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Season 1, Episode 2: Building Housing & Power in Louisiana



Host: Justice Gatson Local Audio Producer: Marquel Dominique

Host: Justice Gatson
Local Audio Producer: Marquel Dominique

In this episode, local audio producer Marquel Dominique interviews House of Tulip’s co-founders–Mariah Moore and Milan Nicole Sherry–about what inspired them to work for transgender and gender non-conforming housing justice in New Orleans. In the second segment, Morgan Shannon of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice and Milan Nicole Sherry share the stories that drive them to fight for justice by providing mutual aid and building grassroots power in the face of the pandemic. This episode is hosted by Justice Gatson, a Kansas City based organizer, who organizes intersectional movements that uplift the voices of the most marginalized groups.

This podcast acts as a final grant report for Convergence Partnership’s 2020 COVID response grants. The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of local statewide and national funders to advance racial justice and health equity. The Convergence Partnership podcast series introduces you to people and organizations who are building social, political, and economic power.

Justice Gatson: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Convergence Partnership podcast. Today, our partner foundations and grantees will share their stories on how they are working to improve community health and promote racial justice. The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of local, statewide and national funders working to transform policies, practices, and systems to advance racial justice and health equity. This podcast introduces you to people and organizations who are building social, political, and economic power to advance racial justice and health equity. The series acts as a final report for our most recent grantee cohort.

Justice Gatson: Normally, Power Coalition is an organization that’s telling you to go vote and making sure that policies are changed, but it was really hard to try to tell somebody, take the Census in [00:01:00] 2020.

Justice Gatson: When everyone should have been at home, you know, quarantining Trans Women were still being murdered in the streets. Cause many of us are not afforded to be able to quarantine because we don’t have the resources to stay at home. Trusting Black women and investing in Black leadership. We’re constantly preaching that we know, we know that we are more than capable of leading our own movements.

Justice Gatson: From the Gulf Coast to Chicago. To the San Joaquin Valley to Buffalo and places in between, we are learning how our network is amplifying community power, transforming narratives, and building funder capacity to create a just and inclusive society where all people, especially those most impacted by structural racism are empowered to shape the policies and systems that impact their lives are healthy [00:02:00] and can thrive.

Justice Gatson: I’m your host Justice Gatson. Today, we’re speaking with grantees of the Foundation for Louisiana. We begin our episode by meeting with a local audio producer in New Orleans to learn about House of Tulip and the critical work they are doing in New Orleans. Later, we’ll sit down with both House of Tulip and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice to have a larger conversation about racial and health equity in Louisiana.

Marquel Dominique: My name is Marquel Dominique and I am a Creole two-spirit woman of Trans experience from the Southern region of the United States and a resident of New Orleans. I have been doing the work of civic activism for the last five years. In the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and [00:03:00] uprisings against police violence made front-page news in New Orleans, Mariah Moore and Milan Nicole Sherry were showing up for their community. They were organizing protests.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Yeah. Mariah organized a press conference, um, in response to Tony McDade and, um, another incident that was just unfortunate violence. That was just like, you know, even still happening, even in the middle of a pandemic.

Marquel Dominique: And mutual aid funds for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming people in their city.

Mariah Moore: Milan, was like hey, you know, we’re getting this mutual aid started, um, we raised some money. Uh, we really love your help to get this money dispersed. And I’m like, sure, of course, you know, so we do that. And then we just start, you know, building.

Marquel Dominique: Moore and Sherry are proud and outspoken Black Women of Trans experience who are native to New Orleans. They’ve known each other for years and their stories have a lot in common.,

Mariah Moore: You know, the things that we’ve navigated, um, over [00:04:00] the years are pretty similar if not identical, in a lot of cases. We’re both former sex workers, we’ve navigated housing insecurity, homelessness. We, you know, um, definitely instances of violence. And I think that you know, we have a heart and a passion for our people.

Marquel Dominique: So when the pandemic hit amidst their organizing, they began engaging in long talks, prioritizing their community and its needs. The first step was acknowledging its key issues.

