Meet Torrianna Foster, Organizing and Communications Manager for Queer Mobilization Fund

Meet Torrianna Foster, Organizing and Communications Manager for Queer Mobilization Fund

by | May 15, 2024 | Movement Building

Where are you from?

I am a North Carolina native. I’m originally from Winston Salem, North Carolina. But I grew up in Lewisville-Clemmons, North Carolina.

 

Tell me about your background and what led you to SVA.

I grew up in the church, and I did all my work in the church, and I saw a gap where we really needed organizing.

I was in the Christian faith, and there was always a space for social justice. As a kid, I was always the person who wanted to talk about social justice and being kind to people who needed help. Then, when I got into college two things happened. I came out, and I got very deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

I was going to a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), and at the time the Trayvon Martin case was very, very prevalent. The verdict of that case was announced, and it became a catalyst for me because I watched this injustice happen and then watched the people around me celebrate that injustice. 

It made me want to work to figure out what we were doing in the South to take care of our own, and that led me to the Southern Vision Alliance website. I didn’t know a lot about organizing until I encountered SVA, and it was a good resource for me as I was learning about organizing for myself.

 

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Unless we’re talking about people’s lives, nothing is ever that serious. We can always have space for joy.

We take so many things seriously as organizers. And we should. But we should always remember that at the end of the day, we’re just people on Earth, right? We are allowed to experience the fullness of being people on the earth, while we actively work with our community to do better and be better.

 

What advice would you give for folks who are struggling to find that balance between the seriousness of the work and finding joy in their own lives?

I would say to practice not taking things too seriously. And I don’t mean in a give-up-your-integrity way. I mean if you are communicating with someone about a project or a program, and y’all get into a conflict, don’t take it too seriously. Just remember y’all are two people trying to do the same work.

But I would also say to get back into things that you enjoy. If it’s colors, if it’s journaling, if it’s reading books, get back into stuff you enjoy, so that you remember you’re a person while you organize and do the things.

 

What’s one of your biggest influences?

I think my biggest influence right now is Black femme rap and hip hop. I’m talking as far back as Lil Kim and as recent at Rico Nasty. I did my thesis work in divinity school in Black femme hip hop and the prevelance in that culture in queerness and what it meant to embody and reclaim who we were. 

I was also able to connect it back to how we talk about trauma, sex, and ourselves. There are so many pieces of music that I can hear organizing principles in. There are so many pieces of music that I can hear self confidence in.

For me, I am really living in the like Megan Thee Stallion, Doechii, Cardi B era where we are having fun, we are taking ourselves seriously, we are fighting for what we believe in. But we’re also in the streets, whether we’re marching or twerking and having fun with our girls.

 

What would make you feel supported in your new role?

Reach out to me and send me the best vibes. I love talking to people. I love hearing what works. I am someone who thrives off community and conversation and feedback, so drop a line whenever.

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