blmpBLMP Staff and Steering Committee
Ola Osaze | Director
Ola Osifo Osaze is a trans masculine queer of Edo and Yoruba descent, who was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and now resides in Houston, Texas. Ola is the National Organizer for the Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project and has been a community organizer for many years, including working with Transgender Law Center, the Audre Lorde Project, Uhuru Wazobia (one of the first LGBT groups for African immigrants in the US), Queers for Economic Justice and Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Ola is a 2015 Voices of Our Nation Arts workshop (VONA) fellow, and has writings published in Apogee, Qzine, Black Girl Dangerous, Black Looks, and the anthologies Queer African Reader and Queer Africa II.
Oluchi Omeoga | Senior National Organizer
My name is Oluchi Omeoga. I am an Minnesotan-born Igbo Queer Trans person. Names are very important and intentional in my culture and in Igbo, my name means Work of God or God’s Work. I truly believe that I am doing the work of my ancestors. I love anime and will probably watch it until the day I die. I find the intersection of technology and social change very interesting and am constantly learning more about both. Ramen and Ogbono soup are my two favorite foods. I will die fighting that it is far more superior than Egusi. I’ve been watching Law & Order: SVU since it’s inception; so I’m a pretty cool kid. I don’t think that I have truly captured how obsessed I am with anime. BLMP means the world to me because of the identities I have, finding true community has been almost impossible. In every space I have been in I have had to compromise a piece of me. I was too African in queer spaces, or too queer in African spaces. BLMP manifested community where there was doubt and emptiness. I hope that I can make a young trans black immigrant feel how full I feel now. Last note is I REALLY like anime.
Tiara Gendi | Organizer
Tiara Gendi has over three years’ experience in the fields of human rights and trans diverse community building. Tiara’s background covers volunteering as a data capturer at GALZ, documenting the services attained by organisational and community members, coordinating and mobilizing the Transgender and Intersex group within the organisation.
Tiara also did volunteer work with T.R.E.A.T (Transgender, Research, Education, Advocacy and Training) as a baseline survey assistant, documenting the experiences of trans diverse individuals in accessing sexual reproductive health and rights, human rights violations from the community and the law enforcement authorities, family relations and also personal well-being of this key affected population in eight towns within Zimbabwe.
Having been a peer educator, buddie group member, peer grant reviewer and also an LGBTIQ youth leader, Tiara is also a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow working on Trans Equality as an International and Immigration Fellow in the US with Trans United and a Youth Fellow at SMYAL. Tiara plans to continue to work on strengthening the visibility of the Zimbabwean Trans diverse community through lobbying, advocacy and supporting capacity strengthening projects in line with gender identity and expression.
When not doing community organizing and advocacy work, Tiara is an artist who can be found doing creative writing and/or onstage performing Poetry,monologues to theatre with groups like Breaking Ground a 2015 Obama White House Award Wining Program and Young Playwright Theatre in Washington D.C.
Eniola Abioye is a Nigerian womxn, born and raised in Oakland, CA. She is a recent alumna of UC Berkeley, where she studied Integrative Biology and African American History. During her time at UC Berkeley, Eniola served as a manager in the African American Theme House: a safe home and organizing space for Black students at Cal and part of the Berkeley Student Cooperative. Eniola was also an active member of the UC Berkeley Black Student Union, in which she organized and executed several direct actions focused on elevating Black liberation by any means that prove necessary, and acquiring resources for Black students on campus and in surrounding communities. Some of Eniola’s key interests include securing resources to prioritize womxns’ health in the San Francisco Bay Area, and empowering Black queer youth. She draws upon the strength of local community organizers in order to do the vulnerable and arduous work that is the fight for freedom. Eniola now serves as the Director of Field Operations for the Afrikan Black Coalition.
Rose Berry is a Black Afro-Latinx femme organizer that committed her life to the fight for liberation at the age of 16. She was born in Panama and grew up in Boston, where she organized for 11 years around immigrant and women’s rights, and racial and socio-economic equity. As one of the founding members of a young women’s organization called Reflect and Strengthen (R&S), she devoted her time as an organizational leader at R&S for 8 years before moving to Oakland and becoming a national organizer, fighting for the decriminalization of Black and Brown youth and for the liberation of all Black people.
Rose currently serves as the Black Immigrant Women and Girls Program Specialist at The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) as well as the Treasurer for the C4 Board of BYP100. Rose has a deep commitment to social movement and has made a life-long pledge to invest in the work that will eradicate social inequality on a global scale.
In addition to being a social justice freedom fighter, Rose’s other passion is writing. As a poet, spoken word artist and published author, she believes that art is not only a tool for social change, but a foundational piece of operative resistance.
No matter where Jo goes they will always hold their homeland of Ghana in their heart. Jo recently moved to Oakland in the late summer of 2017 after spending most of their formative adult years building and learning with the ongoing communities of liberation seekers in the midwest of the U.S. (namely in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Indianapolis). After attending the first BLMP convening in Oakland in September 2017, Jo immediately knew that their timely move to Oakland wasn’t a coincidence.
