Dalia Rubiano Yedidia
When I think of my time at Forward Together, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely working on Trans Day of Resilience and all the people I have gotten to know. I came along the second year of the project, and I was able to grow with the team over the past three years. Working with multiple artists of color all over the country allowed us to create a virtual community with them. I think one of the coolest things about TDOR is that it’s intergenerational. We worked with really young artists, like in their teens. And we worked with trans women elders and mothers who have been in the movement for a long time. Some were artists who had never been involved in organizing before, and some of them came straight out of organizing and we’re now trying to really grow their artistry.
The way that TDOR has grown online has also made a big impression on me. TDOR is such a powerful online campaign. I had never had that experience in my previous work, to feel the power of an online campaign like that. We can often be skeptical of the reach of our organizing when it’s primarily in the digital medium. TDOR proved to me in the most beautiful way how powerful it can be to have something that lives online, and because it’s online, then be able to reach so many more people. It’s as if TDOR has its own life that we don’t even necessarily know about and we can’t document it at the pace that it happens.
Forward Together has continually uplifted our communities and created change through brilliant art campaigns. Like TDOR, Mamas Day is so successful year after year because of the vacuum and the gap that just continues to exist in real representations of mamahood. It’s a project that continues to have life, and I’m constantly amazed at the need, as well as how far it reaches. Each year it’s, “Right, we still need Mamas Day.” Yet, more people that are from random parts of my life, like not movement parts, know about it, or they’ve seen the cards before, or they’ve seen the images online. Many times they have no idea what Mamas Day is as a campaign. They just know the art and they are spreading the art. There is so much power in seeing a reflection of your mama or mamas that you know in highly visible spaces. The power is in what that representation of your community actually means in terms of your community’s strengths and your community’s ability to envision the world that is actually going to serve us, and not the world that we’re in right now.