We Are Family, a queer and trans youth organization in Charleston, is hosting their Spirit Day this Friday, October 21 from 6:30-9pm.
Spirit Day is an extravaganza designed for and by LGBTQI youth of color.
Each year, millions of people from all across the globe wear purple on the internationally recognized Spirit Day in a stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBTQI youth. Last year, We Are Family partnered with Girls Rock Charleston to bring Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the national Black Lives Matter movement, to speak to the attendees, and worked through their Spirit Day event to amplify the often underrepresented voices of queer/trans African American young people. This year, they continued moving towards their goals of a more inclusive queer community by starting a queer and trans people of color organizing team that has taken the main role in event planning. For more information about Spirit Day, click here.
Melissa Moore, executive director of We Are Family, says, "Our whole purpose is to bring visibility to this vulnerable group of teens, offer a platform for them to share their creative expression, and conduct a needs assessment to determine what kinds of supports they want/need, what kinds of leadership development opportunities they're looking for, etc. We are working on developing very intentional programming with and for these young people, and part of that is meeting them where they are."
Hooper Schultz had an opportunity to sit down with one of the organizers of this year's showcase, Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez, and find out a little more about what We Are Family does and why this is such an important event for growing inclusiveness in the Holy City.
Jonatan is one of the lead organizers of this year's Spirit Day event in Charleston.
HS: How did Spirit Day get started as an event for We Are Family? Were you involved from the get-go?
JG: We Are Family is an organization that has been around since 1995. It is the second oldest LGBT organization in South Carolina, and it is the only organization in the state dedicated solely to providing resources to LGBT youth and their families. Spirit Day is a stand against bullying and a way to show support for those who are currently going through it. This is my first year with We Are Family, and I am beyond excited to present this year’s spirit day! It will be an evening of full of art, music, fashion and a lot of love!
I've noticed a real diversity of artists will be performing, as well as different offerings like tarot etc. Why is that important to We Are Family?
The world is a carousel of color and diversity; spirit day is a day show off who you are and to show people what makes you special. It’s a day to show off your true spirit, and when we planned the event, we wanted to have a little bit of everything. I mean, it would be a boring event if we didn’t have something different. For example, the tarot reading is spiritual guidance. It’s an ancient Egyptian practice that has helped people find peace for thousands of years! But not only that, we will have more surprises at the event as well. This event will be like no other.
What specifically will be your role at the event?
I have a background in event planning and fashion. I have done fashion shows Georgia and for fashion week and even cocktail parties for people like Hillary Clinton! When I heard about We Are Family, I had to jump on board because when I was growing up, I know how hard it was to show people who I really am as a person. It is important that every person gives back into the community because we are building a better path for the future Therefore, I am thrilled to be hosting a fashion show that will showcase looks from Buckle of Mt. Pleasant, Gap Inc., and Lilly Pulitzer Men’s ties by Boxer n’ Bees. Fashion is the way we present ourselves to the world, therefore the looks in this show are a way for our models show off their spirit through the power of fashion.
Can you tell me anything more about We Are Family as an organization that you think readers should know? What do you think is its biggest goal?
One of the main goals for We Are Family is to open an LGBT youth drop-in center and thrift store by the end of the year. 40% of the LGBTQ youth experience homelessness each year and in a city that does not stink because of hate, we want to build a path of love and support for the youth that are currently experiencing that to help them get a good path to their future. People can follow our Instagram page for the latest updates on the event or check out our website http://www.waf.org for more information.