By ena ganguly
One of the reasons allgo exists is to nurture queer people of color communities and serve as a space to build, nourish and maintain queer people of color networks, communities and relationships. It’s important for us as queer people of color to support one another. Without it, we would not be where we are today, on a structural and interpersonal level.
As vibrant and versatile as allgo is, this place is made by the people and cultures that move through the space throughout the years. The health and wellness program, cultural arts program and social justice actions serve as entry points for queer people of color to do what they do best: make visible qpoc narratives and celebrate our communities.
We have had so many beautiful moments here. I would like to highlight some of what I have witnessed here, at allgo:
- Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady
- Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady was a performance installation about ancestors, healing, and the collective experience. In each show, there was a new QPOC collaborator to open the show. This was the first time I met Sharon Bridgforth, an allgo member since the early 90s. Her creative direction and insight made the show unique every time. People were invited to participate in the production because they were part of the bigger family that the show kept moving towards, and they were finally here.
- Dia de los muertos/Day of the Dead
- This is an old allgo tradition that has been maintained for at least 20 years. Every November, on dia de los muertos, allgo hosts a space for folks to openly grieve, remember, reminisce, call upon and meditate on those who have passed, recently or centuries ago, queer or straight, blood or spiritually related. There is a community altar, decorated with photos and memorabilia of past allgo members, flowers, sweets and sugar skulls. There are also folks who perform poetry, dance, play instruments and so on at the beginning of the event. Last year, I was able to recite some of my poetry, and, overwhelmed by it all, cried freely as I recited. I love this event and am so grateful to have witnessed it for the past two years. It’s a beautiful cultural celebration and tradition.
- Community healing health fair
- The Community Healing health fair was such a rare find for me. This is the only health fair that is created for queer people of color and with queer people of color communities’ needs in mind. Last year, the fair included a sound therapy session by g’beda sound therapy, giveaways and a multitude of local organizations who serve queer people of color communities. I was a volunteer coordinator for the fair last year, which was an exciting experience. This year, I’m the one coordinating the health fair! It’s coming up on March 2nd, and trust me, y’all don’t want to miss it!
- Our voices community showcase
- This was basically a party y’all. The event had an amazing line up of qpoc artists and performers as well as amazing vegan food and drinks. The allgo socials and cultural arts events are really such great opportunities to invite new people in, even if they’re just in passing, to the space and grow deeper and wider as a community. I hope we get to have more of these types of events in the future.
- Cuffing Season
- Last, but definitely not least, is our health and wellness program which produces bi-monthly events related to the health and wellness of qpoc communities in the Austin area. We try our best to facilitate some of the events while also inviting community members to create event ideas and facilitate them so that they feel a part of the larger conversation that is about qpoc wellness issues and topics. Cuffing Season was one such event that was facilitated by two folks in the community who brought their humor, wisdom and compassion into the space and really manifested some great conversations. By far, this was one of my favorite events of the year, and we hope to continue these conversations moving forwards.
allgo is a vital space for qpoc communities and it is a space that constantly shifts and stretches to the needs and desires of qpoc communities. We wouldn’t be where we are without the support of so many communities, whether it is through their connections, social capital, wisdom, skills and/or money. If you ever felt inspired, touched, or supported by the work we do here at allgo, please feel free to support us for Amplify ATX and share the link around!
How are some ways you have been impacted by allgo? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!