What is The Okra Project?
The Okra Project is a partnership facilitated by Ianne Fields Stewart funded by Black Trans Solidarity Fund and a group of Black Trans chefs that aims to bring home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals to Black Trans People in New York City.
During the Middle Passage, our African ancestors snuck okra onto captive ships to sustain themselves and plant in the new world. Black Diasporic cooking traditions often use the okra plant for its versatility and it is often associated with health, prosperity, and community.
In this spirit, The Okra Project hopes to extend free, delicious, and nutritious meals to Black Trans people experiencing food insecurity.
How Does it Work?
It’s actually very simple! Based on individual donations, The Okra Project pays Black Trans chefs to go into the homes of Black Trans people to cook them a healthy and home-cooked meal at absolutely no cost to our Black TGNC siblings. For those Black Trans folks currently experiencing homeless or whose homes cannot support our chef’s cooking, The Okra Project has partnered with institutions like Osborne Association and other community spaces to deliver foods.
One Session Costs The Okra Project $90
(Including Chef Pay & Groceries)
To Make That Possible:
18 people could donate $5
9 people could donate $10
6 people could donate $15
3 people could donate $30
1 super generous human could donate $90
Who Are We?
IANNE FIELDS STEWART (they/she)
Ianne is a Black queer nonbinary transfeminine New York-based storyteller working at the intersection of theatre and activism. As a performer, Ianne has worked consistently in productions at NYC venues such as: Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, La Mama, and many more. Ianne can also be seen on Buzzfeed LGBT, GLAAD, Inside Edition, the You Had Me at Black podcast, the #Safewordsociety podcast, Podcast of Color, the Is it Transphobic Podcast, and serves as the cohost of the Topics Include Podcast. In the summer of 2017, Ianne was selected out of over 500 applicants to be one of the 15 US Fellows for Humanity in Action's 2017 John Lewis Fellowship. During this fellowship, Ianne studied and organized with contemporary and historic civil rights leaders in Atlanta, GA exploring the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and its roots in present day social justice movements. Since then, Ianne has developed a theatrical consulting and teaching artist practice which spans from talkback facilitation to teaching artistry to community outreach and organizing. Spaces that have benefited from Ianne’s practice include: The Alliance of Resident Theatres, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Heartbeat Opera, Music Theatre Factory, NYC charter schools, and the Rose M. Singer Center on Riker's Island.
NYLA SAMPSON (she/her)
(Financial Advisor (BTSF), Co-Facilitor)
Nyla is a New York-based artist and community organizer who created the Black Trans Solidarity Fund (BTSF) , a reparations group that shifts economic resources into the hands of Black Trans people. Nyla is also a Black, Queer, theatre artist, writer, singer, and community organizer advocating race/gender/food justice. She is an organizer with BYP100, where she serves as the co-Chair of Social Affairs. She is also the Founding Artistic Director of The Black Box Project, a theatre company dedicated to radical and innovative new works by Black playwrights.
ISA SANCHEZ (they/she)
Isa is a queer GNC abolistionist activist and fashion designer who focuses most of their work on TQGnCIA+ justice, black and brown liberation, anti-gentrification, anti-borders, and disaster relief efforts. They are a core member of BashBack, and collaborates to support many other BLM and abolitionist collectives nationwide and abroad.
Community Shout Out
We wanted to give a special shout out to KC Cornish who helped us get our community development work off the ground! We are so sad to lose them to other projects but they are always a part of The Okra Project Fam!
KC is an AfroPinx NonBinary Trans community organizer, whose work highlights strong engagement in uplifting the unsung voices, lived experiences and narratives of marginalized communities. As a Black and Filipinx Queer kid raised by their Filipina mother and grandparents, KC's core and guiding principle resides at the intersectionality of race, gender and immigration.
Follow Them on Insta @pibble_kc
We also wanted to shout out Marcuz James who helped us launch our residency in Philadelphia and assisted us with social media.
Chef Marcú is what we’d like to call a Jack of all trades, although his inspiration comes from his mothers african traditions. He brings us an array of Soul food , Seafood, and good ole’ american faves with a Twist! Marcuz studies theatre and is currently Employed as a Seasonal professional actor at Terror Behind The Walls: Eastern State Penitentiary. America’s #1 Haunted House! When he’s not cooking or scaring the socks off people for fun , you can catch him singing, directing ,and walking his precious puppy Bea!