In celebration of the 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth, Spirit McIntyre will moderate a panel discussion with Mariah Moore, Milan Nicole Sherry, and Syrita Steib about everything from ‘Is the Movement For Black Lives representing you?’ to ‘What will be your legacy?’ Hosted by the Newcomb Art Museum, the conversation will explore the context of social justice in New Orleans, artistic expression in protest movements, and the intersectionality of the Movement for Black Lives.
About the panelists and moderator:
Spirit McIntyre (spirit/they/them/theirs) is a Cellist, Vocalist, Lyricist, Wellness Advocate, Sound Healer, Reiki Practitioner, and Compassionate Facilitator — promoting empowerment and healing by any medium necessary. Spirit believes in the power of breath, creating healing and reciprocitous relationships, honoring lovability, being seen/seeing, and growing compassionately through tight places to find authentic connection. As a Gender-Non-Conforming Transgender person they use their identity and community building practices to intentionally uplift TGNCNBI2-S (Trans, Gender-Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, Intersex, Two-Spirit) Black, Indigenous, and POC communities. Spirit’s reputation for honesty, compassion, and accountability allows for deeply transformative healing to be a through line in all of their performance and community building work. Healing affirmations, meticulous storytelling, and metaphor saturate their lyrics. They use their voice and cello to seamlessly blend: Blues, Soul, Folk, Classical, Reggae and Middle Eastern sounds into an unforgettable musical landscape. Since the transitioning of their father, Paris McIntyre on January 16, 2017, Spirit has been exploring the divinity of grief.
Mariah Moore (she/her/hers) is a National Organizer at Transgender Law Center. Her work includes fighting to ensure equity, equality and safety for the transgender community, especially Black transgender women. Mariah has worked tirelessly in New Orleans to bring awareness to communities that have been adversely affected by laws and policies that are discriminatory. Mariah serves on the LGBTQ Task Force which was created by New Orleans Mayor, LaToya Cantrell. She also works with the CANS Cant Stand campaign, which is a campaign that was created to bring awareness to and hopefully abolish the crimes against nature law that has historically targeted LGBTQ people of color, specifically Black transgender women. Mariah was also selected as a Victory Empowerment Fellow, which identifies LGBTQ community members who wish to run for office and provides campaign training.
Milan Nicole Sherry (she/her/hers) is a New Orleans native and founding member of BreakOUT!, where she first became a youth organizer. In direct response to killings of Black transgender women, Sherry created the #BlackTransLivesMatter campaign and organized the first New Orleans Trans March, led by transgender and gender-nonconforming youths of color, and co-founded NOLA Trans March of Resilience. Sherry has also helped the Department of Justice reduce racial and gender profiling by the Crescent City’s police and has contributed to a Human Rights Watch report linking discriminatory policing to HIV transmission. Recipient of the 2013 NOLA Unity Award and the 2015 Rising Star Award, presented by EQLA Quality Louisiana, Sherry has been involved with the American Bar Association’s Opening Doors Project and featured on PBS’ In the Life and in Philadelphia Magazine. She is a national board member of Positively Trans and a co-coordinator/outreach specialist at the Trans Equity Project.
Syrita Steib (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Operation Restoration, a non-profit organization based in New Orleans that supports women and girls impacted by incarceration to recognize their full potential, restore their lives, and discover new possibilities. Operation Restoration is committed to providing currently and formerly incarcerated women with the resources necessary to sustainably transition home through higher education, employment training, job placement, case management, and advocacy. In 2017, Syrita wrote and successfully passed Louisiana Act 276 which prohibits public post-secondary institutions in Louisiana from asking questions relating to criminal history for purposes of admissions, making Louisiana the first state to pass this type of legislation. In 2018, she was a co-chair for the healthy families committee for New Orleans Mayor Cantrell’s transition team. Syrita was also a panelist on the Empowerment stage at Essence Festival in 2018 and 2019. Syrita is also a policy consultant for Cut50’s Dignity for Incarcerated Women campaign and worked tirelessly on the passage of the First Step Act. She was appointed by the Governor to the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment oversight council and is the Vice-chair for the Louisiana Task Force on Women’s Incarceration. She also helped create and was featured in the Newcomb Art Museum’s Per(Sister) exhibit which shared the stories of currently and formerly incarcerated women.