Raquel Willis

Raquel Willis Raquel Willis is an activist, writer and media maven focusing on gender, race, LGBTQ issues, social justice and intersectionality.

12/26/2020
The Meteor

The Meteor

What will 2020 feel like when we look back on it? And what will our lives be like next year—a year so close we can taste it? or the final #UNDISTRACTED episode of 2020, Brittany Packnett Cunningham invited writer Jenna Wortham and curator Kimberly Drew for a conversation about their new book, #BlackFutures. They get into everything from “this cacophonous-ass moment,” as Kimberly puts it, to the importance of archiving our own lives (and not just here on Facebook!).

Plus...thoughts about the year that just was from a few of our own here at The Meteor, like Raquel Willis, Liz Plank, Treasure Brooks, Rebecca Carroll...and YOU, our listeners.

Listen at apple.co/undistracted, and remember to rest. You deserve it.

A big thanks to our sponsor, Chambord.

12/26/2020
Facebook Watch

Such a fun interview with Phoebe Robinson! A great encapsulation of how my 2020 went and what I’ve learned so far in my career. 💫

The future is bright in part because of Black Frasier's guest, Raquel Willis.

She is a trans activist, community organizer, writer, and currently is the Director of Communications for the Ms. Foundation.

JOIN Kimberly Drew, Jenna Wortham, Naima Green, and me TONIGHT as we discuss B L A C K • F U T U R E S, Naima’s work, an...
12/07/2020

JOIN Kimberly Drew, Jenna Wortham, Naima Green, and me TONIGHT as we discuss B L A C K • F U T U R E S, Naima’s work, and the complex nature of representation and visibility for BAM!

a portion of your ticket benefits the local food pantry The Campaign Against Hunger! RSVP HERE: http://blackfutures.eventbrite.com

Grateful for my media work being elevated!
12/01/2020
Forbes 30 Under 30 2021

Grateful for my media work being elevated!

Forbes Presents the 30 Under 30 Class of 2021: 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, leaders, and stars

On this day last year, I released the #TransObituariesProject while I was still executive editor at Out. It was such a t...
11/20/2020

On this day last year, I released the #TransObituariesProject while I was still executive editor at Out. It was such a tremendous lift physically and emotionally. I spent months speaking with so many friends, families, and loved ones of our sisters taken last year and heard about their dreams, aspirations, personalities, and more. Through those conversations and years of observing and working with peers on the frontlines, I developed this 13-point framework on ending the epidemic of violence. I still stand by it and, in fact, know more and more in my bones that the solutions lie in supporting activists and organizers on the ground. But it’s still just a start and something that will no doubt evolve. For instance, the epidemic of violence plaguing trans folks is inextricably connected to a larger epidemic plaguing everyone on the margins, from the state violence that Black and brown people face to the domestic and intimate partner violence that women and all genders face.
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If I were to deepen the analysis, I’d build on the importance of accountability for those who not only commit violence but are complicit in and stoke that violence. We also need to stress public and political education on the complexity of gender and how we all are caught up in oppressive restrictions around how we express ourselves.
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It’s devastating that the epidemic has only gotten worse as the number of murders has increased exponentially. However, in light of the reckoning of the last half a year, people’s awareness of supporting trans leaders seems to have also increased. I hope folks will keep that same energy because this fight to keep trans folks alive is not anywhere close to over. #TransgenderDayofRemembrance #TDOR #TransAwarenessWeek
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What else do you think we can do to end this epidemic and keep trans folks alive?

For her “TransAtlantic Love Affair” ode to the lives of our slain siblings and Black trans futures, @MunroeBergdorf aske...
11/13/2020

For her “TransAtlantic Love Affair” ode to the lives of our slain siblings and Black trans futures, @MunroeBergdorf asked a group of us to show up in glory for @GQStyle.

📸: Sharif Hamza
👗: Anatolli
💆🏽‍♀️: Nai’vasha Johnson
💄: Grace Ahn
#TransAwarenessWeek #BlackTransPower

Y'all better speak precisely when talking about southern states. The most powerful and innovative organizers have been t...
11/04/2020

Y'all better speak precisely when talking about southern states. The most powerful and innovative organizers have been trying to transform the region for generations. Don't turn your backs on their hard work for a cute, quippy, self-righteous put down.

