Prizm News / October 1, 2018 / By Bridget Sarpong
Luster Singleton is the outreach coordinator for Mozaic, and Mikayla Caleb Goins-Robinson is the engagement specialist. (Photo for Prizm by Emma Parker)

 

Summit Street space includes a kitchen, lounge, computer stations, performance stage, a gender-validating clothes closet and a library.

 

By Bridget Sarpong

There are 24 hours in a day. There are 60 minutes in an hour. And there are 60 seconds in a minute. All of that equates to 864,000 seconds per day.

- Advertisement -

 

And for each one of the seconds, there are transgender African Americans who are on guard in public spaces, braced for assaults with words, fists or worse.

Cory Frederick

There are places where transgender African Americans are turned away, which is legal in Ohio if it’s gender identity and not race that fuels the discrimination. Walking down the street, sitting in a Starbucks, riding on a COTA bus are full of anxious moments. There’s worry at the emotional, social and physical levels for 864,000 seconds every day.

There’s now a truly safe place in Columbus.

Mozaic is a federally funded program created in 2017 for transgender, genderqueer, gender nonconforming and nonbinary African Americans. The mission of the program, ultimately, is to reduce and eliminate HIV infections among trans people of color in their teens and 20s.

On Friday, Oct. 12, Mozaic will celebrate its first physical location in Columbus’ University District, which allows the program to host not just its HIV education, testing and prevention efforts, but also to add movie nights, mentoring, drag, dancing and, according to its website, “just making grilled cheese.”

The building includes a kitchen, lounge, computer stations, performance stage, a gender-validating clothes closet and a library.

Mozaic’s slogan is “Created for Us. Run by Us. To Take Care of Us.” The program has a staff of six, four of whom identify as transgender people of color. Program Manager Corey Frederick has great passion for the Mozaic mission and envisions great things resulting from it.

“My professional background is in LGBTQ, specifically the ‘T,’” he says. “I am transgender myself, and I’m a person of color, and my professional background is really advocating for trans rights. … These duties line up with my personal passion and professional pursuits. I feel like every day I get to make a difference in the community.”

Bridget Sarpong is a student at Ohio State University and a resident of Columbus. She was a summer intern with Prizm. You can follow her on Twitter @bridgebridge_.

FIND OUT MORE

You can follow Mozaic on Facebook or visit the program’s website at mozaicohio.org. Mozaic’s Instagram is @mozaicohio.

•Mozaic’s space at 2228 Summit St. In Columbus (43201) has been open since August, but the Oct. 12 event is more than a ceremonial grand opening. The day begins at 8 a.m. with a blessing of the space. Events include yoga and mindfulness, the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira, gender workshops, food, DJs and more!

•You can read the entire 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey at ustranssurvey.org.