By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
Dr. Lourdes Ashley Hunter is executive director of Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), an organization dedicated to uplighting the lived narratives, experiences and leadership of trans and gender non-conforming people of color, their families and comrades while building towards collective liberation for all oppressed people through healing and restorative justice. The TWOCC embodies cultural art as a tool of healing and resistance to state sanctioned violence.
“The organization was started in 2013 in New York in response to the brutal death of Islan Nettles,” Hunter said. “The community came together in an attempt to heal and to be uplifted celebrated and affirmed and also create economic opportunities.”
“The organization relocated to D.C. a year later to “expand our national reach and increase our global brand,” Hunter said. This has included initiatives, trainings retreats and workshops which sent the TWOCC to more than nine countries last year alone. A key milestone for the organization was increasing our private donor database to over 3000 individuals.”
“We measure our success by the lives we impact,” Hunter added.
One of the key missions of the organization is to break down the artificial walls that separate people.
“I think the public needs to know that we are human,” Hunter said. “We are your family members, we are your neighbors, your doctors.’
“I think people only see particular images the media likes to portray, that we’re homeless, poor, perverts – that our lives are disposable. We want people to know, and especially trans youth, that our lives have tremendous value.”