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It’s Giving | Samuel Mendoza | Be the Change Boston 2022

By Jewish Arts Collaborative

Published Jan 30, 2023

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Collection

This Curation is part of Be the Change.

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It's Giving

Artist Statement:

The ongoing violence against and the marginalization of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Arab, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Jewish transgender people in America is a call to action for all of us to demand immediate aid and legislation that protects the most disenfranchised and at risk in our communities. As anti-trans bills roll out across the nation, we must secure the basic needs of all members of our community while crying out for justice. 

Reimagining the material nature of tzedakah boxes, viewers will have the opportunity to support trans mutual aid initiatives by way of a fashioned sculpture. By scanning the QR codes that make up the pattern of this project, viewers can direct funds to provide support for food, safe housing, mental health, and healthcare needs of the most at-risk trans people in our communities.

 

This is a call for safety.

This is a call for justice.

Tzedek, tzedek tirdof / צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף

Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue.

 

Samuel Mendoza (he/el) is a Mexican-American fashion designer and an educator at the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), the only public visual and performing arts high school in Boston. He was instrumental in the establishment and design of the Fashion Technology program, and currently serves as the chair of the Visual Arts and Design department.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Mendoza started his eponymous clothing brand of one-of-a-kind, handmade women’s evening wear in 2005. Along with numerous shows in Boston Fashion Week and Providence Style Week, his work has been featured in local and national press, with clients around the country. Since scaling down his fashion business to focus on teaching, he has led multiple school-based educational initiatives focused on equity.

Mendoza is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, and is a candidate for a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has served as co-chair of the Boston Ballet Young Partners and is currently a board member of Temple Beth Zion and Jewish Arts Collaborative. Mendoza and his husband live in Jamaica Plain.

Be the Change Walking Tour Recording: Samuel Mendoza

(3 min) Listen to Samuel Mendoza describe his piece for the Be the Change Walking Tour.

Discussion: Transgender Equality for BIPOC Youth and Domestic Violence

(44 min) An online discussion featuring 2 of the 6 Boston-based Be the Change artists, Samuel Mendoza and Nayana LaFond, in conversation with leading experts Rabbi Claudia Kreiman, Idit Klein, and Elizabeth Schön Vainer.

 

Rabbi Claudia Kreiman, Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, MA, is a tireless advocate for women’s issues as well as for the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Idit Klein, President and CEO of Keshet, works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and our families in Jewish life. Keshet equips Jewish organizations with the skills and knowledge to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, create spaces in which all queer Jewish youth feel seen and valued, and advance LGBTQ rights nationwide.

 

Elizabeth Schön Vainer, Program Director of Journey to Safety, the JF&CS response to domestic abuse, works to prevent domestic abuse in the Jewish community while helping those who have been abused find their way to safety, regardless of their background or beliefs.

 

If you are in need of assistance, please reach out to Journey to Safety:

(781) 647-5327 x1213

jts@jfcsboston.org

 

SafeLink (24/7 Statewide Hotline)

(877) 785-2020

JLive: Fashion Designer Sam Mendoza

(23 min) Sam Mendoza joins JArts Executive Director Laura Mandel to discuss his work, social justice, and coming to Judaism.

 

About JLive: 

JLive, an ongoing project from the Jewish Arts Collaborative, is a series of virtual cultural experiences that bring us together to explore and celebrate the diverse world of Jewish art, culture, and creative expression. The professionals featured in the series span a wide range of creative mediums, from animation to klezmer to papercutting, all with connections to the Greater Boston Area. 

It's Giving (close up 1)

Above: A close up of the chicken wire top-half of Samuel Mendoza’s “It’s Giving”.

It's Giving (close up 2)

Above: A close up of the QR codes printed on the flowing fabric on “It’s Giving”.

 

Learn more about Be the Change and check out other work from Be the Change Boston 2022:

Our Family Tree – Jason Talbot

Healing Garden – Ngoc-Tran Vu

Vital Organs – Carolyn Lewenberg

Prisoner a-7713 – Caron Tabb

Zoongide’e – Nayana LaFond

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JArts’ mission is to curate, celebrate, and build community around the diverse world of Jewish arts, culture, and creative expression. Our vision is of a more connected, engaged, and tolerant world inspired by Jewish arts and culture. Learn more at jartsboston.org.

Reflections

It can be hard to understand what it means to be transgender. We can all agree that transgender people should be treated with dignity and respect, just like everyone else.

Transgender equity impacts everyone. How have they impacted you and those in your community?

All people should be treated fairly and equally. Nobody should have to live in fear of discrimination simply because of who they are. Yet in 29 states, transgender people, and all LGBTQ people, face the threat of discrimination in housing and public places (like restaurants and shops) simply because of who they are.

What are the best ways to debunk anti-transgender messages?

To date, 21 states have laws in place to protect transgender people from discrimination in public spaces—like restaurants, shops, and hotels.

How can you take action to help ensure that protections are passed at the federal level to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans are protected from discrimination in all areas of life?

Over 1.6 million adults (ages 18 and older) and youth (ages 13 to 17) identify as transgender in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of young people who identify as transgender has nearly doubled in recent years.

Sadly, 2022 has already seen at least 25 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say “at least” because too often these stories go unreported — or misreported. In previous years, the majority of these people were Black and Latinx transgender women.

Every time you learn something about people who are marginalized by society, you can take action to uplift these communities with empathetic understanding. What are you doing to uplift these communities?

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