • Deepen our leadership skills as community workers to center racial justice in our work.

Art by Wriply M. Bennet for Queering Racial Justice Institute

Morning Plenary • 9:30 – 10:45 am


  • National LGBTQ Task Force Staff
  • Creating Change Conference Co-Chairs
  • M. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University

Plenary — Sacred Activism: Preparing the Mind, Body and Spirit for the Work of Racial Justice

The City of Detroit has a long rich history of the people responding to the challenges surrounding race, class and social inequities. During this opening session, participants will be invited to share their current realities as we learn from the past of resistance and activism that leads to a future grounded in life energy.

  • Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Senior Pastor and Teacher, Metropolitan Community Church Detroit
  • Emani Love, Artist, Street Outreach Worker, Spiritual Justice Activist, founder of Wage Love Apothecary

Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow

Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow

Emani Love

Emani Love

Breakout Sessions I • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Not My President: Organizing for Change

In this moment in history, with “45” doing everything he can to destroy the progress social justice activists and advocates have fought for, getting involved and taking action is urgent and necessary. Sometimes we struggle with how and what we can do to make a difference. In this workshop you will learn how to engage legislators in the important conversations that must be had to protect our progress and advance rights and protections. You will learn talk to them about issues important to you, how to tell your story, and work within your community to make change.

  • Camden Hargrove, Victoria Kirby York, National LGBTQ Task Force

We Are Here, We Are Queer, We Are of Color and We Want a Seat at the Racial Justice Table!

During our gathering, we will have a conversation on concrete actions we can consistently take to make racial justice spaces safe and brave spaces for LGBTQIA+ People of Color.  Following our discussion, folks will be able to recognize the ways their racial justice space is harming LGBTQIA+ Black and Brown people, and folks will commit to tangible next steps to create or sustain safe and brave spaces for QTPOC.

  • Didi Adi, Co-coordinator, Detroit REPRESENT! Media Collective

Ace + Race: Understanding Asexuality and Unique Challenges in the Black Asexual Community

This session will explore the over-sexualization of Black folks through American history and how this differs across genders, as well as share definitions of “asexual” & “asexuality.

  • Cara Mitrano, Founder & President of the LGBT Student Advisory Board (LGBT SAB), Wayne State University
  • Delma Jackson III, Patient Navigator at Wellness Services and faculty member, Center for Whole Communities.

Restoring our Humanity: Tools for Navigating Emotional and Body Politics

This workshop will be an interactive space for participants to explore their dignity and resilience in the face of colorism, homophobia, transphobia, and body politics. We will collectively attempt to identify the tools that help us restore our humanity as we navigate daily pain points. A generative somatic grounding will be used to support our hearts, minds, and bodies in this work. This session is open to people who identify as queer, trans, and Black/indigenous/POC

  • Violeta Donawa and Rhiannon Chester, HealingbyChoice!

LBGTQ Homeless Indigenous Youth at Risk of Trafficking

This session introduces human trafficking and sex trading of indigenous youth of color and explores how LBGT youth experience higher risk factors for being trafficked.

  • Bridie Johnson is a Michigan State Licensed Mastered Social Worker and is currently employed at American Indian Health and Family services as the Clinical Supervisor of the Behavioral Health Department.

Dress to Impress (Yourself): Unpacking the Intersections of LGBTQ Identity and Respectability in the Workplace

Understand generational racism, homophobia, and transphobia in today’s workforce, as well as how people of color can navigate to support systems change.

  • Lilianna Angel Reyes, Affirmations and Trans Women of Color Collective.

What’s Going On Detroit? Leadership & Capacity Building for Racial Justice on a Grassroots Level

Let’s strategize on how to educate mobilize, and empower black leaders and all people of color to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities. This workshop will provide basic leadership tools for engaging with a broad spectrum of community leaders, including clergy, public officials, medical practitioners, and those in business and the media.

  • Chunnika L. Hodges, Positive Women’s Network-USA Michigan State Lead.

Lunch is served in the Ballroom • 12:30 – 1:45 pm

Breakout Sessions II • 2:00 – 3:30 pm

QTPOC Yoga for All Levels

Participants will learn and practice 2 meditative breathing techniques and the foundations of yoga – join us for healing by non-violent self-study, breath, and movement.

  • Amanda Niven, Independent bad ass human and Yoga instructor.

The Truths & Lies They Tell, The Secrets We Keep

How do the stereotypes and stigma that Black gay men endure impact our health and wellbeing? This workshop will be about HIV transmission rates in Black gay spaces and the strategies we can apply to create better outcomes for ourselves and our loved ones. What can we advocate for in community to be better supported and how can our allies demonstrate their support in meaningful ways?

  • Alia Onawola and Ka’Juan Hill, UNIFIED- HIV Health and Beyond, Michigan HIV/STD Hotline

Is Your God a White Racist? Detaching LGBTQ Faith From White Supremacy

We will explore a question the LGBTQ faith movement must answer – how are religious beliefs and practices tethered to the ideals of white supremacy? Even if “God loves gays!” God can still be anti-Black, anti-Brown, anti-poor, and anti-immigrant unless we decolonize God in deeper ways. We will use a womanist, queer lens to wrestle with this task in this session.

  • Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

Heaven on Earth: Holistic Healing for Hoes

This session aims to reinforce the belief that sex workers are sacred and that the work we do to heal others benefits everyone. Participants will walk away with a greater understanding of their own innate healing abilities as well as an arsenal of self-healing techniques that can be practiced at any time to invoke relaxation, balanced emotions, a clear mind and steady actions. This healing space will center the needs of sex working LGBTQ people of color and is open to all.