Mariah Moore: You know, we’re seeing all of these things happening and where we’re witnessing people in real-time experience disparity.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Black and Brown Trans folks are still being murdered and still experience increased rates of violence and we’re in the middle of a pandemic when most cities are shut down. Right? And especially for those folks who are homeless, who didn’t have a place to go quarantine. And that was a lot of TGNC folks.

Marquel Dominique: This is when they organize the mutual [00:05:00] aid funds. They were so successful that all funds were distributed within a short period of time. Despite this Sherri, Moore, and their colleagues continued receiving requests for additional financial assistance. Coincidentally all the requests had a common thread.

Milan Nicole Sherry: A lot of the requests that people were asking and needing assistance with were housing and rental assistance. And so we started to look at the landscape of what housing looks like here in New Orleans. And so we looked at all of these, um, housing options in our cities and we realized that many of them for one wasn’t safe and then two, a lot of them had barriers.

Marquel Dominique: Moore and Sherry were emboldened to do something more permanent to address their community’s continued needs.

Milan Nicole Sherry: We wanted to create a zero barrier housing solution for a community where you didn’t specifically have to be HIV Positive to access the resource. We didn’t want it to be, um, you had to be specifically male or female or all of these other things. [00:06:00]

Mariah Moore: It really hit us like, wow, we could do so much more. Are we afraid to do it? Or do we think we can really just step out here and go for it?

Marquel Dominique: They presented their ideas at a community town hall. Then they started building what will become the House of Tulip. House of Tulip is a non-profit collective creating housing solution for TGNC people in Louisiana. Co-directors Moore and Milan celebrated the House of Tulips one year anniversary on June 22nd, 2021.

Milan Nicole Sherry:We have, actually two properties where we do house residents, one property we actually own. And then the other property, um, we went through Habitat for Humanity.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Along with providing housing solutions, House of Tulip engages individuals through a holistic approach, connecting them to legal, medical and dietary support.

Mariah Moore: Yeah. Well, we’ve been able to serve over 150 folks, whether it be through housing or other external resources, like we also provide, uh, [00:07:00] a clothing closet, which folks can come in and get gender affirming clothing, hygiene products. If you need linkage to, uh, a gender clinic or primary care appointment linkage to legal advocacies.

Milan Nicole Sherry: You know, it was just really great to be able to come together and really, you know, tackle these issues that have been at the forefront and our community for years

Mariah Moore: Embarking on House of Tulip was more than just like, it was more than just a social justice project now this is also our lives. This is reflective of our lives. We’re serving people that are currently in the position that we’ve been in before.

Marquel Dominique: With regard to policy makers and power structures Moore and Sherry have this to say.

Mariah Moore: We can’t keep putting a bandaid on this large problem because it’s going to keep coming up. You know, the pandemic showed us that local, state and federal government have the power to take care of the folks who need resources the most. Uh, and we act as a government as [00:08:00] if it’s impossible to take care of our people when we know that that’s very far from the truth.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Yeah, just challenging our city officials and our elected officials. Um, to show up, you know, and not just during the time of election, but to really get outside and in their communities to figure out, um, solutions.

Mariah Moore: We can do it. We just have to decide to do it. And that’s why we need people in power that are going to make these tough decisions and really take care of our most marginalized community.

Marquel Dominique: Reporting from New Orleans, Louisiana, I’m Marquel Dominique.

Justice Gatson: In our next segment House of Tulip and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice reflect on the work they have done with support from the Foundation for [00:09:00] Louisiana and the Convergence Partnership.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Hi everyone. My name is Milan Nicole Sherrie. My pronouns are she, her, hers. I am the co-founder and co-executive director ofHouse of Tulip. House of Tulip is a nonprofit for us by us organization based in New Orleans that provides sustainable, equitable housing to TGNC folks who are experiencing homelessness. Thanks for having me.

Morgan Shannon: Good morning. My name is Morgan I with the Power Coalition, she, her pronouns, the Power Coalition is a statewide civic engagement table that works to build power in Black and other oppressed communities of color throughout the state of Louisiana through electoral justice, through base building capacity, building and training resource redistribution. And ultimately we want a state that is more aligned with equity [00:10:00] and justice.

