Nala Toussaint is a radical justice, health and gender equity activist that spends her time working with organizations to spark an impactful change through policy, activism, and education. As a member of the LGTBQ community, she challenges the notions of inclusivity and diversity to expand gender, racial, and economic equity at the corporate and executive level.
There is an overwhelming need for members of the transgender community to feel validated. The last couple of years we’ve witnessed an influx of violence towards Black transgender women. In efforts to keep them uplifted and empowered, Nala alongside the Okra Project decided to produce a beauty and wellness event that included makeovers, headshots, and much more.
Nala serves as the Community Coordinator of the Okra Project. The grassroots, organizer-led initiative has the goal of fighting food insecurity in the Black Trans community. “The Okra Project aims to bring home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals to Black Trans People in New York City,” said Nala. “They strives to create monthly holistic and wellness space that allow Black Transgenders across the identity spectrum to feel seen, loved, and celebrated.”
The Okra Project produced a Beauty & Wellness event that was curated for Black Trans Women in New York City. All women received free makeovers, professional photoshoots, and had their travel expenses paid for by the Black Trans Travel Fund to ensure safe transportation. “The objective of the event was to reminder Black trans women that they matter especially during this political and social climate where the we see countless Black Trans women being murder and many communities sit in silence. It was an event to remind them that through the trials and tribulations of life, they, we, have purpose! We are resilient and brave by force not by choice. The space was created so each black trans women who attended could simply be is the space without having to armor up. A space where they could fall into vulnerability and be supported.”
It is through events like this, a community is able to come together and celebrate themselves. Bonds are built, trust is established, and vulnerability is exercised. The trans experience isn’t an easy one. A majority of people who come out as transgender face backlash and scrutiny from their friends and families. It is important for them to find their tribe and keep them close. “Out of spaces like these, Black trans women can develop sisterhood; a siblinghood that generates the beauty in having a chosen family. Chosen family that reminds me that I am seen!” Nala said.
If you’re interested in donating to the Okra Project to keep members of the trans community nourished with healthy meals, you can visit www.TheOkraProject.com. Follow the mission on Instagram, @theokraproject. See what else Nala is up to on Instagram, @NalaSimoneT.