BreakOUT! Bids Farewell to Nate/ Nia Faulk as Healing As Resistance Together (HART) Coordinator
(Photo credit: Amanda Greene)
BreakOUT! is sad to see Nate/ Nia Faulk transition from their staff position back into their position as Core Member Leader, but is excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for them! Thank you, Nate/ Nia for your leadership!
Check out their transition letter to all of you below:
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Dear beautiful people,
How thankful I am for the chance to lead a movement filled with opulence! How grand that five Black trans ladies came together and thus BreakOUT! exists! How superb it is that I have been granted such a family for the last four years! The many places and faces I can now call home!
For two and a half of those years, I’ve been witness to an experience beyond life changing. It has been an honor to create programs for my people and my family, join coalitions (ranging from local political-based coalitions to international research-based coalitions), build both locally and nationally, write reports and work on campaigns, create history, make space for healing, see the country, be nominated and awarded for my efforts, manage large scale and small scale budgets, speak and learn the art of listening- AND THE BEST PART, to do it alongside beauties who are like me who had my longevity and ability to thrive at the top of their priorities!
(YES! to all the Shamans, philosophers, freedom fighters, Kings, Queens, everything in-between, siblings, and loves that are my BreakOUT! family!)
It really has me gushing with pride and hope.
The cherry on top it all has been building and leading the Healing As Resistance Together (H.A.R.T.) Program alongside the members of BreakOUT!
With all that in mind and a future so bright due to the many opportunities I have been afforded, I am writing this letter to announce my transition from my position as the H.A.R.T. Program Coordinator of BreakOUT!
I will be transitioning back into Core Member Leader, organizing with BreakOUT! again as member, rather than staff.
This comes with many months of deep and moving dialogues, actions, and agreements between myself, the staff at BreakOUT!, the Core Member Leaders, and my many families. I am grateful to say that I have had support through every step of this process and look forward to supporting BreakOUT! and my community in every way possible from here until I take my last breath on our lovely Mama Earth!
Always gonna be a “kid from BreakOUT!, walking down the street…”
My transition was prompted by many things.
Mainly, since becoming a member of BreakOUT! back in 2012, I’ve had dreams of bringing people together, breaking glass ceilings, representing in ways that are unique and traditional at the same time, and amplifying the ability of those around me to create beauty in whichever way they see fit.
In order to fulfill what I believe part of my destiny to be, I have to continue to grow and reach broader audiences and heal alongside wider and more diverse communities. I can no longer prioritize life work that is rooted in community development. While the work I do will always be bigger than myself and for the advancement of Black trans femmes and other femmes of color, I am at a point in which my work must inherently be about my own healing. This is so that I can be a beacon of light and wealth of wellness, leadership, and determination from which my community may better draw.
This leads me to the second reason- as I continue to grow out of adolescence, I understand that what I need from a space can shift, and that youth organizations thrive best when young people are running them. The cycle can look like this: join the organizational culture, learn the culture, contribute to the culture, and make room for those behind you to do the same. Specifically, a youth organization should not retain its leaders too long because it will miss the opportunity to create sustainable cycles of young healers and organizers who can lead and grow in their own communities.
Even more so, young people must make their developed magic accessible to the world as we hone our purpose and craft. Young people are innovators of movement and we refuel them! I felt that it would be selfish to remain on staff.
(Left: BreakOUT!’s healing justice corner, photo credit: Amanda Greene)
BreakOUT! has done an amazing job of prioritizing healing justice practices and creating an integrated approach of combined leadership development, healing justice, and youth organizing when thinking about how we bring our people together. Members seeing themselves and holding their identities as leaders and healers of our communities are not a rare sight in BreakOUT!’s space and I have no doubt that we’re constantly growing the next generation of bombass organizers. These young people are amazing beyond belief. I can’t wait to support them as a member because I know they comin’ to change the game….I can only imagine our limitless power together!
I can truly prioritize other goals in my life now knowing that BreakOUT! carries a dedication to healing justice that is led and facilitated by Black trans and queer people. With staff and organizers at BreakOUT! holding a healing-centered organizing approach to ending the mass incarceration, deportation, and violence that we are living and witnessing in New Orleans, I am confident in our ability to use wellness, community engagement, and programming that directly addresses patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. I can transition into membership (cuz don’t forget, I’m still young and beautiful!) knowing that the organizers and beautiful young people at BreakOUT! will step up to continue work where I left off and completely surpass the organizational victories we’ve already achieved.
My big ask is that anyone reading this and doing this work focused on queer and trans people of color leadership and the leadership of communities directly experience violence continue to fight the good fight, but remain well. We cannot simply change a policy or host a demonstration; we have to begin envisioning what it means to build our own institutions, hold politicians and ourselves accountable, and build a solid and safer QTPOC community that is able to thrive and enjoy self-determination and a joyous existence.
A huge factor in my ability to stay effective during such gritty, often complex and emotionally traumatizing work has been maintaining a commitment to creating space in our movements for talking about the seven generations of harm- and continued harm- perpetrated again Black and Brown bodies. But we have survived and must continue to survive. This is daunting and short of disempowering.
And of course, if programming that promotes healing-centered approaches to organizing is scarce, the funding for it is scarce as well. I am proud to say that I have had a hand in asserting the inherent value of healing as a way to end oppression and violence and even influenced some funders. But I am even happier to be able to say that queer and trans people in New Orleans and at BreakOUT! have been able to create ways of sustaining funding and resources outside of relying on traditional foundations to establish their healing justice work on their own terms; not every organization or community incorporates healing justice into their work, let alone allows young people to facilitate difficult moments for themselves that result in self-determined healing.