How dare y'all? Progressive folks in the south are dealing with some of the staunchest opposition and voter suppression. WE KNOW THE FACTS. Honor that nuance at all times.

Your ”progressive pearl” regions are far from perfect, baby. #election2020 #theSouth

No matter the result of this election, white supremacy will endure, patriarchy will endure, classism will endure, homoph...
11/04/2020

No matter the result of this election, white supremacy will endure, patriarchy will endure, classism will endure, homophobia will endure, transphobia will endure, and more. Make sure your commitment to ending these systems of oppression also endures.

If you don't know what your specific commitment is yet, figure it out, boo. We're in this for the long haul.

If you haven’t voted and plan to, visit iwillvote.com. .But remember, voting is just one option on your menu of politica...
11/03/2020

If you haven’t voted and plan to, visit iwillvote.com.
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But remember, voting is just one option on your menu of political engagement. Don’t just make a plan to vote. Make a plan to be engaged beyond election season. Get involved and figure out how you are going to support organizers and initiatives in your community that align with your values. We must sustain this longer fight to collective liberation. #Election2020

‪I learned so much from Ola when we worked together at @TransLawCenter. He’s playing the long game against state violenc...
10/30/2020
#EndSars, abolish Ice: the trans activist resisting police violence in Nigeria and the US

‪I learned so much from Ola when we worked together at @TransLawCenter. He’s playing the long game against state violence for Black LGBTQIA+ migrants. Read about his story. #EndSARS https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/29/endsars-abolish-ice-nigeria-us-trans-activism?CMP=share_btn_tw‬

Arriving as a teenager, Ola Osaze was shocked by how the US treats Black LGBTQ+ migrants. Today he fights for their rights amid an international uprising

I can finally say, ”Me and Mariaaah go back like babies and pacifiers...” Ok, maybe not, but it’s wild to be depicted in...
10/28/2020

I can finally say, ”Me and Mariaaah go back like babies and pacifiers...” Ok, maybe not, but it’s wild to be depicted in Queen Mariah Carey’s video for #SaveTheDay, featuring Black and brown freedom fighters throughout history and of today. It’s on her latest release, #TheRarities. https://youtu.be/LZ65DZdQ2Q4
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For this project, she partnered with PushBlack, artist Molly Crabapple, and executive producer Kerry Washington to elevate our long and continued fight for collective liberation. ✊🏽
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Directors: @kimboekbinder, @jimbatt
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Produced by @sharpasknivesproductions
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#blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter #blacktranspower

10/23/2020

We watch white people talk about Black and brown people more than we actually watch ourselves talk about our experiences.

It's disgusting to watch two white male leaders not take responsibility for building up prisons and detention centers in this country no matter how you slice it. Even worse to constantly see how Black and brown folks are still nothing but political fodder for them. #Debates2020

For Refinery29's "Black is the New Black" feature, I elevated sister-friend Aria Sa'id, a co-founder of The Transgender ...
10/21/2020
Aria Sa'id Is Building Pathways To Power For Black Trans Women

For Refinery29's "Black is the New Black" feature, I elevated sister-friend Aria Sa'id, a co-founder of The Transgender District + an exemplar of #BlackTransPower. Thanks for the interview, Taylor Crumpton!

"I believe that Aria’s legacy is going to be about ushering in a period where Black trans women can really imagine what it means to be completely bossed up. She has such a fiery, immovable spirit around her value, purpose, and need for us to be autonomous and self-sufficient. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated that in various roles. Her leadership of the Compton Transgender District is really focused on making sure that trans folks of color have access to the necessities, but also to economic empowerment. In many ways, that is a new concept for our community to grapple with.

Another part of her legacy will be showing up in all of her brilliance, beauty, glory, and power. From a leadership development standpoint, she believes in Black trans women being respected, not only in our identity and experiences but in our brilliance around skill and knowledge."

