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Raquel Willis: The Risk it Takes to Bloom, On Life and Liberation

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Raquel Willis is an award-winning activist, author, and media strategist dedicated to Black transgender liberation. She has held groundbreaking posts, including director of communications for Ms. Foundation for Women, executive editor of Out magazine, and national organizer for Transgender Law Center. She co-founded Transgender Week of Visibility and Action with civil rights attorney Chase Strangio and currently serves as an executive producer for iHeartMedia's Outspoken, the president of the Solutions Not Punishments Collaborative’s executive board, and is a WNBA Social Justice Council member.

Her debut memoir, The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation, will be released in November 2023 via St. Martin’s Press.

She published the GLAAD Media Award-winning “Trans Obituaries Project,” and in 2022, she executive-produced and hosted “The Trans Youth Town Hall” with Logo. The work was nominated for the GLAAD Awards and won Gold distinction in the Shorty Awards. Her writing has been published in Black Futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham, Bulgari Magnifica: The Power Women Hold edited by Tina Leung, The Echoing Ida Collection edited by Kemi Alabi, Cynthia R. Greenlee, and Janna A. Zinzi, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha Blain. She has also written for Essence, Bitch, VICE, Buzzfeed, The Cut, and Vogue.

Raquel is a thought leader on gender, race, and intersectionality. She’s experienced in online publications, organizing marginalized communities for social change, non-profit media strategy, and public speaking while using digital activism as a major tool of resistance and liberation.

Joining us as host - 19 year-old Ve’ondre Mitchell has been one of the most prominent Trans voices on TikTok for years. Her story captivates and uplifts a social audience of over 8 million fans - through a mix of lifestyle, fashion, and beauty content. Recently, Ve’ondre was featured on the remix of Aliyah’s Interlude’s viral track “It Girl” as she prepares to release her own music in 2024. Ve’ondre has worked with notable partners such as Dove, Urban Decay, Instagram, and Tinder.

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