anti violence project
Louisiana transgender woman Jaquarrius Holland is the seventh reported trans killing of 2017
Jaquarrius Holland was misgendered in initial reports.
By Mic
  • Jaquarrius Holland, an 18-year-old transgender woman living in Monroe, Louisiana, was murdered on Feb. 19 and, due to initial misgendering, was not reported as transgender.
  • KARD and KTVE reported that Holland was shot during a verbal altercation on Feb. 19, but the news report continues to misgender her.
  • Friends of Holland’s have since corrected the reports on social media and identified Holland as a transgender woman.
  • Chesna Littleberry, a friend of Holland’s, set up a GoFundMe campaign to be used toward Holland’s funeral.
  •  The GoFundMe uses both male and female pronouns, as Holland’s family continued to use male pronouns to describe Holland. Littleberry has raised $355 out of a $5,000 goal. Read more (2/28/17 12:29 PM)

Cleveland trans woman Skye Mockabee was found dead in a parking lot. #SayHerName

A black transgender woman named Skye Mockabee was found dead in a parking lot in Cleveland on Saturday morning, reports. The owner of Ecclesiastic Granite Fab found Mockabee, 26, dead around 8 a.m. in his business’s parking lot. She was lying face down next to a tow truck and bleeding from the mouth, according to police report.

Mockabee was pronounced dead about a half hour later. Police and the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office misgendered Mockabee, identifying her with her gender assigned at birth.

According to a statement from the New York City Anti-Violence Project, Mockabee is the third transgender woman killed in July 2016 and the 16th transgender or gender nonconforming person to be killed so far in 2016.

 Her death shortly follows that of of Washington, D.C.’s Deeniquia Dodds and Mississippi's Dee Wingham.

ICON8 Insights (pt. 1)

I’ve been meaning to do a write up on my experiences at ICON8 (the illustration conference) that was held recently in Portland. I got sick a few days after the event wrapped up and my mind was a bit of a blur post-ICON– with hundreds of attendees to meet and dozens of inspiring talks and workshops, it was a lot to process!

1. What’s the current state of illustration? Are there any trends that are coming about?

There are a lot of illustrators out there, and the quality level coming right out the gate is really high! I had the privilege of knowing a lot of the student volunteers (a lot of them were my students!) and meeting many of them; I’m equal parts inspired and intimidated by the talent level both out there currently and coming soon. I won’t say that there are any trends I noticed that are brand new, more that they’ve been steadily developing over the past few years. I noticed a lot of animals, a lot of hand lettering, a lot of people incorporating color and pattern into their work. Lots of illustrations of forests and characters, and a steady dose of humor threaded throughout.

I think for me personally, I’ve learned an important lesson to step outside of the illustration world for inspiration; everything is so visible all the time that the visual language could get easily diluted. But the bigger thing outside of visual trends that I was encouraged by was the sheer number of illustrators (especially at the Roadshow) with a story to tell, or an entrepreneurial spirit. Their interests, loves are on full display, which leads me to #2:

2. Don’t discount your point of view– making things you are excited by is contagious and can develop an audience.

The theme of ICON8 was work and play, and through its myriad speakers, a recurring anthem of ‘do what you love’ came through. Of course, this is sometimes easier said than done– how do you do that when you’re just starting out or struggling? It takes a lot of grit and a near-quixotic determination to bust down those windmills of self-doubt, that’s for sure.

The talks that stuck with me most were:

  • Spotlight Stories, where Jan Pinkava talked about Google’s new storytelling form focusing on smartphones.
  • Nelson Lowry’s talk about his work both for Laika and in his spare time, and how the personal work (robots! paintings!) feeds both exploits.
  • Uncool: The Anti-Gun Violence project at Art Center was something I’d never heard of and probably would’ve glossed over but was one of the most emotionally impactful projects. Geared to children through books, trying to solve the problem of gun violence being so invasive in culture without being preachy or condescending to its audience.
  • Carson Ellis, because she’s a delight– but also because you can see her life is creative, both in the work and in the way she spends her time. Seeing her pull lessons from gardening or quilting and applying it to her work, finding no distinction between her creative practice and her life really engaged me.
  • Calef Brown’s talk about his work because his work is so playful, is thoughtful but doesn’t take himself seriously, and wouldn’t let up with the humor. The strength of his personality and spirit shone through the work.
  • Souther Salazar’s talk about how play informs his work, and how little things can inspire big projects.
  • Robynne Raye (of Modern Dog) talking about the struggles and victories of fighting for your work, even against a giant like Disney.
  • Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen about their exploits collaborating on two books together. Really taught me a lot about the power of the page turn and where you can surprise and delight your audience.
There were takeaways from each talk of course, but these ones stuck out the most. So what did I take away from these?
  • You can take your practice seriously but you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Every project has a problem to solve and an audience to impact in some way.
  • Whether projects were spurred out of a need to heal or an outburst of joy, you can see the pleasure of making and discovering something important in someone’s work. Work and play feeds us and the result feeds our audience.
  • Although I’ve heard you should make a separation between your work and yourself, many of the speakers seem to have blurred the lines even further. But this leads me to my next point:
  • It’s important to nourish yourself with playful endeavors that aren’t WORK. This can be creative, but if you spend your creative time only making things that feel portfolio-ready, there’s no opportunity to make mistakes and learn and grow from them. And these things can lead to new processes and ideas as opposed to just repeating yourself.
Of course, this doesn’t just mean 'follow your bliss!’ because frankly a lot of those sort of statements are pithy and useless. I read something earlier this year that talked about how following your passion doesn’t mean 'what you’re interested in’ but rather 'what are you willing to suffer with?’ Which is a funny statement to correlate with making room for play in your work– but you’re always going to struggle a bit with playing feeling too self-indulgent (aka the “BUT WHAT IS IT FOR??!?!” crisis), and you might suffer through some ugly results but it’s better to take those risks than just turning creativity into a 100% business. You won’t benefit from that, your clients won’t benefit from it, and your audience won’t benefit from it.

