Closing Ceremony

Closing Ceremony – 4:20pm to 5:00pm – Chapel Auditorium

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Trans Voices: Open Letters
Performances by: Aria Lynn Copeland, Ava Grace, Michael David Battle, & Kai Hunter
Stage Direction: JD Wilson

Over the past year, at Garden of Peace Project, we have been motivated by an organic drive to dismantle systems of oppression and violence. As we have explored different ways of combating systemic and structural violence, our conversations after protests, conferences, and meetings-whether in hotel rooms, someone’s living room, or outdoors-were about how tired we have been; the lack of support that leaves us feeling isolated and alone; and, our individual and shared pain and trauma. Having the space to talk about trauma is healing and an act of resistance.


Together, we have resisted by fostering spaces of healing that have shifted the dialogue to the ways that white supremacy manifests as internal suffering — suffering that many go through in silence and shame. Shame about who we are (or aren’t) and what we do (or don’t do). We have resisted by beginning to ask and answer the question: what could the world be if we all shifted the focus to building spaces of healing and restoration for us? We have resisted by creating spaces where we can speak about our trauma, if only with ourselves. We have resisted by choosing to love. We have resisted by creating and expressing. And now, we want to share what have learned.

On stage, we will share our open letters to the things we have often been made to feel ashamed to say out loud. We will share the things that make us feel messy and unworthy. We will share the things that we do (or wish to do) to honor ourselves in those moments. We will share the things that we do as resistance. We will share the vision that we have of a world for us by us. And, as a community, we will stand in solidarity, compassion, and love. We will hold onto ourselves and each other. As a whole, we will celebrate and honor our lives.. the lives of each and every trans person of color who lost their lives to violence in 2015.. the lives of each and every trans person of color who woke up this morning.. the lives of each of us who dares to speak. At Trans Voices: Open Letters, we will sing, shout, dance, laugh, cry, holler, and praise.


Steel City Bhangra

Bhangra is a Punjabi folk dance that exhibits high energy and grace. Originally a celebratory tradition during harvest seasons, Bhangra has now become an entertaining and popular dance in the western world.  Steel City Bhangra not only strives for excellence in Bhangra, but also in spreading joy and happiness to the Pittsburgh community. Officially a University of Pittsburgh organization, we hope to bring this love and joy to your hearts as you watch us showcase our hard work and passion!