Garden of Peace Project is headquartered from Pittsburgh, PA and was founded in 2012 by Michael David Battle, MPA to center black trans & queer youth, elevate and empower the narratives and lived experiences of black youth and their caretakers, and guide revolutionary spaces of healing and truth through art, education, and mentorship. Today, we are still the only federally-recognized tax-exempt nonprofit arts organization in the country serving and led by black trans and queer folks.
We design our work to heal the wounds of systemic and structural violence and oppression. We work to dismantle shame and isolation. We facilitate spaces to acknowledge and undo the wounding of individual, collective, and ancestral trauma. We unapologetically celebrate our lives and our gifts. We remember and reveal our magic. We have a specific focus on young people, mothers, and caretakers, as we recognize there is no movement for justice without the people who take care of the future.
Since our inception, we have committed to shifting the conversation to center and focus healing and affirming our lives -- particularly folks at the intersections of multiple identities and layers of oppression. Through our work, we are shifting the focus of dialogue to include those who are the most invisible and vulnerable for violence, poverty, and isolation. We are bridging the gap between celebration and the need for continued advocacy for and by marginalized people with innovative programming that includes both. We are healing and amplifying voices and stories -- human beings are not a monolith. We build and galvanize communities to combat the atomization of our families that have been largely affected by displacement, erasure, and terror.
We accomplish this through initiatives within our organization and collaborations with other similarly focused organizations, like Tabernacle of Immaculate Perception; Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; joINT Literary Magazine; Assemble Pittsburgh; University of Pittsburgh; Andy Warhol Museum; Conflict Kitchen; Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund; and, Pitt Law Center.
GARDEN OF PEACE, INC.
We are currently revamping our website. Until our website has been updated, the QTPOC Resource Guide will be unavailable.
Though we are doing some major updates on the website, we are accepting applications for the #TransVoices: Summer 21 (deadline, June 30) and continuing our powerful programs and events including:
The Healing Artist Residency application is live & open to Black healers of any modality or tradition.
For more information or to apply, click here.
Applications due May 26, 2021
Notification of residency status: June 28
Residency dates: August 2 - September 20, 2021
Garden of Peace Inc. invites Black trans men and trans masculine folx to apply. We will accept 5 individuals into the cohort.
We are the survivors...
of the deadliest year on record for trans folks in the United States;
of a global pandemic that has killed more than half-million people in the US alone;
of the deadliest shooting in recorded history in the United States;
and, of layers of external and internal oppression and violence.
The Universe has kept you and the ancestors are guiding us all. Our liberation is deeply connected to our survival and the ways that we survive.
Today, in this moment, we consciously choose to honor our resilience and our power. We have come together in celebration of the divine and the brilliance of our community.
The revolution is to survive and thrive in a system that doesn’t want you to exist.
The revolution is to name your dreams and visions in a culture that denies your humanity.
And, to be brave enough to combat isolation and shame to bring speak your dreams and visions, first to your Self and then to others, is an act of courage.
Today, we choose to have these courageous conversations. Today, we choose to sit in our vulnerabilities as others bear witness to our lives and lived experiences. We will challenge ideas around resistance and art and who has access to create, claim, and reclaim spaces.
We have manifested this holy and sacred space for this fellowship. We will share and celebrate the things that we have been told to hate about ourselves. We will collectively celebrate our stories, our bodies, and our survival. Together, we will celebrate the fact that we are the survivors.. all of us.
On stage, we will share the things that keep us alive.. things we have often been made to feel ashamed to say out loud. We will share the things that make us feel messy and unworthy. We will share the things that we do (or wish to do) to honor ourselves in those moments. We will share the things that we do as resistance. We will share the vision that we have of a world for us by us.
Afro Futures Youth Camp is an out-of-school camp designed to provide safe spaces for children to intentionally meditate, create, learn, and play. The Afro Futures Day Camp is a daytime and overnight camp program where children respond to and memorialize their environment and experiences and reclaim space through creating public art and community engagement.
Want to support or collaborate?
Contact Michael David Battle, MPA
The Healing Justice Advocacy Project centers healing, justice, and advocacy. We are led by individuals who sit at the intersections of identities, experiences, and beliefs. We are a community of black and native parents, women, queer and trans healers, artists, and young people committed to revolutionary changes for our Selves and each other. Our lives are proof that we are product of resistance and faith. We know that black and brown people are survivors. Our work centers survivors dispelling the illusions and speaking the truth.
The transformative artist residencies
are designed for artist healers who use healing practices to articulate liberatory strategies, artist
healers who are intimately aware of the relationship between the personal, the communal, and the
global. We look for artist healers who understand systems of oppression yet work with the infinite
possibilities of being and creation that have sustained oppressed people everywhere.
We welcome local, national, and international artists to apply to for residencies with us four times a year.
September, Healing Artist Residency
November: Trans Voices Artist Residency
Trans siblings, we are our greatest accomplishment. Each day that we wake up is a call for celebration! We are resilient and resourceful. We have been called to lead our movements.
Join us on the shores of Puerto Rico. The weekend will be dedicated to cultivating spaces of healing vulnerability and action. We will workshop techniques, tools, and resources to take revolutionary steps of transformation.
Together we will honor the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson and we celebrate her 73rd birthday, connect with the Atlantic Ocean, and build a sacred space for 25 black trans folks from around the World.
New year, new you is a 5-day retreat dedicated to building radically intimate spaces of healing. We build spaces to center deep transformation. We invite 25 people to invest in the space to share, learn, and develop new tools for healing. We kick off the beginning of the new year with a fierce celebration. We honor the space to renew, rejuvenate, and rejoice!
New year, new you exist as sacred spaces of healing, affirmation, and solidarity through action. The collective power of our community lies in our ability to overcome. Together we create revolutionary spaces of healing and truth through art, mentorship, and resistance. We center healing the wounds of violence and oppression. We dismantle shame and isolation.
Trans Voices is a four-day revival and celebration of black trans folks. We pray and have church. We sing. We laugh. We eat (&& we eat good)! We meditate. We have communion and fellowship. We come together to celebrate the brilliance of our community. We speak our joys and our sorrow.
Here we have courageous conversations. We choose to sit in our vulnerabilities as we act as witness. We challenge ideas around resistance and art and who has access to create, claim, and reclaim spaces.
We declare this a holy and sacred space to fellowship, share, and celebrate the things that we have been told to hate about ourselves. We collectively celebrate our stories, our bodies, and our survival. We celebrate the fact that we are the survivors.. all of us.