WOW. Just, wow.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight. It’s going to be hard to wind down from all the amazing energy people are tossing around over here at COV4; from the personal stories, knowledge, compassion, and push to better within ourselves and our communities coming from elders and youth alike. It’s a lot to process.
Today was spent mostly at the registration table as a volunteer. By being in this position, I got the opportunity to meet many of the conference attendees and presenters.
One of the more funny and awkward moments was witnessing another volunteer hand Mia Mingus her name placard and the person behind Mia reading it and gasping audibly, realizing who they were standing next to, then trying to collect themselves. I mouthed to them, “I know and it’s gonna be okay.” Then we talked a bit about trying to keep our composure around all of these folks that we admire.
Shortly after that happened, Tony Porter was in my line at the registration table on accident. But it did give me a chance to tell him I appreciate his work and that if this silly thing hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have had the chance to meet. So all in all, for me the awkward moments are totally worth it.
To be honest, my personal highlight of the first day of the COV4 would definitely be when got to have some one-on-one time with Janetta Johnson. I went outside to get some air and smoke a cigarette (don’t worry, I know, it makes even less to me after I’ve typed it out). When I saw Janetta walk out, and realized that I was the only other person out there smoking and said to her, “Hey I need a smoking buddy!” Thinking, well she’ll either come sit with me or not, might as well try. And she did, she sat down and we talked a bit about the importance of trans people of color being involved in grassroots organizing. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to sit and talk with, and take in the wisdom of, such a rad Black trans elder like Janetta.
The second best thing about today was witnessing all of the reunions. People were just so happy to be together again! Like one of the other volunteers said, “It’s like the airport, but better!” Some of us work alongside each other virtually, or regionally, and the only chance we get to have face-to-face time with each other is at conferences. I feel like this weekend is going to be a special one.
Huge shout out to the conference organizers who I spent most of today taking direction from. How they manage to still be so chill and keep track of so many moving parts is beyond me — but they’re doing it! And they’re doing it well! COV4 could not happen without them.
Oh yeah, and Dr. Angela Davis was the keynote tonight!
You know, I’ve witnessed her speeches at universities and the like and they’re always so formal. Which is not to say I’m not into them, she is a fierce scholar, after all. It was just had a very different tone tonight — she seemed so relaxed. I mean she’s still a teacher though, so naturally, she cracked an egg or two of knowledge on everybody.
Let me end my exhausted nonsensical post-conference rant with some of the wisdom that Dr. Angela Davis imparted on us tonight:
“We can never call for justice for some without calling for justice for all.”
Who are you bringing along with you in your movement?