1.For people who don’t already know you, please share a little about yourself, your work, and/or your activism.
What do you get when you mix fierce make-up, stunning style, and a passion for social justice? You get Ms. Samantha Jo! Who has quickly become a force to be reckoned with as a dedicated and passionate advocate and activist for trans* issues. This sassy, fireball personality has worked tirelessly in the Trans* Movement nationally is based out of Philadelphia PA and works with Philadelphia Trans* March, Trans Wellness Project, Creating Change and Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference she has become a role model, leader, big sister, and support system to many people who struggle with intersecting life issues. “Sami Jo” as she is so affectionately called by many friends and family members, continues to tackle issues of self-esteem, self-worth, healthy living, and positive imaging, which has gracefully allowed her to advance her career, Samantha has never left her first love of beautification through make-up artistry where she deliver, enlightening moments of self-worth and empowerment for almost every face she enhances In 2014, she became the Logistical Conference Coordinator for The Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference and fearlessly led the three day event into its 13th, 14th and now 15th year of success. Samantha plans to continue revitalizing the conference to reflect the current needs of trans* communities worldwide which has been her personal mission, she will be adding to her list of activities becoming a first time author in April 2016 with her testimonial journal called “Sami Jo Shattered Perfect” which she hopes will help inspire the stories of hardship into major outcomes of success for every reader. Joining the leadership team of TWOCC (Trans Women of Color Collective) in 2015, Samantha is nationally working to strengthen the bridge of kinship in her community. As she was recognized by her peers on the Trans100 list in 2015, along with LGBT Community Leaders Award, Community Service Award and many other accolades for the unapologetic work she does for the trans kin folks she celebrates and loves. Her goal is to empower all people. What better way to do that but by becoming the co-owner and founder of Hope After 20 Publications which publishes, manages, and promotes LGBTQI Authors of Color? Authors from all ages, and walks of life can experience with an atmosphere where their creativity can be expressed, supported and highlighted on a platform of victory with consultation and managing of the writers’ brand. This will help infuse our lived experiences and recollections online and in bookstores across the nation that will exemplify our many experiences and versions as people of color. .
2. Many things shape who we are. What is one person or event or experience that has empowered you?
I look at every experience as a learning opportunity in hopes the lesson teaches me something I can apply and reuse in a much more useful way. As far as what empowers me? I am empowered by all the people I get to meet and share space with in meetings, conferences, walking up or down the street or via social media everyone is unique and divine in some way or another even the people who don’t necessarily like me and my Alpha like personality. We are all “dope”.
3. What is a piece of Black Trans History that you want to make sure others know about and don’t forget? (person, event, cultural development, trend, ___?)
I want us to all know that we are all POC before anything else, and in being POC we face discrimination, harassment, segregation and oppression in every area of our life. Like Maya Angelou says “Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the ‘Principle of Reverse’”, we need to stop implementing the tacks used on our ancestors along with the bad mouthing, sabotaging , ruining and abusing trans kin folk who need to be celebrated, let’s work together and began to implement love into our professional, personal, and social climbs to fame or liberation for freedom.
How to connect and learn more about Samantha Jo-Dato:
Hope After 20 Publications co –owner and founder
Philadelphia Trans Health Conference Logistical Coordinator
See more black trans leaders questions/answers!
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