Telling Queer History/Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia Microgrant
IX and TQH will collaborate to support the immigrant members of IX who are also part of the queer community. We want to focus on this intersection because IX has a handful of members who embrace this identity and struggle for recognition within their Latinx community. IX will work with TQH to support the intersectional identities of IX members through their claiming of their narratives. This will be done at a December storytelling event of TQH, through IX members (and adding a cross-cultural element) as well as queer Hmong and Somali individuals sharing their stories publicly.
Kee Vang (St Paul, MN) Kee was a part of the Truth and Transformation conference/work with MHC, and is also serving on the Hmong cultural heritage panel. He is Hmong.
Leyla Suleiman (Minneapolis, MN) Leyla is a first year educator, author in the Crossroads: Somali Youth Anthology, and was a panelist for the Community Partner Fund and is also serving in the Somali cultural heritage panel. She is Somali.
Hibaq Mohamed (Minneapolis, MN) Hibaq is an MHC Increase Engagement facilitator, author in the Crossroads: Somali Youth Anthology, and is also serving in the Somali cultural heritage panel. She is Somali.
Minnesota Humanities Center
$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.
The goal of this collaboration is to build stronger connections between two cultural communities that have overlap that is often erased. Our goal is to build allies across differences, a deeper knowledge of each other’s history and lives, and empathy which will lead to a healthier community overall.
TQH events typically draw 30-60 people but with this collaboration we anticipate a larger gathering of 60-90 people. We will record our attendance at the December 8th event and compare that to previous years. We will also track if people return after this event. As people sign in we ask them how they first heard of the event so we can measure the influence of each organization.
We will know we have been successful when presenters feel a deeper connection to multiple communities outside of their own identities and when attendees learn and feel connected to stories. We want to ensure that heterosexual identified members of Inquilinxs attend to support and hear stories of their queer members. It can be more difficult to come out in Latinx communities than in than US born communities. Highlighting the stories of Latinx LGBTQ+ will increase empathy and compassion for members of Inquilinx that identify as LGBTQ+, empower them to speak up and be seen in their Latinx communities and at IX events. Simultaneously, highlighting Latinx stories at Telling Queer History will broaden the narrative of LGBTQ+ stories and build empathy and connection to Latinx communities within predominantly European descent LGBTQ+ community. They will hear from these stories a shared struggle with housing scarcity and discrimination.
TQH will distribute a survey in English and Spanish for attendees to fill out. Through this we will measure sense of connection to community and knowledge of other identity groups. We will also track what zip code people live in and how they identify.
After the event, we anticipate other measurable outcomes. We hope TQH attendees join the IX mailing list and show up for events to fight for their housing needs and IX members join the TQH mailing list to attend future events. The event will grow the power and reach of both organizations.
We had 31 people in attendance. Powerful stories were shared by three storytellers with a variety of identities. The attendees were moved by the vulnerability and courage to share very personal stories of being LGBTQ+ immigrants in Minnesota.
Seven surveys were filled out: six paper and one online (less than one third of attendees). Most people learned about IX and felt connected to stories.
To follow up on the event, Telling Queer History and IUPJ had the audio transcribed. We had hoped to use this audio to release a podcast that both organizations would be able to use but one of the storytellers would not respond to our request for a release form. We tried multiple methods of communication with this storyteller and were not able to reach them.
We have written permission from one storyteller to use their audio as needed and oral permission from the third storyteller. TQH will be using the written permission person’s story as a short clip to promote our Oct 2020 Coming Out event. TQH has been requesting audio release forms to be signed prior to their events because of what we learned from the grant.
Jen and Rebecca acknowledged that longer term work and multiple points of exposure would be needed to build the connections and relationships that we want to see between these two cultural identities.
IX members involved in this project: Jennifer Arnold, Jen Jang, Arianna Feldman, Denisse Herrera, Edain Altamirano