The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis of violence by providing resources and meals to Black Trans people worldwide.
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Content Warning: Sexual Coercion and Predatory Behavior
[NEW YORK, NY 7.9.20] On Tuesday evening, it was brought to our attention that allegations of sexual coercion and predatory behavior were being made against our financial advisor, Nyla Sampson, with the majority of the survivors being Black Trans folks. The Okra Project team believes survivors and knowing that a member of our team who is part of the very DNA of our organization since its founding has been moving in such a way is wildly upsetting and disturbing. While we have yet to hear of anyone who has experienced any of this behavior from Nyla connected to any of her work or her tenure with the Okra Project, we deeply apologize for anyone who has felt uncomfortable with Nyla’s presence in our organization.
The Okra Project has made the decision independently and in alignment with the survivor’s request, to remove Nyla from our organization and make sure that she is never present in any of our work or spaces that we organize moving forward. As Nyla has been intricately woven into much of our work, it will take time to effectively move away from Nyla and still maintain the sanctity of our work. Our off-boarding process with Nyla will begin today and reach its conclusion next Friday, July 17, 2020. Nyla is currently undergoing an accountability process with community members, and while The Okra Project will not be participating in that process, we hope that the process reaches a conclusion that satisfies the needs and requests of survivors while also facilitating healing within community.
The first allegations that The Okra Project was made aware of occurred on Tuesday evening and immediate action was taken within 24 hours. We are deeply saddened and disappointed with Nyla and are committed to severing personal and professional ties.
As always, The Okra Project is committed to the empowerment and liberation of Black Trans people. We hope that this change in our staff will help us to do that work more effectively.
- Ianne Fields Stewart and The Okra Project Admin Team -
EXCITING NEWS! The Okra Project now has a new donation link via our fiscal sponsor, Arts Business Collaborative! If you click the “Donate” button on our website, you’ll be redirected to the new link. Please send all future donations there. The link is also in our story, or you can copy and paste the following into your browser:
Thank you so much for your support ❤️
Our Founder, Ianne Fields Stewart (@thefreeactorvist), closes out the Brooklyn Liberation Action for Black Trans Lives with a riveting call to action. The Ancestors are well pleased.
CALLING ALL QUEERS: #BROOKLYNLIBERATION - AN ACTION FOR BLACK TRANS LIVES. THIS SUNDAY 6/14 @ 1PM. OUTSIDE BROOKLYN MUSEUM. RALLY + SILENT MARCH TO FOLLOW. WEAR WHITE. WITH @THEOKRAPROJECT @MPJINSTITUTE @GLITS_INC @FORTHEGWORLS @BTFACOLLECTIVE. THE REVOLUTION IS NOW. PINKWASHING IS OVER. RAINBOW CAPITALISM IS OVER. NO PERMIT, NO WORKING WITH COPS. NO PRIDE FOR SOME OF US WITHOUT LIBERATION FOR ALL OF US. ART BY @BROHAMMED #BLACKTRANSLIVESMATTER
Founder, Ianne Fields Stewart, sits down for an informal conversation with BTFA Collective Founder, Jordyn Jay to discuss the arts, trans divinity, and more!
We are so thrilled to welcome Jamari Thomas to The Okra Project team! Jamari will be serving as our resident bartender. If you are interested in having a private bartender at your event, please consider partnering with The Okra Project! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
📸: @x99kg ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Jamari ( @bfj0 ) is Jamaican American raised in Queens, NY. He is a recent graduate from Monmouth University, where he pushed for trans inclusivity on campus and gender neutral restrooms on campus. Jamari is currently a skills coach for the New York Foundling and a part of their Pride Committee. Within the pride committee he aims to create an inclusive and supportive work environment as well as educate the youth and foster parents that they work with about the LGBTQ+ community. Jamari also partnered with The Okra Project to become a certified bartender with the @newyorkbartendingschool . In the future Jamari is focused on helping Black LGBTQ+ children and survivors of CSA, along with trans community organizing for health & wellness.
Welcome @nalasimonet! We could not be more excited to announce that our new Community Coordinator is Nala Simone Toussaint! Brooklyn born with an Afro-Caribbean background, Nala Toussaint works to advance the social and economic well-being of African Descendants, with an urgent focus on queer, same-gender loving people, transgender, and non-binary people, and ultimately the entire community. Nala Toussaint currently is the TGNB Health Advocacy Coordinator @callenlorde . She engages and mobilizes transgender and gender non-binary (TGNB) patients and their allies - as well as external community members - to advocate for policies that will expand access to gender-affirming health care and services. In 2017, Nala founded her organization called Reuniting of African Descendants (@road_2_us) to shape the equitable, personal and collective development, and achievement of African descendants. Each year, her organization seeks to mobilize at least 10 individuals to work collaboratively to transform queer and trans communities in Africa through cultural exchange.
Last week, we hosted The Okra Academy! Our first ever cooking course to help our community learn some necessary cooking skills and hopefully bring them into the #OkraProject fold! We are so grateful to have been awarded the #Map4Youth grant to make this work happen! Shout out to Chef @the.weekendvegan for teaching this course and for being so incredible! #okraacademy #okraproject #BlackTransLoveIsWealth #FeedThePeople
Morning siblings! We just thought we'd let @devinmichaellowe and @sashawashington44 bless ya timeline real quick! The photoshoot got steamy at our #BeautyByOkra event honoring and centering the pleasure, relaxation, and self-care of Black Trans Women in August. Whew! Ya'll thirsty?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
#BeautyByOkra #ByOkra #BlackTransLove #girlslikeus #selfcare #BlackTransJoy #BlackTransFood