Milan Nicole Sherry: So we are here today to talk about the work we have done to address racial and health disparities in Louisiana. House of Tulip and Power Coalition for Equity and Justice are both grantees of the Foundation for Louisiana through a Convergence Partnership initiative.

Milan Nicole Sherry: So, Hey Morgan, how are you doing today?

Morgan Shannon: I’m doing well Milan. It’s great to hear your voice like usual.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Yes. I’m glad to be in a space with you Morgan.

Morgan Shannon: I’m so happy to be in a space with you as well.

Milan Nicole Sherry: You know, we’ve been talking about the Power Coalition and the amazing work that you all have been doing on the ground here in New Orleans. There was something that stood out to me. Um, you said that everybody is going to be alright. You know, could, could you elaborate on and go in deeper, um, into what you meant by like, everybody’s going to be alright, go ahead and just, you know, it’s just set the tone and set the table for everyone. That will be awesome.

Morgan Shannon: When I say everyone is going to be alright. I [00:11:00] like to think about what we’ve endured one as a people, particularly Black people and other oppressed communities of color, but then two, as Louisianians we are a resilient people. We have overcome a lot. Though our people should not have to be this resilient because at a certain point it becomes abuse. We’re a disaster-prone state. And so when we know how to recover, re-adjust and get through a lot of things.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I’m glad you made that reference and made that connection as a person who went through Katrina as a New Orleanian, you know, we survive that, right. Even when our city was torn, people didn’t know if they were able to come back and rebuild and stuff like we came back and we did what we did, and it was no different because New Orleans was considered the hotspot of COVID. They blamed NewOrleans and Mardi Gras as the reason why COVID [00:12:00] is, was the numbers was because the carnival. If only our Mayor, you know, people were blaming Latoya Cantrell. People were blaming the government. People were blaming so many folks, you know, because of, you know, the outbreak. But look at New Orleans, New Orleans is because it’s leading the highest vaccines right now. The lowest numbers. You know, we have bounced back from COVID and it’s because, you know, our city. It’s just that – a magical one.

Morgan Shannon: Much of the things that they’re calling for right now in a, in a COVID response organization like, Power Coalition and House of Tulip have been saying for years. I think that when I say everybody is going to be alright, what I mean is that I believe in the power of people. And I definitely believe in the power of Black people to be the moral compass of this world. And when I say Black people, I mean, all Black people. We need housing for all. We need folks to be safe. We [00:13:00] need the power and democracy and be able to participate in democracy fully. That we need our people to be decarcerated. So when I say that, we’re going to be alright, if we’re centering those who the, who are the most oppressed who represent these multiple intersections of oppression that they use to oppress us. If those folks are okay, then I feel like everyone is going to be okay.

Milan Nicole Sherry: When you think about the Power Coalition and the work that the Power Coalition is doing, um, what would be the biggest thing that stands out to you that you are very proud of?

Morgan Shannon: I think that it’s important to note that uh, we’ve been able to regrant through our work with Census and, um, our work with GOTV and just other things too almost 16 mini grants. Um, but that’s a resource redistribution model to get the money right into the hands of the people and so that they’re able to [00:14:00] do what they need to do and that we know that Power Coalition can’t do it, do it by itself. I think that that is a, a model that can be duplicated. The other thing that I’m really proud of is the fact that in both of our organizations are at this intersection, Black women led organizations, building power, not only in New Orleans, but throughout the state. Um, I think that nationally, we, the folks on the bandwagon of trusting Black women, I think both of our organizations already knew that. I think Black people already knew that. So when I see organizations like House of Tulip that are Black women led and, and Power Coalition that are Black women led. And these Black women are not just leading these organizations. They’re in multiple levels of leadership and I get excited about that, but I’ll also get nervous because I want to make sure that they’re okay, but I am excited about it because you know, when you have Black women at the helm [00:15:00] you’re destined for victory.

