These 9 powerful portraits are more than art. They're acts of resistance.

These colorful, bold portraits aren't just artwork — they're powerful declarations of courage and strength.

The Trans Life & Liberation Art Series is in direct response and opposition to the harassment, violence, and legislative oppression transgender people encounter each day.

Trans visual artists from around the country are paired with trans leaders and organizers active in the equality movement to create colorful, vibrant portraits.


Portrait by Luna Merbruja and Micah Bezant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

The project highlights people within the margins of the already marginalized transgender community, including trans women of color, trans people with disabilities, and incarcerated trans people of color.

Each colorful portrait tells a story and serves as an empowering living tribute.

Sadly, the living piece is all too important.

Transgender people, particularly trans women and femmes of color, are victims of violence and murder at an alarming rate. In 2015, more than 21 trans people were murdered. And there have already been 16 murders in 2016.

A youth activist lights candles at a vigil. Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images.

"It's about documenting our own stories, and creating our own herstories," participant LaSaia Wade said in a promotional video about the project.

Since February 2016, a new portrait has been shared each week on social media.

Here are nine more of these beautiful pieces. See their portraits, read their names and stories, and honor the work of those on the front lines of the movement.

1. Longtime advocate and activist LaSaia Wade hopes to open her own cafe to provide jobs for transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

Portrait by LaSaia Wade and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

2. Educator and researcher Malcolm Shanks is a lead trainer at Race Forward and studies historical anti-oppression movements to inform their activism.

Portrait by Malcolm Shanks and Edxie Betts, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

3. Native trans and two-spirit elder Rickie Blue-Sky is a tireless advocate and educator despite being incarcerated for the past 33 years in a women's prison.

Portrait by Rickie Blue-Sky and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

4. Micky Bradford is a transfemme organizer and co-founder of Southern Fried Queer Pride.

Her portrait shows her voguing next to the police to protest North Carolina's hateful "bathroom bill."

Portrait by Micky Bradford and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

5. Isa Noyola is a trans Latina activist supporting LGBT immigrants.

"We have for many years waited for people to get it together and develop a language and consciousness around trans communities, and we no longer can wait. We no longer can wait for other people to get it together," Noyola told the Trans Life & Liberation Project.

Portrait by Isa Noyola and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

6. Janetta Johnson is an organizer and facilitator working to decolonize spaces and end violence against the transgender and gender-nonconfirming community.

Portrait by Janetta Johnson and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

7. Kiyan Williams is a performance artist and storyteller. They travel across the country using movement to explore history and identity.

Portrait by Kiyan (Kiki) Williams and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

8. HIV educator and minister Tanesh Watson Nutall splits her time between the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the City of Refuge-United Church of Christ, and her five grandchildren.

Portrait by Tanesh Watson Nutall and Matice Moore used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

9. Ky Peterson defended himself during a vicious attack, and he's been in prison ever since.

When a stranger brutally attacked and sexually assaulted him in 2011, Ky Peterson fired a fatal shot at his attacker.

Though the rape kit showed signs of an attack and Georgia has a "stand your ground" law, Ky was advised to take a plea deal and is serving 20 years in a women's prison. Only in February 2016 did he begin receiving transition-related medical care.

The Trans Life & Liberation Project worked with Ky, his partner, and different social justice organizations to time the release of his portrait with a social media campaign and a petition for his release. Through #Justice4Ky, thousands of new people have heard about his case, and over 4,600 have signed the petition for his release and parole.

Portrait by Ky Peterson and Micah Bazant, used with permission from the Trans Life & Liberation Art Series.

As emotional, beautiful, and heart-wrenching as these stories are, they're just the beginning.

"We, especially as young trans people, often feel like we have to go through life alone," artist and participant Noah Jenkins said in the promotional video. "But projects like this, that uplift our voices and center our stories and our narratives, they remind us that we do have that strength, and we deserve to feel it."

That's why the team behind the project is crowdsourcing funds to keep the project going.

The money will be used to expand the project, as artists and participants are paid for their time and talent. Later this year, the group hopes to print a coloring book and a limited-edition full-color art book. They're also planning a gallery exhibition and panel discussion in Oakland, California, this winter.

Participant Juniper Cordova-Goff said it best: "This visual movement is revolutionary, empowering, and, yes, because of our people, beautiful."

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.