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/black-trans-women-rights-raquel-willis-aria-said

Raquel Willis shares why she admires transgender advocate and political strategist Aria Sa'id in Refinery29's 2020 Black Is The New Black list.

10/15/2020
PEN America

LIVE: Check us out for PEN America on publishing and activism!

It’s been demoralizing to see Megan Thee Stallion scrutinized by some after Tory Lanez attacked her. She shouldn't have ...
10/13/2020
Opinion | Megan Thee Stallion: Why I Speak Up for Black Women

It’s been demoralizing to see Megan Thee Stallion scrutinized by some after Tory Lanez attacked her. She shouldn't have to be strong, but her flipping the situation to more holistically discuss the violence and discrimination Black women face is powerful.

Can we also talk about how Meg's accompanying opinion video features all types of Black women: sex workers, trans women, gender-nonconforming women, old women, young women, and more? Come through,

I’m not afraid of criticism, and “Protect Black women” should not be controversial.

10/13/2020

We will not reach liberation without the decolonizing leadership and lens of Indigenous peoples on this land and lands worldwide. #IndigenousPeoplesDay

I’ve come out as many things in my life and experienced varying levels of affirmation, concern, intrigue. The most impor...
10/11/2020

I’ve come out as many things in my life and experienced varying levels of affirmation, concern, intrigue. The most important thing, at this point in my life, is inviting people into an understanding that all of our journeys are ever-evolving. As long as we live, we will be dynamic, we will grow, we will change, we will experience harm, we will experience healing, we will know how hard life can be and how hopeful it can be, and we have to be receptive to all of that. For me, the brave part isn't the labels we cling to and share with the world; instead, it's the restrictive expectations that we shake off in order to live more authentically and expansively. Happy #NationalComingOutDay to those who live as openly as they desire and to those yearning to do the same! And happy #DayofTheGirl especially to the girls/gworls who are trampling all over the gender binary. It may not always seem like it now, but you will inherit the universe. 💫

10/09/2020
AJ+

Our charge from our newest ancestor Monica Roberts is to uncover the glorious history of Black trans people and document our lives today and beyond. Her #BlackTransPower lives on.

Monica Roberts calls herself a trans griot. Here's what it means and why it's important.

Saddened to hear the news that Ms. Monica Roberts (TransGriot) passed this week. She was such a powerful force for Black...
10/08/2020

Saddened to hear the news that Ms. Monica Roberts (TransGriot) passed this week. She was such a powerful force for Black trans journalism and I was honored to feature her expertise in last year's #TransObituariesProject. Her work and brilliance live on through us. #RestInPower

Monica Roberts was always so supportive of upcoming trans journalists, writers, and media critics. Her award-winning blog, TransGriot, was often the first to report on what was happening in the trans community long before larger LGBTQ+ outlets and organizations cared to cover us.

And even up until this year, her blog was often the first to report on instances of anti-trans murder and violence. We owe a great debt to her diligence and persistence in fighting for the honor and dignity of our lives.

10/05/2020
Stacey Abrams

Georgia boos, today is the last day to register to vote and you can do it online: peachvote.com.

With Election Day fast approaching, now is the time to request your mail-in ballot. Go to peachvote.com for information. 🍑

Not in Georgia? Go to vote.org for information about voting in your state. 🗳

After endangering so many folks, after so much senseless loss of life, Trump has tested positive for COVID. It’s the “ho...
10/02/2020
Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus

After endangering so many folks, after so much senseless loss of life, Trump has tested positive for COVID. It’s the “hoax” that proved it wasn’t harmless. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/02/us/politics/trump-positive-coronavirus.html?referringSource=articleShare

The president’s result came after he spent months playing down the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 207,000 in the United States and hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

Feel free to get some voting practice in and vote for me! 💗
09/29/2020

Feel free to get some voting practice in and vote for me! 💗

#BreonnaTaylor deserved more living and deserves more now in death.  These systems operate as intended. Recourse for har...
09/23/2020
1 officer indicted in Breonna Taylor case; not for her death

#BreonnaTaylor deserved more living and deserves more now in death. These systems operate as intended. Recourse for harm against Black women was never in the imagination of those who first crafted them. As we dream of and fight for a better world, we can't ignore that truth.