Milan Nicole Sherry: That is something, you know, we can like, you know, push enough when it comes to trusting Black women and investing in Black leadership. We’re constantly preaching that you know, we are more than capable of. We know that we are more than capable of leading our own. Everyone really loves a good story. You know, what is the success story for the Power Coalition?

Morgan Shannon: I think that we got unapologetic about falling into what we actually do. I’m saying that organizations don’t have the luxury of following alongside of one or the other, whether they’re direct service or their systems change. I often find that organically anyway, uh, that we are making sure that our people are okay. That we’re making sure that [00:16:00] they are eating and we’re feeding them, but we’re also making sure that they’re never hungry again. So we’re changing the systems that cause hunger. We do this already. I think most nonprofits that serve Black folks, particularly who have a liberatory mission or mindset like our organizations do. But I think we got unapologetic about saying it out loud because oftentimes you have to be an either/or organization. So everybody always wants you to be this or that. And what I found a success story in 2020 is that no, we’re not this or that. That, yes, normally Power Coalition is the organization that’s telling you to go vote, making sure that you can vote, making sure that policies are changed that is not equitable. Making sure policies are right side of following along the lines of justice and those kinds of things, but it was really hard to try to tell somebody, take the Census in [00:17:00] 2020. When folks were getting laid off, didn’t know where the next check was coming from. Didn’t know any stimulus we’re going to hit the government wasn’t there.

Morgan Shannon: Now Louisianans know that the government is not going to be there to save you. Like we already know that. You know, in a time where everybody is suffering from a pandemic, you would think that you can rely on that system, but you couldn’t. And so an organization like Power Coalition had to start to really provide direct service.

Morgan Shannon: So the first thing that we did was zero out our technology because the kids were at home and they needed computers and hotspots and internets, and those things like we zeroed out ours, we were giving out desks, computers, hotspots, laptops. We also understood that the food banks were overwhelmed. And so we were doing along with a lot of churches, red bean Monday.

Morgan Shannon: And give a out box of the collard greens and things like that. Uh, and again, ask the people if they’re registered to vote, but that wasn’t the first [00:18:00] thing that we were asking. We were trying to make sure that they were okay. And normally we do this anyway, but I think that now we’re explicit and we’re unapologetic and we’re saying it out loud that you have to make sure that when you’re resourcing us, your resources are in us to make sure that people are okay. Then I might ask them to go vote.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Yes, Morgan , thank you for sharing with us all. Um, so we’re going to move right on into like, you know, if you could share with us on what were some lessons learned this past year?

Morgan Shannon: Uh, that we are taking with us into 2021 and beyond is our kind of power-building strategy. 2020. We were able to secure some resources, particularly resources that weren’t so prescriptive or weren’t tied to an issue, but really just allowed us to think and dream. And one of those things that I think, uh, organizations that serve Black people and other oppressed communities of color need to do is [00:19:00] they need to be able to dream.

Morgan Shannon: What does it look like for, uh, Ashley, uh, Mariah, uh, Milan, uh, Dion, um, um, Haywood, uh, you know, tons of other Black women that, um, names are escaping me to just actually sit and dream about the next two to three to four to five years. See that to me is really powerful. I think that you know, increased funding, particularly funding that’s not prescriptive to an issue or a cause allows us to be able to do that. Allows us to be able to strategize, to dream, to think in a way that we’re not thinking in a scarcity model, when you are thinking, and your resources are scarce, you are really thinking like, how can I serve as this person, as opposed to that person? That’s not even how Black folks operate. That’s not even how Black, Black operate. We’re scratching two pennies together to make sure that everybody wins. And so, [00:20:00] you know, if I had to say one thing to funders, I would say these kinds of funding cohorts and funding models are a great way for you to be able to fund dreaming and dreaming turns into power building and all of those things when we’re not necessarily thinking about, okay, I can’t do this because my funding is tied to this deliverable and this and this thing. And so more general operating funding, more dreaming funding. Also there’s a need for more strategic communications because people need to know what House of Tulip is doing outside of New Orleans. People need to know what Power Coalition is doing outside of New Orleans. We need more opportunities to tell our story on that national level, because what happens locally is indicative of what’s gonna happen in the state, which is indicative of what’s going to happen nationally.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Thank you, Morgan. And y’all just keep up the fight because we know that that’s exactly [00:21:00] what we’re out here doing.

