As you TransGriot readers are aware of, I got to come to New Orleans for the first time since 1990, but it wasn’t for pleasure. This was a business trip. I was in town because the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition came to New Orleans for its first ever Leadership Institute.
I was in attendance for this event because I sit on the board of Black Trans Women, Inc., one of the constituent organizations of the Dallas based Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. The other BTAC orgs are Black Trans Men, Inc., The Black Trans International Pageantry System, the Anchors spousal support group, and the newest part of the BTAC family, BTXI for gender non conforming individuals.
In addition to myself, there were 20 people taking part in this training conducted by BTAC Founding President Carter Brown and Director of Programs Esperanza Brown at the Doubletree New Orleans Airport in suburban Kenner, LA.
And the best part of it for me was I didn’t have to wait until April 2019 to see many of these peeps.
We came by air and car from Houston, Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, Little Rock, Lawrence and Topeka, KS, Memphis, Asheville, NC and New Orleans eager to not only be in this city, but also handle our BTAC Leadership Institute business.
That business started on Friday morning in business attire with breakfast at 8 AM followed by us heading into the hotel’s Pontchartrain room at 9 AM for the first day of the BTAC leadership Institute
We discovered during breakfast we were assigned seats for this first day, and found out why moments later. Inside the BTAC swag bags at our seats were Kindle Fire 7 tables that were assigned to us to take home and be used during this institute and beyond to conduct BTAC business.
After getting a brief history of the organization and why it was created in 2011, we reviewed BTAC policies, the recently concluded conference, and other issues of importance to the organization before breaking for lunch at 12:30.
Lunch was none other than the New Orleans classics of red bean and rice, a salad, sweet tea and chicken with bread pudding for dessert.
After lunch we received familiarization training on our new BTAC issued tablets, some training concerning the orgs official communications apps and what we can and can’t do with the new tablets before we ended the first day of training at 5 PM.
These training events aren’t all work. Team building is going on as well in addition to getting an opportunity to see the host city. After a few hours of rest, off we went to a popular local seafood restaurant where we were met by Syria Synclaire, one of our former BTIPS queens who is on the BTIPS board but couldn’t join us for training until Saturday.
Several of us also ventured into the French Quarter to see our current BTIPS queen Malaysia Black perform in a illusionist show at a local pub on Bourbon Street before calling it a night.
Day 2 gave us a little extra sleep since we didn’t start until 10 AM. We also got to break out the BTAC Leadership Institute shirts that were in our BTAC swag bag we received the previous day..
This day was dedicated to being in our various BTAC groups and coming up with policy for the 2018-2019 fiscal year that starts July 1. We broke off into those various constituent groups and spent the next 30 minutes discussing and outlining programs we wished to conduct during this 2019 year, then making presentations to everyone before we broke for lunch.
Those presentation discussion ran during lunch, after lunch and up until the 3:30 PM cutoff time we had to end Day 2. We took a few moments to begin a discussion on the 2019 budget we’ll continue later before calling it a day and heading to City Park to take some group photos in our new shirts.
We got back to the hotel as we watched a building thunderstorm move toward our location. We also continued those discussions about Black trans community and other issues near the pool before we called it a night because many of us have early travel departure times on Sunday morning.
For the most part, this BTAC Leadership Institute for our senior leadership staff was well received. It helped us get more in sync with each other as leaders and give us a better idea of where our constituent organizations fit into the overall plan for BTAC.
While there are parts of this event I can’t talk about because of confidentiality agreements I signed, what I can confidently say is that this just concluded Leadership Institute will be a major building block in helping the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition do a better job of serving our community.
And this also comes at a time in our country’s history when the Black trans community needs BTAC to lead with love the most.
Picture credits: Rebecca Jackson, Achim Howard