Daniel Cameron shows why we must have a deeper conversation on representation. It can't just be about identity; it must also be about values. He showed and told the world who he was before this moment. He's a sad soul who chooses the system over the people.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday indicted a single former police officer for shooting into neighboring apartments but did not move forward with charges against any...

I think it's safe to say there are more Black trans and nonbinary folks on #TheRoot100 this year than ever before!Honore...
09/21/2020
The Root 100 - The Most Influential African Americans In 2020

I think it's safe to say there are more Black trans and nonbinary folks on #TheRoot100 this year than ever before!

Honored to be listed amongst so many of my peers:
Diamond Collier, Devin Michael Lowe, Angelica Ross, Kimberly Drew, Tre'vell Rhajon Anderson, George M Johnson, Sasha Alexander of Black Trans Media, Carter Brown of Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, Mariah Moore.

As always, there are so so so many Black trans people paving new ways. Who would you add?

https://interactives.theroot.com/root-100-2020

The Root's annual list of the most influential African Americans in the fields of arts, community, business, entertainment, media, politics, science and sports.

09/17/2020
Google

Google

Google Trends data shows the U.S. is searching like never before for ways to support transgender communities, especially Black trans women who face increasing levels of violence and discrimination. Help support Black trans lives and learn more about Google’s commitments for racial equity → g.co/blacktranslivesmatter

SOON: Calling Stacey Abrams to the stage! Don't miss our ELECTORAL POWER conversation on gender, race, electoral equity,...
09/16/2020

SOON: Calling Stacey Abrams to the stage! Don't miss our ELECTORAL POWER conversation on gender, race, electoral equity, and the continued fight against voter suppression. Register now: bit.ly/2Rny5v7

It’s on sight for white supremacy AND PATRIARCHY! We can’t talk about one without the other in this time of mass unrest ...
08/31/2020
'This election isn’t just a referendum on Donald Trump, it’s on white supremacy': Activist gather online for virtual black national convention

It’s on sight for white supremacy AND PATRIARCHY! We can’t talk about one without the other in this time of mass unrest and beyond. https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/-this-election-isn-t-just-a-referendum-on-donald-trump-it-s-on-white-supremacy-activist-gather-online-for-virtual-black-national-convention-90877509745

On the heels of the Democratic and Republican conventions, activists gathered online for the virtual Black National Convention to focus specifically on issues impacting Black Americans. MSNBC’s Alicia Menendez speaks with Raquel Willis, the director of communication for the Ms. Foundation and an a...

08/18/2020
Essence

TOMORROW. Tune In.

Join ESSENCE for a Democratic National Convention town hall on Facebook live 8/18 at 12 pm ET/ 9 am PT.

08/15/2020
Defund Police + Dismantle Patriarchy

It’s time for a holistic conversation on violence. We can’t just talk about white supremacy without discussing the many systems impacting marginalized folks, including the patriarchy. We must #DefundPolice AND #DismantlePatriarchy.

Watch the full video for MTV News’s #SoundOn3 at youtu.be/JPc5wy-iROM. It also features Kimberly Drew, Andy Lalwani, Frank Waln, Tyreebp.com, Kimmythepooh, and Sara Mora.
Hosted by Yoonj Kim + Dometi Pongo.

08/11/2020
Folks are really mad about Cardi and Meg owning their sexuality, but it just reveals the sad state of our culture. Imagi...
08/10/2020

Folks are really mad about Cardi and Meg owning their sexuality, but it just reveals the sad state of our culture. Imagine if more folks put their energy into ending people being violated and assaulted instead of denouncing when people embrace their bodies. Imagine if women and other folks could love their selves on their own terms without being concerned with the white cis-hetero patriarchal gaze. Imagine if folks weren't more accepting of voting a guy into office who brags about taking advantage of women than women saying how much they enjoy sex. We just might have a better, more pleasurable world for all. In other words, love on your #WAP, boos.