Morgan Shannon: Thank you so much, Milian. Thank you for the safe space. So thank you Milan for letting me just kind of talk to you and hear more about your work. You know, I’m a big fan of you personally, and I’m also a fan of the work that you are doing. So can you give us a little bit about yourself? And I really love this headline because it’s, it brings truth to power.

Morgan Shannon: How many of us have to die before you get involved? Tell me what that means and why you say that? And tell me a little bit about House of Tulip

Milan Nicole Sherry: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And thank you, Morgan, for also, um, allowing me to reintroduce myself. Um, my name is Milan Nicole Sherry pronouns are she, her, hers. Um, and you know, I think it’s very important, um, that folks know who I am, um, while I’m [00:22:00] here, because oftentimes we hear about those names after they’re gone. And so I just love to, you know, say my name and of course I paid a lot for it. How many of us have to die before you get involved? I asked that question a lot because specifically Black Trans women are dying and being murdered for just trying to access the basic resources. And housing is one of those resources when everyone should have been at home, buckled down, you know, quarantining Trans women were still being murdered in the streets. Because many of us are not afforded to be able to quarantine because we don’t have the resources to stay at home because many of us don’t have a home to go to. And so even during a pandemic, we saw a large percentage when it came down to Trans murders, it just, the numbers spiked. But then the reality set in, [00:23:00] because I too was once one of those girls who wasn’t always, I didn’t always have access to certain resources. And so I remember, you know, having to go out and utilize my body and engage in survival sex work, just to provide a roof over my head, just to, to provide myself with, with gender affirming clothing, just to provide myself with a meal to nourish my body. And I believe like, you know, housing is so important. Um, cause if a person has housing, you know, um, which is, which provides a person with some type of sustainability. And so, yeah, that’s, that’s what I mean. Or at least that’s where I come from. When I asked that question, how many of us have to die before you get involved?

Morgan Shannon: Yeah, that’s so powerful. And you think about it. Uh, and it was a very liberatory idea when House of Tulip was created and you’ve been a activist in New Orleans for, for a good decade. [00:24:00] And you haven’t even you’re young. And so you do show up for everyone. Talk about who you work with, who you do this work on behalf and why this work is important to you. And particularly why houses, like, why was it that you said, I need to make sure that my folks are surrounded around people who protect you and this was, was without traditional philanthropy support, you know, y’all crowd source and resourced a lot of your own stuff.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I just want to touch base on that last part you said around philanthropy. I always talk about this. Um, because Trans people has always been philanthropists, you know, um, we have always done it, have been doing philanthropy work, um, disclosed that you know, that I am, I’m a Black Trans woman. And so, House of Tulip specifically service and provide to TGNC, um, communities here in New Orleans by [00:25:00] providing zero barrier housing solutions. We thought that it was, it was so important and critical that we provided a resource. Everyone can access and didn’t have to be fit or meet a criteria to specifically access a resource. You know, here in New Orleans, even in a pandemic, landlords were still forcing people and threatening people with evictions and serving people with evictions. Not because they were refusing to pay. Because simply they couldn’t pay rent. A lot of our community members specifically identify as TGNC and the service industry. They work within these restaurants. They work at these bars in the French quarters. They work in these clubs that provide entertainment to, to our tourists when they come into our city, you know, a lot of these people were affected. And we knew just based off the experience, um, that this was going to be a domino effect. The reality is that so many of us were facing homelessness or were about to face homelessness. And [00:26:00] so we knew we needed to, to address. Um, the housing and equities here in New Orleans, when it specifically came down to TGNC folks, because there were no places in New Orleans that specifically housed Trans and Gender Nonconforming Communities.

Morgan Shannon: Yeah. And so talk to me about what brought you here, your roots, your experience, then also, how you use your experience to challenge the systems of injustices and policy advocacy and organizing.

