Transfaith Statement on Community Solidarity at PTWC 2019
The Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference is born as a gift from community. Charlene Arcila (1963-2015) conceived of this gathering and along with others in the community worked to bring it to fruition.
From its inception, this event has been a collaborative event between the Mazzoni Center and community volunteers. While any such endeavor can be fraught with communication challenges, the last few years have been especially difficult. Many amazing people who have given time and time again to the uplift of the community have experienced dismissive and disrespectful conduct from the sponsoring organization.
In December 2018, the volunteer committee released a statement on Facebook outlining their concerns and experiences. There was no mention of a boycott.
After Transfaith had already made a commitment to work with Mazzoni on the contemplation room, we learned that some committee members were trying to rally a boycott, because of their concerns. This left us in an awkward position.
Transfaith is committed to fulfill our obligations and to provide for and serve those who have come from near and far, unaware of the shifts, changes, challenges and need for realignment with the original ideals of the conference.
We also stand in solidarity with those who have, for their own safety, emotional well-being and commitment to community, chose not to attend the conference this year.
It is our hope that adequate changes, honest communication, real amends and a commitment to community will be forthcoming.
We are stronger together.
Rev Louis Mitchell
On Behalf of the Transfaith family