Jo comes to BLMP after years of social change work as a facilitator, social identities educator, community builder, youth advocate/supporter, healing justice practitioner, and restorative justice practitioner. Jo’s recent involvements include collective work with the Detroit Area Restorative Justice Center, Black Lives Matter (Detroit chapter), and Healing by Choice!. Within the work of BLMP, Jo is particularly interested in healing practices as a sustainability strategy, and outside of BLMP you’ll find Jo nerding out about a handful of their favorite things including: plant-based cooking/eating, the outdoors, yoga, how to love self and others better, natural skin & haircare, singing & music, fashion, dancing, horoscopes, napping & hermiting, selfies, and photogrids.
Mattie Horton is a transwoman of color from Bulawayo Zimbabwe, who is now based and living in Washington D.C. Mattie has experience working with trans and gender expansive youth, covering community outreach and confidence building within this population. One her many passions is volunteering her time to help build confident and resilient Trans and nonbinary individuals.
Audu Kadiri is a Community Organizer with ACT. Audu has over 15 years of experience working in community outreach, public health, and human rights. Audu previously worked as Head of Programs for the International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health in Abuja, Nigeria where he coordinated HIV prevention projects, documented human rights violations against gay men, and coordinated Nigeria’s first clinic serving this population. Audu sought asylum in the US in 2014, after Nigeria passed a bill criminalizing LGBT rights advocates. Since arriving in New York, Audu has continued his health advocacy work, volunteered for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs as a Yoruba interpreter and for the HIV/AIDS advocacy organization Housing Works, and organized with the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. Audu holds a BA in Banking and Finance and recently completed a diploma in International Humanitarian Assistance at Fordham University. He is fluent in Yoruba and Afemi.
Zakaria (Zack) Mohamed
Zakaria (Zack) Mohamed is BAJI’s Los Angeles Organizer and a Somali-born, Portland-bred, organizer, trainer, and movement strategist. At age five, Zack and his family fled their home country due to civil war, and arrived in the U.S. as refugees. Zack‘s commitment to social justice traces back to his family ties around organizing, advocacy and politics in Somalia. His maternal grandmother was a part of a group of women who sought to free Somalia from colonialism by Italy/Great Britain while working with the uprising movement.
Prior to BAJI, Zack served as the Leadership Development Coordinator at Unite Oregon. In this role Zack developed emerging immigrant and refugee leaders locally and statewide to learn the tools and ways of organizing, build solidarity under the umbrella term “immigrant,” and navigate the intersections of race, gender, class and sexual orientation. Zack’s organizing experience began as a student at Portland State University where, with the support of Western States Center, he and a Unite Oregon staff member developed an award-winning organizing, leadership development and advocacy initiative that engaged queer and trans immigrants and refugees in the Pacific Northwest. Zack received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Portland State University (PSU) in 2013. Zack‘s hobbies include photography, music and reading manga. In his spare time, he refines his photography skills and works to build and diversify his music collection.
Nolizwe is a first generation Queer Xhosa-American from Johannesburg, South Africa and California. A numbers geek, Nolizwe brings over a decade of experience interconnecting financial accountability, community engagement and social justice. They currently serve as Youth Health Alliance Program Manager at the University of San Francisco’s McCarthy Center. Prior to USF, Nolizwe served as the AmeriCorps Financial Grant Coordinator for YouthBuild USA and cultivated the next generation of Boston’s LGBTQ leaders as Mentorship Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC). Additionally, they served on the Board of Directors of multiple organizations including New Leaders Council, Brookview House, and BUTCH Voices. Nolizwe received their B.A. at Clark University, studying Economics and Business Management, and has a Masters of Arts in Urban Affairs from the University of San Francisco. When they’re not basking in Black Excellence, you can find them jiving to the sounds of Afro-house or recharging with the power rangers.
Alan Pelaez Lopez
Alan Pelaez Lopez is a queer Black writer from the Coastal-Zapotec nation of Oaxaca, México. They have been actively organizing with the undocumented movement since 2010. They have organized with the Student Immigrant Movement, the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, the UndocuBlack Network, and the Black LGBTQIA+ Immigrant Project.
Alan organizes at the intersections of Black liberation, Indigenous resistance, LGBTQIA+ justice, and art. They have been identified as one of “10 Poets for the Revolution” by Best American Poetry and one of “10 Up-and-Coming Latinx Poets You Need To Know” by Remezcla magazine.
Their essays, poetry and flash non-fiction has been published in Everyday Feminism, Fusion Magazine, The Feminist Wire, Black Girl Dangerous, and more. They have been quoted and/or featured in NPR, Huffington Post Latino Voices, Colorlines Magazine, Mic Identities, We Are MiTú, Bustle, Poetry Foundation and more.
Femi Shittu is a black queer woman troublemaker from the rural south. Raised in Yanceyville North Carolina, she ventured off to Greensboro for college and has recently re-located to Durham, NC to work with Ignite NC. She plans to go to grad school for Social Work and eventually open up a wellness center with her community. She is committed to spreading LGBTQ history and claiming the queer legacy in the struggle for liberation. A writer always and a DJ by night. An extrovert who enjoys ice cold beer, smoking lavender, and traveling across the U.S. consistently. Femi is absolutely and completely in love with the south.