Milan Nicole Sherry: You know, oftentimes I get a lot of, you know, praises and affirmations and of all the wonderful work that I’ve done. Um, but I think oftentimes people forget too, that, you know, I’m doing this work now only going to be half of my community, but I’m also doing the work for self as a Black Trans woman that started off just as a Black Trans. I didn’t always have it easy and I’m not going to say that I still do. Um, but I do [00:27:00] have, um, life a little bit more under control.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I think, you know, I came into this role into my leadership, so naturally I strongly believe it was, it was the fighter in me. The fighter in me is what got me here. I started my transition very young. Um, and so just being a young Trans youth, um, navigating the educational system was challenging. I’ve experienced my fair share of, of, of bullying.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I didn’t understand, you know, how adults, people who are grown, people who were supposed to be there to, to protect me were so violent towards me. To be honest, I don’t think I can really tell you all this story without really taking off from the, to the beginning, right?

Morgan Shannon: Yeah.

Milan Nicole Sherry: So I’m gonna take, I’m gonna take you out to the beginning and I’m gonna take you out and I’m going to take out all the little journeys.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Um, I grew up in a dominantly male household, a Black male. I grew up with both parents being in the home. [00:28:00] Um, one of my parents being my mother, who is my backbone, who is my best friend, she, of course, was always supportive of, of me prior to my transition. Um, but on the other hand, my, my dad and I, um, didn’t always have the best relationship.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I can remember, um, the, the violence starting at home, although it wasn’t physical. It was, it was a lot of verbal abuse from my dad. Um, cause as a Black man, he just could not see himself at the time raising a Black gay son. So I had to learn to kind of like navigate home first. That experience at home kind of prepared me for entering into, into the world.

Milan Nicole Sherry: So I kind of had to like, you know, develop this, this wall to protect myself. And, you know, I carry that wall. You know, I, at least I hid behind that wall until I couldn’t anymore. You know, I [00:29:00] remember, you know, my eighth grade year leaving and, and it was a summer break. And over the, over that summer, I contemplated with myself.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I had conversations with my mom and I decided to start my transition. I ended up finishing high school, despite all of the challenges I faced. Um, and that was with the help of my mom. You know, my mom was my backbone. My mom was my biggest cheerleader. There were times where I really wanted to drop out. I really wanted to quit.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I even begged her to homeschool me. Um, but I was so close to graduating and I did just that. I was so excited. My mom was proud of me. Um, but those 12 years that I spent in school and the educational system did not prepare me for the life or the journey that I was going to embark on because although I faced it, my challenges in school with, with my peers and certain faculty, [00:30:00] you know, I was good when it came down to my grades, you know, um, academics and class and stuff was just on top. I was good. So, you know, I was like, well fine, you know, I’m going to go off. I’m gonna go to college. You know, I’m gonna, you know, find me a nice job. I’m going to have all of these things for myself. Um, But I was wrong. It just seemed that after high school, um, life got real for me. I was no longer at home or living in this little bubble.

Milan Nicole Sherry: I was now introduced to the world and the world was cruel. The world was mean, and the world was ugly. Even when it came down to, you know, me looking for employment and jobs, you know, it was nothing for me to get a call and schedule an interview with the employer. But when Milian showed up, they weren’t quite that welcoming of her.

Milan Nicole Sherry: And so I find myself, um, getting [00:31:00] very discouraged, and then I found myself engaging in sex work. You know, I, I understand how many Trans women find themselves engaging in survival sex. Kicked out of school, we then kicked out our homes. We then find ourselves in the streets where there are so many things waiting for you.

Milan Nicole Sherry: When we first did our community town hall and we introduced them, we’d launched House of Tulip. I spoke on, um, the need of House of Tulip being in our community because we know as Trans folks life happens unexpectedly, right. And life is going to show up with or without our permission. So we knew that although we are in these positions at any given time, we can find ourselves to need to utilize the same resources that we are providing.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Right. Because I’ve been in that space. Um, we thought it was so important that we created more spaces [00:32:00] for us by us, and even being more particular, more Trans-led spaces. Black Trans led spaces. Our organization’s not even a year old yet. Um, but we’ve already been able to secure three properties. We also are in the process of building out, um, and concrete in our programming.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Uh, we’ve been able to employ, um, three Trans, um, individuals outside of myself and Mariah.

