For the month of July, our Community Initiative of the Month is QPOC Winnipeg!
QPOC Winnipeg's goal is to provide Winnipeg’s Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous and People Of Colour, with safer spaces, resources, and a support network that recognizes the unique experiences and needs of the QTBIPOC community. From dance parties, and open mic nights, to potlucks and sharing coffee with a fellow QTBIPOC, they are there.
We asked one of the founders of QPOC Winnipeg, Uzoma Chioma, to share with us more about the heart behind QPOC so we can get to know them and the work they do in Winnipeg better. Take a read below!
Tell us about how QPOC Winnipeg came to be.
QPOC started in 2014 with myself and a couple of Black and Queer friends. We realized there were no spaces created where Queer/Trans Black, Indigenous and people of colour could gather as community and have their identities and unique experiences centred. There was also a complete lack of constructive dialogue surrounding racism and discrimination that exists within the 2SLGBTQ* community. We decided to create those safer spaces and opportunities for important critical dialogue to address these issues and uplift 2sQTBIPOC TBIPOC - Two Spirit, Queer|Trans, Black, Indigenous & people of colour community.
Tell us more about how you support your community.
We host safer space based events that explicitly center the needs of 2sQTBIPOC. Everything from dance parties to open mic nights where we feature local and international artists. We provide support for asylum seeking queer refugees, we provide training, education and workshops for schools, organizations and businesses. We host DJ workshops, provide advocacy, partner to host conferences, community coffees and potlucks, have a chest binder fund for community members who cannot access a chest binder on their own, we partnered with Sunshine House to establish an emergency food security fund and to host fundraisers that provide direct support to community members. And so much more :)
How has covid-19 caused QPOC to shift their offerings for the QTBIPOC community in Winnipeg?
We’ve been unable to host our monthly events. This has been a big loss in terms of consistent opportunity for community to connect and gather. We have been able to get creative and through strong partnership with the University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities, engage community through the arts and provide direct financial support for projects developed under a specific theme. We continue to reach out to folks directly, using social media as a way to stay engaged and recently hosted a community coffee, with free coffee and snacks, to encourage folks to connect and meet outdoors with community. As public health orders continue to loosen we’ll create more safer opportunities for community.