Louis Mitchell

Louis Mitchell

Reverend, Activist

he/him

Spring 2022

Rev. Louis J. Mitchell is an "intentional man". An activist for over three decades, his focus is the fight for health and healing, self-determination and respect,  focusing on mental wellness, recovery, and disability access.He believes in the restorative power of truth telling in the voices of those whose stories are often told about them rather than with them. Profiled in the documentaries:

Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen (2008, Zeigler & Lora)

Gender Journeys: More than a Pronoun (2016, Luke Allen)

More than T (2017, Silas Howard)

Awards:

2017 International Jose Julio Sarria Civil Rights Award from the Imperial Court of Western Massachusetts

2015 Claire Skiffington Vanguard Award from the Transgender Law Center for his long-time advocacy for the disenfranchised

2011 Haystack Award from the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC for work in Social Justice and Social Ministry

Received the President’s Award from the Wells College students for his 2015 Residency on Intentional Inclusion and Building Diversity

Honored by Black Trans Advocacy Conference with a Foundation Award in 2013. The "Louis Mitchell Foundation Award for Empowerment" acknowledges those who increase spiritual, political, or social strength through service, personal encouragement, and availability to the Black Trans Community.

Tell us: what excites you about your work right now?

I remain excited by the possibilities that unfold when someone presses through their immediate challenges. My work is tender and patient work. My excitement may be delayed. But when it comes, it's awesome!

What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?

The richness, vibrance and abundance that lives in trans communities of color defies description! The deep creativity and resilience is awe-inspiring. It is an honor to support my kindred in whatever ways I can.

Who do you dedicate your work to?

My work is dedicated to the many unknown and unnamed who have stood in the gaps and creases to support others - often without resources or degrees. Their abilities to move in the shadows came long before our ability to move in the light.

Who inspires you, who are you learning from, what books are you reading? We are really excited to learn this about you!

I'm such a book fiend! Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, Bishop Yvette Flunder and other progressive theologians excite me and confirm that I'm not alone on this path. Currently reading, "Murdered Souls, Resurrected Lives" by Dr. Irie Lynne Session and "Red Lip Theology" by Candice Marie Benbow.

How can people reading this support the work you are doing?

Please consider giving to Transfaith (www.transfaith.info). Our work supports so many other smaller organizations. Because we are not a direct-service site, funding is hard to secure. Thanks in advance!

What something you didn’t know, that now you understand differently with wellness?

Life isn't binary - one can be sad and joyful, uncertain but not stuck. One can be without money and very rich in spirit. I've also made a decision to reframe my perspective. I used to feel that if one bad thing happened, it was a bad day. Now if one good thing happens then it's a good day!

What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?

I can't say that I've found balance, yet. But my time of reading, journaling, reaching out daily to my "anchors" and remembering to laugh go a long way to keeping my spirits from sagging and my body from feeling the heavy drain of being a giver.

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