Morgan Shannon: And I really appreciate you sharing that. And the thing that I think is so beautiful about your, your, your organizing activism journey Milan, is that at every intersection of your life, you can see what you have seated in created as a safe haven and a safe vessel for whatever period you were in life. And so a lot of people do not, might not know that you are, this is not your first [00:33:00] rodeo. What are the lessons learned? What do you need, uh, funders to, to know? And what would you say reflects your organization’s values and those lessons?

Milan Nicole Sherry: Some of the lessons that I learned as far as you know, just this past year is, um, community is always going to have and take care of community. You know, because even when we think about like, you know, funding resources or, you know, financial resources for Trans specific things, there is not much out there. Yes. There needs to be more funding for Trans specific Trans led organizations for people who are actually on the ground doing the work such as like House of Tulip, Trans women, Black, Trans Femmes, we are more than capable of leading our own movement. We just need the financial resource to be able to provide the [00:34:00] resources that we know our community needs. I’ve seen organizations have two or three do some really amazing powerful work, but oftentimes they’re overlooked. And those are the people that you really need to be looking at under a microscope. Because they are doing the work they’re on the ground. We are on the ground.

Morgan Shannon: Now you all do a really great job of letting folks know where you are and what you’re doing and what you have on the horizon. Where could I find more information about you, more information, about House of Tulip about your, uh, how people can get involved, donate, and those kinds of things.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Yeah. So if you want to follow, when you can House of Tulip, you can go to Um, you can definitely, if you’re not following us, so on, on Facebook, Instagram, you can definitely follow us there at House of Tulip. [00:35:00] If you want to follow myself, Milan Nicole Sherry um, just put in on the, on Facebook.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Milan Nicole Sherry and I will pop right on up. Um, you can also email us [email protected]. You can also visit that website, Everything that you do see on our website is things that are currently happening in real-time. And so you can also make a donation to that website as well.

Milan Nicole Sherry: And most importantly, we just look forward to just continue to build community and relationships on both local and nationally.

Morgan Shannon: And the last thing I would say is let’s keep on dismantling and keep on building power. We have lots of things that folks can get involved in. If you go to, there’s a whole menu of things.

Morgan Shannon: There’s a whole lot of elections happening in Louisiana this year that we need people to get involved in. There’s [00:36:00] redistricting that’s coming. But if you’re like on social media and stuff, Power Coalition is Instagram and Twitter, Power Coalition for people who are still on Facebook is, um, backs our Facebook.

Morgan Shannon: We will keep you posted and we’ll tell you everything that we know. And then you tell us what you know, to, you know, let’s just mirror. What many of us have done before us? Like the Fanny Lou’s and the, and the Ella Bakers and the Oretha Castle Haley. And those, but then what the people are doing right now, the Milans the Mariah, the Ashleys, um, the Stacy’s the folks that are doing things, uh, um, now let’s model that behavior and make sure that they’re okay.

Morgan Shannon: Make sure that we’re going to see them on the other side, when we get to liberation too.

Milan Nicole Sherry: Enjoy definitely this conversation. And again, um, I tilt my crown to you, my sister, um, into the amazing work that the Power Coalition [00:37:00] is doing

Morgan Shannon: Milan, I appreciate you so much. I always learn so much from you and I really appreciate you having this conversation with me. You are right. It’s just like talking to your homegirl. Thanks, everyone for tuning in.

Justice Gatson: You’ve been listening to the Convergence Partnership podcast, where we hear stories from both our funders and grantees across the country who are working to create racial justice and health equity. Broadcasting from the Gulf Coast to Chicago, to the San Joaquin Valley, to Buffalo, and places in between learning how our network is amplifying community power, transforming narratives, and building funder capacity.

Justice Gatson: To learn more about the Convergence Partnership visit us at [00:38:00] That is Stay tuned as we continue telling the stories of our work.