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Tania Maree Giordani founded NourishNYC, an organization that began with the goal of providing support to Black Lives Matter protests, and has grown to provide broader grassroots services to her community year-round. Tonight, she shares her Brief But Spectacular take on building a community based on love.
Tania Maree Giordani founded NourishNYC, an organization that began with the goal of providing support to Black Lives Matter protesters, and has grown to provide broader grassroots services to her community year-round.
Tonight, she shares her Brief But Spectacular take on building a community based on love.
Tania Maree Giordani, Founder, NourishNYC:
I have been protesting, like, physically, since I was a young child with my mom. It's really funny. I don't call myself an activist because this is just a way of life.
NourishNYC, in short, is a community organization that is Black-led, Black-centered, and we practice a holistic approach to community care.
I started NourishNYC on May 29, 2020, in my best friend's bedroom. That was the evening after the very first protest in the — in this wave of protesting of Black Lives Matter protesting, after George Floyd was killed.
People were hungry. People were getting hurt, scraping themselves. But nobody had PPE. Nobody had first aid. Nobody had water bottles to share. When I got home that evening, I looked for organizations to donate money to who were providing PPE, snacks, and water to protesters, but I couldn't find any.
And that's how I started NourishNYC. I just started to post on my Twitter and my personal Instagram. And then it grew really, really fast. I went from having like 1,000 followers to almost 10,000. Within like three days, I had like $80,000 in my accounts, and I knew it wasn't going to stop there.
And I looked at it and I said, I have an opportunity to really do something with this money. That has been an opportunity to provide over 40,000 meals, to provide over 10,000 safety kits to protesters. It's been an opportunity to connect Black trans people with therapy. It's been an opportunity to keep people housed. It's been an opportunity to keep people fed, to get people clothed, to help Hurricane Ida victims, to help people who are just struggling to make a friend.
It's been an opportunity to make a difference in so many people's lives. And even if it's one person, to me, that's success. And so when I saw my bank account just growing and growing and growing, I was like, no, people like me, we deserve the opportunity to call the shots, instead of them always being called for us.
In 2019, I was sexually assaulted. And this is kind of like where the idea for having these spaces that take our marginalization and our traumas in mind, but that center joy, came from. All I wanted was a space to go that understood what I was experiencing with people who were trauma-informed, to go be happy.
I just wanted to go and, like, create around other people who were going through the same thing that I was navigating. And it just doesn't exist. And so Nourish is my opportunity to create that space.
When you don't have your basic needs met, you can't show up for yourself in the way that you want to. And I just don't think that that's a way to live. I don't think that's the way that anyone should have to live.
I deserve the opportunity. And people who are like me who have experiences like me deserve the opportunity to control our stories. We deserve to feel joy uninhibited. We deserve to smile uninhibited. We deserve to dance. We deserve to eat. We deserve to feast together, happily.
My name is Tania Maree Giordani, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on living in a world based on love.
Such a powerful story.
And you can watch all our Brief But Spectacular episodes at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.
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