  • Amira Barakat al-Baladi, Founder, Sacred Stripper. 

Strategies and Practice for Anti-Oppressive Facilitation

This session talks about efficient and effective strategies for how to facilitate meetings/gatherings through a lens of anti-oppression. Anti-oppression centers marginalized people within a space, to lead. Sometimes it’s hard to get things done and address every issue in a meeting when multiple people have different viewpoints and needs- especially when there are deadlines! Often, marginalized people with intersecting identities like queer, trans, gender nonconforming, young, of color, with disabilities, neuro-divergent and low-income find themselves unable to be fully present in meetings because they are silenced by traumas, racism, anti-blackness and other oppressions. In this workshop you will be learning how to prioritize the needs of said meeting participants, while bending barriers to participation. There will be a dialogue about good strategies to break barriers and then there will be a group practice session. If you’re new to anti-oppressive facilitation, come learn with us, if you’re familiar, come share some skills with us!

  • Marky Carrillo, Co-Coordinator, Detroit REPRESENT!

Healing Justice Practice Space is Open!

Our Healing Justice Practice Space (HJPS) is an all-gender, all-bodied, inclusive, and accessible space for practicing and receiving healing that is built in partnership with social justice movement work and sites of political action. Healing by Choice! Is offering a small group Reiki and Ear Acupuncture Circle. Participants can choose to receive one or both services. And, 10-minute timeslots for chair massage. There will also be an emotional support person available. This space is welcome to all.

  • Adela Nieves Martinez, Liliana Garcia, Violeta Donawa and Rhiannon Chester, HealingbyChoice!

Breakout Sessions III • 3:45 – 5:15 pm

Women as Water: Hood Feminism

Apply a deeply intersectional lens to feminism and you will find hood/ratchet feminism. This is a branch of feminism that centers the marginalized of the marginalized. Hood Feminism influences fashion, language trends, music and more! Join us to take a look into the theory and perspective of feminism from the most influential and overlooked groups of people.

  • Dree Cooper, Hood Feminism.

Crafting QTBIPOC Power Fantasies for Healing the Trauma of Oppression

This workshop will provide QTBIPOC participants with an opportunity to use creative writing as a tool for empowerment and healing from racialized, gendered, and sexualized trauma. At the end of the session, participants will have produced one written piece to re-author narratives of their people, community, or experience, in order to begin healing structural trauma. This session is open to people who identify as queer, trans, and Black/indigenous/POC

  • Lance Hicks, Founder, Detroit REPRESENT!

Queering Reproductive Justice 101

This workshop will provide insight on why it is so important for the larger reproductive justice movement to include the LGBTQ community in their advocacy.  It will also encourage LGBTQ activists that they have an important role to play in reproductive justice advocacy. Using the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Queering Reproductive Justice Toolkit, we will emphasizes that we will only win battles for both LGBTQ liberation and reproductive justice when we work together and learn from each other. This workshop will connect the history of both movements from a social justice, legal and legislative perspective, while also learning about the overarching challenges to equality and bodily autonomy that LGBTQ folks have faced within a number of the following realms: abortion access, contraceptive equity, comprehensive sex education, economic justice, disability justice, and the fight against discriminatory religious exemptions.

  • Candace Bond-Theriault, Esq., LL.M. Senior Policy Counsel, Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice Democracy Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

WoMan: Gender Expression and Race

Join us for an open dialogue about Masculine of Center (MoC) lesbians and how gender impacts our experience, wellbeing, and relationships. We will have a panel of MoC lesbians who participated in the documentary WoMan to discuss the documentary and engage the audience in a dialogue about the gender binary and the challenges it creates.

  • Sharron Fincher and Kate Opalewski, Eve Kucharski, and Jennifer Long

White People Unmasking Collusion

Join us and learn to identify dominant cultural (whiteness) “norms.” We will create a space for self-reflection about how other identities (gender, sexuality, class, etc.) collude with upholding white supremacy. Whether this is your first white caucus or your 50th, we will welcome people who identify as white to think deeply with us about how to stop colluding with white supremacy.

  • Lois McCullen Parr, Consultant
  • Mel Braman and Evangeline Weiss, Creating Change Conference Team, National LGBTQ Task Force

Healing Justice Practice Space is Open

Our Healing Justice Practice Space (HJPS) is an all-gender, all-bodied, inclusive, and accessible space for practicing and receiving healing that is built in partnership with social justice movement work and sites of political action. Healing by Choice! Is offering a small group Reiki and Ear Acupuncture Circle. Participants can choose to receive one or both services. And, 10-minute timeslots for chair massage. There will also be an emotional support person available. This space is welcome to all.

  • Adela Nieves Martinez, Liliana Garcia, Violeta Donawa and Rhiannon Chester, HealingbyChoice!

Closing Ceremony • 5:15 – 5:45 pm

Appreciations and Interactive Evaluation – National LGBTQ Task Force Staff and Dr. Marquita T. Chamblee, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer, Wayne State University

Stay tuned for more updates!

Detroit REPRESENT! is a collective of queer and trans young people of color from Detroit, Michigan. We use DIY media creation to organize for racial justice and queer liberation. QTPOC-centered and -led spaces, especially in media, are vital because of the widespread misrepresentation and under-representation of our communities. All too often, we are either made invisible within mainstream media, or spoken for by well-meaning white and cishet media makers who can never tell our stories as authentically as we do. 

White queers should know that their presence as accomplices in QTPOC spaces is absolutely necessary, and that applies to Queering Racial Justice. Know that you are welcome in this space. Although there will be closed workshops that you are asked to respect, we value your presence and need you in our movement spaces! 

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