It is dire that we push for a structural healing presence within our communities, personal and professional work, and most importantly within ourselves. Continue to support Black queer and trans wellness and health initiatives because the magic and ancestral wisdom that flows in BreakOUT! and all of our bodies is so gallantly strong, so full of perseverance, and so glorious! When we approach the work while fully participating in self and community, there is nothing that can take us down! Let’s push and dismantle, while healing and conjuring the world we not only desire, but that we deserve.
When I started this letter, I mentioned transitioning was catalyzed due to other goals that I wanted to achieve for myself. A less pretty part of this truth is due to depression and not always being able to hold efficiency and reality.
With that being said, I want to draw love and healing energy to the families and spirits of Ciara Aaliyah Love and Diamond D’Maree, angels we lost along the journey to liberation, which impacted me on levels I could not have foreseen.
If there is any reason I must continue my journey, it is because theirs was cut short. I embody success because they would want nothing less. Their will, resilience, and ability to reach their dreams now resides in a part of myself and within all of us in the BreakOUT! family. We have to succeed in honor of these women and the many trans and queer people who are dying unjustly. We have the ability to create the world we want, a world in which they could have not only survived but thrived- and I know we’ll do it.
[Now that I’ve explained more about where I am in life and you have given me one last bid for universal healing justice in all we do, I hope you can spare me five more minutes to showcase gratitude! Not a single one of my accomplishments was achieved alone. I’ve been lucky to have the strongest, most loving and patient people around me. I would like to thank Ja’Leah, Derwin, and Kwan, my sanity and challengers…always shaping a better me. Jordan for sticking with me through some of my messiest and most human moments and for showing me hard work and logic are often the way to go. Terrence for being one of the only people I trust to be fully vulnerable and honest with and for protecting me and being a peer mentor to me. To Deede and all Nukks, the foundations of my greatness. Gratitude for the host, filmers, and editors of Real Sex Week and The QTPOC Agenda: A Social and Political Talk Show (love you forever Alex…your light and love truly has brought so much happiness to my life) made by and for QTPOC millennials. Mi, my priestess/sister/teacher, Wes my persistent valiant freedom fighter, Shaena my rock, Lhundyn for keep me thinking in a state of evolution, all the beautiful Posh Academy Scholars (Ki, Bonnie, Diamond, Fridai) and all who have helped us to create the only HiSET (formerly the GED) program tailored to trans and queer youth we know of in the region (Lydia, Evan, Xaq, Rodruize, Gabby, NOPLAY, Councilman-At-Large Jason Williams). The cast of Say My Name, Say My Name (Adore and Semi, I luv ya) and Ping Chong + Company. Every Building Our Power graduate and intern, the practitioners and wellness workers of each of my healing justice nights (Mi, Akayla, Monica, Gahiji, Brandy, Co) The Power Coalition. The beautiful and inspiring young people who hold down the RAD cohort. The fountain of inspiration that comes from sister and mother orgs like Congreso, Women With a Vision, Streetwise and Safe (I love you all..I will be visiting with all this time off!), VOTE, ReThink, LOUD, BSEEDZ (my, oh my, how much I’ve learned from you lovelies), YWEP, Young Women United, Rockwood, National Black Justice Coalition, Contemporary Queer, FIERCE!, Audre Lorde Project and Dark Matter, and SOOOOOO MANY MORE!!! My biological family, Bella (ya boog), Big (Councilman) Nate, Lo, Zoe, Kayden, Kendrick….every queer and trans person I know is capable of changing the world, we just have different starting points, navigation methods, and paths to get there, but through it all, that my family stuck by me and continues to fight for me is overwhelmingly warming. I know this is not something that everyone in my community has…I cannot express in words how much I owe you all and how much I love you all. I wanna scream praises and thanks to all the glorious magic workers that are BreakOUT! members and leaders! From our incarcerated beauties to hippy girls (Cash! BJ! Molly! Kaneesh! Arely! Kyran! Trinity! Kiesha! Lily! Bev! Nick!) Beyond grateful for ya’ll for opening my bratty eyes, setting me right when needed, but mostly giving me an outlet for my creative energy and a place to call my organizing home and my safety. I survived thanks to each and everyone of ya’ll…no matter if ya knew it or not. My mentors for blessing me with your knowledge: Beyonce, Kelli Dorsey, Wendi, Gahiiji, Mandy, Olivia, Tela, Des of Wildseeds/WWAV/ INCITE/ so much more (You amaze and remind me so much of why I am guided by my spirit animal), Aesha Rasheed, Elandria, Javier, my book club! I owe my life to you. My loves at Jane Place for showing me what black trans community can look like when done successfully and on our own- even when I may not showcase the best form of community 😉 To other healers and organizers: continue to work with me, grow with me, and push me to grow as a lover of people while challenging me to lean into the complexity, the pretty, and less than pretty. Look how much we’ve done… and just think about what we can do!! Support each other’s movements, ideas, and organizations. Connect regionally and nationally, but never peace out on ya homes!!!! And most importantly, stand in solidarity with one another. I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH….AS I TYPE I CRY, BECAUSE A HUGE PART OF ME IS MOVING ON STEMS FROM ANYONE WHO INVESTED IN ME. This includes anyone who would care to read our beloved newsletter. I’ll see you very soon, because with more free time comes more making friends and getting my spiritual cup filled with good people and grand times. Push for trans representation everywhere you go, we need to be hired, we need to be developed, we need healing…but believe these are things we can do for ourselves and have already been doing. Support our dreams and support us thriving.]