3. Who’s your tribe?

I heard the term tribe bandied about a handful of times (guess who’s read Seth Godin?) and while sometimes I think it’s a little bit overused, I get the point. We are in an age of audience, and forgetting our audience can sometimes be a detriment (although trying to please your audience too much might not be good either). One thing I kind of wanted to hear more at ICON8 was 'how do you really connect with this audience?’ beyond 'oh post to Instagram! Post to a personal Facebook page! And have an outside life! But show that online. Etc.’ Because it’s amazing to have so many people following your work but keeping up with it is exhausting and honestly a lot of the time leads me chasing a weird dopamine high that a little heart or retweet can provide. And sometimes it just feels like I’m oversharing. I feel like we need a more soulful social network. One of the things I’ve thought the most about Twitter is that I miss what it was when I first joined– a little water-cooler to talk with people about things. Now I hunger for conversation and deeper connection– two things I found a lot during ICON8 but don’t find as much on social networks. Or maybe it just takes more time online and I don’t have time for that noise.

And beyond that, the big question I had: how do you actually find a way to slow the stream? Because there are so many people on so many social networks, so many creatives sharing what they make and so many consuming and moving onto the next shiny thing. Which okay, this is how we are now; but I want to find ways to slow down with the things I enjoy, ask questions and also stir dialogue. And I want to encourage my audience to connect deeper and slow down.

So who is my tribe? I know that there’s over 130k people following me on any number of social networks (as one of them, I can’t thank you enough!). But that’s not really enough of a metric, because I only really connect with a sliver of them. Or maybe that’s enough? One thing that I found interesting was talking about Kickstarter with a friend of mine; I’ve always shied away from it because I usually just think 'it has to be good enough, something really important’ or 'I could just save up and fund it myself.’ But I also realized in that platform, your audience can find joy in supporting something they connect with and help bring it to life. Instead of just being a set of eyes glancing on something they get to be a part of the birth of something new. The audience gets to invest their interest and money into the creative. Which was kind of neat to think about and made me wonder about that as a possibility at some point.

4. You need to make time for play in your work, and you need to continue learning and trying new things in order to trust your point of view.

Hard lessons for me to learn but really vital. In the past few years as a teacher, I’ve gotten really good about encouraging others to push their point of view and explore their passions but I’ve lost faith in mine a bit. The whole 'but is it ________ enough?’ complex– which is a deadly game to play. I have started so many projects and given up before the concepting stage was complete because it didn’t seem to be enough; so many lost little ideas. I don’t regret this because it’s made new attempts stronger, but I am remorseful. So in my own personal practice I am trying silly ideas (more on that in a future post) just because I can, researching things I’m fascinated by that have nothing to do with my field, writing more to develop ideas and stories, trying to draw things I have no idea how to draw well, and pursuing little personal and collaborative projects to refill the creative well. I’m learning a lot. All the meanwhile trying to shush the 'is it enough?’ voice. I’m not sure these exploits will ever turn into a freelance project officially, but right now I am satisfied enough that I’m doing something that will feed something else somewhere down the line. The thing I wrote down in my sketchbook twice: this is a planting time.

I have more insights to share (including things I would’ve loved to see at ICON8 and what I’d love to see at ICON9!), but I’ll save that for a post on Friday.