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Raquel, are any people you know working in the Mississippi constitution? As in sure you know, it requires notice in a newspaper for 30 days to even only cancel the effects of a felony. By being in the constitution, it is then much harder to change, needing to be on the ballot and a 2/3 vote. I'm pretty sure this was a Jim crow law. It is the only state in the nation with this on the constitution. I'm trying to do my part to help all non - violent convicted felons to get their prior felonies expunged. Do you know anyone I can partner with? I have people interested in helping individuals. Also, while my nonprofit 501c3 can't advocate law changes, it is obvious that is cheaper way to make changes. Do you know and groups I should be aware of? It is a big problem, as I'm sure you are aware, affecting millions of people. Any networking info you have would be much appreciated. Mississippi has a special problem with the constitution. And the issue of massive over-incarceration prison sentence and felony label is valid in every state also. Blessings
Just saw you on vice, and wanted to say how proud and happy I am at your courage and strength. That someone from Oregon, in a little town, sees you and hears you. So keep it up!
Our goal is to build the 1st LGBTQ community and housing center in New Rochelle NY just 30 mins north of NYC. It will provide a safe space, provide housing, HIV testing, mental health, public health services, a pantry, a walk-in center, a program to aide the homeless, programs for the LGBTQ youth, and an affirming church. We are asking for a donation of $20 or more towards the cause. We can not do this without you. For the LGBTQ community, from the LGBTQ community! The building has been donated, but it is not up to code and needs to be torn down. The new building will be 3 stories high to acommodate all that we need. Partner with us as we make our world better than we found it. Please donate and share, share, SHARE https://givebutter.com/NRLGBTQ/team-cia-theresa #LGBTQIA #OurTimeIsNow #wecandothistogether #NewRochelleLGBTQ
🔥🔥🔥 New Video 🔥🔥🔥 There's no place like home!🎉🎺❤️🦞🍺 🎶💃🏾🎶🥁🕺🏿🎶🎭🎊💃🎶🕺🎶📷 If you from New Orleans- share If you ever visit New Orleans- share If you plan on visiting New Orleans- share If you hate New Orleans- share If you love The #NewOrleans #Saints- share If you ever been to Mardi gras- share Share!!! share!!! share!!! 🔥🔥🔥 New Orleans theme song 🔥🔥🔥 https://youtu.be/KSKh4YP_QVo
F**k tou
🖤♥️🖤♥️
U got my support!!!
What we are teaching our future generations matters! Please support me in my pursuit for EDUCATION REFORM. I am fighting to change curriculums to include the history of black systematic oppression. Please Help me by SIGNING and SHARING!
Hi
I truly adore you. You were amazing yesterday. I follow you and it was great to hear you speak.
Hello! How are you? I'm Bernard Washington, editor of Elements Magazine (based on facebook0. What kind of advice and recommendations can you give to a new and growing outlet like mine. The mag features poetry, short stories and new reports. I would love for you to submit too. Also I write for a publication called New Arthors Journal They are looking for writers etc and works of artist Contact [email protected]. Thanks in advance for your time help. Please have a wonderful day. With love🥰🥰
Last evening, while browsing Facebook, your mother's lovely picture popped up as a friend suggestion. I haven't seen her, or any of your family, in several years. I had heard some about your journey and decided to browse deeper to see what's going on with you, these days. Wow ... how life has unfolded for this child I used to see across from the organ console at St. Joseph Catholic Church. You, just like your mother and sister, are a beautiful young woman. Congratulations on all you have achieved. You are setting an example and are doing great work that will continue to improve life for all of us and our future generations. One funny thought came to mind as I looked at your photos ... I hope you have a side job in the modeling industry because your wardrobe must cost a fortune :-) But moreover, I want to congratulate you on that fabulous piece you wrote December 1, 2018 about your mother. Marilyn is a phenomenal woman with a brilliant mind and a most loving heart. I know she was the source of security that got you through difficult times. I always enjoyed the friendship I had with her and your father when I was at St. Joseph. Again, congratulations on how you have explored your life's journey. Keep moving forward!