Submit! Nearly There is a zine project meant to address the serious absence and silencing of stories about the experiences of queer people of color.
You Are Viewing Lina Torres (Summer 2011 Intern)
The “It Gets Better” project began in September of 2010 when columnist and author Dan Savage sought to create a powerful way for individuals to support LGBTQ youth experiencing bullying and harassment. In response to the alarming number of young people taking their lives as a result of verbal and physical abuse, Dan and his partner Terry made a video meant to inspire hope. Since that initial video, the campaign has grown to thousands of videos and a book that was released in March of 2011 – It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. The partnership between this project and The Trevor Project has become an important source of help and inspiration to people worldwide.
The complexity of being a member of the LGBTQ community and a person of color often results in harassment and rejection from many different angles. Members of the QWOC + Boston community have experienced this first hand and use inspiration and lessons from their stories to further the mission of the organization – “creating and sustaining a truly diverse social space for LGBTQ women of color” to ultimately bring about positive change in our society. With this in mind, we have decided to create an “It Gets Better” video – QWOC + Boston Edition. By sharing our stories through this powerful social media outlet, we hope to reach out to those, from any generation, stuck in the struggles created by the many facets of their identity. Many of us can now speak from the other side of the giant hurdles, so we want to let others know that this side does exist. It is essential to send a message that will resonate with the unique challenges of people of color. We also cannot forget our siblings abroad, living in countries where they fear for their lives because anything outside of heterosexuality and gender roles is not only taboo but also illegal. With this project, we hope to provide a glimmer of hope to queer and trans people of color everywhere.
What would you have wanted to hear during your toughest times? Knowing what you know now, what would you say to a young person struggling to hang on? In the spirit of QWOC Week, we hope you join and support us in this endeavor. It is a chance for all of us to engage in activism that will have an immeasurable affect. Diversity speaks, so lets make sure everyone can hear it.
As the QWOC+ Boston summer intern, the majority of my duties this summer have been related to the planning of this year’s purple pride extravaganza – QWOC Week! This has been a challenging and heartwarming journey. I have had the pleasure of working with a diverse and committed group of people. Each one of the volunteers and organizers welcomed me with open arms. As we approach the culmination of all our hard work, I am anxious to see the outcome unfold – to see this great community come together to connect and grow.
Just like in any grassroots work, the going is not always as smooth as one would like it to be…actually, it’s never as smooth as one would like it to be. During the brainstorming phase of planning, we had sheets filled with ideas for each day of QWOC Week and the best venues everyone could think of. However, as each planning meeting came and went our choices were often fewer and fewer. At times we were limited by high costs and a lack of communication from venues or collaborators, just to name a few obstacles. It is certainly frustrating to see amazing potential be limited due to lack of funding or support from other community organizations.
However, all of the challenges have been outweighed by the enthusiasm and hard work of a great team of volunteers. Most of these individuals have full time jobs and many other responsibilities. Yet, week after week they have happily attended our meetings and put their best effort into the project. Just when I would resign myself to the idea that something was simply not going to come together, one of our caring supporters would step in and save the day.
The most amazing aspect of this whole process has been the environment that QWOC + Boston creates. It is wonderful to sense the unanimous cheering and support when someone announces that they had the courage to come out to their family. No matter how long or draining, ending a meeting with news that someone will soon be marrying their beloved partner is exhilarating and provides a great deal of perspective. It is extremely rewarding to see new friends look forward to their first queer anything like a “kid at Christmas.” Ultimately, each one of us is working to reach out to queer people of color with the goal of creating more spaces like this one; to encourage personal connections that result in a strong commitment to support each other and to tackle the issues that affect the QWOC community.
As a college student, this experience has renewed my faith in the world outside of my world. I realized, for instance, that although everyone involved with QWOC + Boston has real world responsibilities and challenges, an organization like this one can still be strong and effect change.
So to those individuals that have been critical to the success of this process I say, Thank You! You bring comfort and hope to those, young or not so young, who are often afraid of and disappointed by the world.
To those of you who have the opportunity to attend QWOC Week, I invite you to enjoy the product of this labor of love.
We are thrilled to welcome Lina, our 2011 Summer Intern, to QWOC+ Boston, just in time for QWOC Week Planning Season!
Just two weeks into her internship and Lina has already proven that she’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work; she was invaluable as we transitioned from one venue to another during pride week, has already gotten the hang of her supporting role during QWOC Week planning meetings, scheduling meeting reminders, taking clear and effective meeting minutes, and even tossing an event
idea into the hat — a panel featuring the experience of Queer Latinas. What! We have already fallen in love with her and we know you will too.
Lina has posted a quick hello for all of you, so please give her a warm welcome
My name is Lina and I am a rising junior Wellesley College. I am originally from Bogota, Colombia but I grew up in the D.C area. At Wellesley, I’m majoring in International Relations with a concentration in Political Science and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies.
I’m most passionate about issues of social justice as they pertain to communities of color – hence my interest in QWOC + Boston. Through my work as an intern, I hope to contribute to the wonderful team of organizers and to learn a few things that may improve my activism on Wellesley’s campus.
I have a great love of photography, so you will likely see me behind the camera at QWOC+ Boston events this summer, capturing all of the fun! I also love food and find it very relaxing to cook delicious and healthy meals.
I very much look forward to becoming a member of the QWOC + Boston family this summer!
*Applause, Applause* She’s taking kudos, advice, words of wisdom and encouragement while dealing with us purple crazies, and of course, food… all our interns love food.