On March 31, the White House held the first-ever briefing on the issues faced by transgender women of color, featuring a panel of nine trans women of color from different states, communities and fields. March 31, of course, is the International Transgender Day of Visibility (and the last day of Women’s History Month), and the White House and the National LGBTQ Task Force joined forces to uplift the voices of trans women of color in this forum. 

The panelists were: Tracee McDaniel from the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc.; Ruby Corado from Casa Ruby; Mattee Jim from First Nations Community HealthSource; Bamby Salcedo from Trans-Latin@ Coalition; Dr. Ayana Elliott, FNP from The Elliott Group, LLC; Raffi Freedman-Gurspan from the National Center for Transgender Equality; LaLa Zannell from the New York City Anti-Violence Project; Kylar Broadus from the National LGBTQ Task Force; and Cecilia Chung from the Transgender Law Center.

Here’s a report-back from the Task Force’s Kayley Whalen, herself a Latina trans woman who attended the panel:

Each of the speakers, many of whom had personally experienced anti-trans violence, were an example of the resiliency and vibrancy of our community. Each of those present is working as an advocate to change the narrative about transgender lives – that our lives matter, that we are hirable, that we deserve good jobs, education, healthcare, safe housing and loving relationships free from violence. Trans people’s lives need to stop being criminalized; we are tired of being profiled and harassed by police; we are tired of being imprisoned simply for trying to survive; we are tired of being detained by immigration authorities when we come to the U.S. to escape from violence; we are tired of being harassed, assaulted and being denied medical care in jails, prisons and detention centers; and we are sick and tired of having to prove that we are human beings who deserve dignity and respect.

This is an incredible step for trans visibility, inclusion, and affirming our movement’s commitment to tackling the systemic violence and oppression trans women of color endure. That said, it is a step, not a solution – we need more than White House recognition in order to make change happen, and we must listen to the voices and experiences of trans women of color every day, not just on the days when they’re featured at the White House. 

Read Kayley’s full account of the experience, including a groundbreaking kickoff for the new national office of the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) and Casa Ruby’s new TransLife Center that took place the day after the panel, over at the Huffington Post


Extremely huge shout out to the NY Anti-Violence Project for coming through pre-party and during the party to help us begin become safe space facilitators and engaged allies to folks who come build w/ us. Abuse is not welcome in any form in bklyn boihood spaces. We’ve recently had to manage this internally. It is absolutely a real journey for all of us in our personal, professional and spiritual lives.
K.c. Haggard is the 11th trans person murdered this year (and the 2nd this week)
Witnesses saw K.c. Haggard, 66, lying on the sidewalk bleeding but did not help, surveillance video of the scene appears to show. Haggard is the second trans person killed this week and the 11th th...
By Dominic Holden

K.c. Haggard, age 66, was murdered in Fresno, California on Thursday. The details of Haggard’s gender identity are unclear, but activists in the area believe that Haggard identified as a trans woman. 

If this is true, Haggard is at least the 11th trans person to have been killed in the United States this year, and the second this week; the death of India Clarke, a black trans woman in Tampa, FL, was reported just days ago. 

Haggard was stabbed in the throat by someone in a car and fell to the ground after the assailants fled. Several people approached Haggard on the ground, and then kept moving without offering help. 

While hate-motivated violence against LGBT people dropped 32% overall in 2014 compared with the previous year, hate-motivated violence against transgender people rose 13%, according to a report released in June by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

“We are outraged by the homicide of two transgender women in the U.S. within three days, and we mourn the loss of K.c. Haggard and India Clarke,” Shelby Chestnut, who is co-director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti Violence Project, in a statement. “There can be no more bystanders in this epidemic of violence against transgender women — we all must actively support transgender women’s leadership and their safety.”

I don’t even have the words anymore. Rest in power. 

I Need Your Assistance :)

Hey y'all so I’m doing this sweet thing and we need help & its completely anonymous :D

“Hi!! So: We are teaming up with Virginia Anti-Violence Project to produce a reading of a new, devised work based on stories of ‘queer resilience’ – there was an online essay that people filled out and we’re crafting a piece around the submissions.”

Introducing the Trans Women's Healing Justice Project

The Trans Women’s Anti-Violence Project is now the Trans Women’s Healing Justice Project. This name change marks a renewed focus on creating positive change for trans women. This project was created to address the disproportionately high rates of violence and oppression experienced by trans women in order to bring about healing and justice for those living at the intersections of anti-trans and anti-women violence. So, rather than focusing on what the project opposes, the new name emphasizes the desired goals of the project: healing and justice.

Violence, whether institutional or interpersonal, results in both trauma and injustice. Without individual and collective healing, there can’t be true justice. And without justice, there can’t be true healing of individuals and communities. It’s the position of the Healing Justice Project that any intervention opposing the intersections of anti-women and anti-trans violence will be best when it seeks to provide both healing and justice.