Closing Keynote: MAJOR! and Miss Major

Closing Keynote Event
Saturday, May 13, 2017
U.S. Bank Conference Theater, Ohio Union, 1739 N. High Street, Columbus

2:15 - 4:00       MAJOR! film screening (with English subtitles)
4:15 – 5:30      Conversation with Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, joined by Ohio activists for Black trans women’s liberation Elle Hearns and Wriply Bennet

QPPL2017 Screening Poster MAJOR! chronicles the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a 75 year old Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. Miss Major is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. She is simply “Mama” to many in her community. Her personal story and activism for transgender civil rights intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today.

Miss Major

At the center of her activism is her fierce advocacy for her girls, trans women of color who have survived police brutality and incarceration in men’s jails and prisons. MAJOR! was produced by Annalise Ophelian and StormMiguel Florez in collaboration with Miss Major, the film’s participants, and a transPOC Community Advisory Board to ensure that these stories, which are so often marginalized, exoticized, or played for tragic drama, retain the agency and humanity of those who tell them. In 2016, MAJOR! was shown at over 60 film festivals around the world and garnered 19 awards for best documentary. For more information, visit:


Elle Hearns

Elle Hearns was born and raised in Columbus,Ohio. However, she currently lives in Washington DC. It is safe to say that she has always been a community organizer by nature. She is most noted for her service as Lead Organizer of the first Movement for Black Lives Convening held in Cleveland,Ohio. She would go on to serve as a Principal Consultant on The Movement For Black Lives Policy Platform. Elle is a founding member of the BlackLivesMatter network and has been a Strategic Partner since it’s inception and is the former National Organizing Director for the Network. This role required her to support the on-going development of the Network's structure and expanding the Network’s global reach.

She is also the Founding Executive Director of The Marsha P. Johnson Institute. This organization has been thriving since 2015 under her leadership. This vision flourished following her tenure as the Central Region Coordinator for GetEQUAL. Her organizing expands beyond paid positions. She has also volunteered as a Creative Ambassador for the Trans Women of Color Collective. Elle’s writing have been featured in TruthOut, Huffington Post, and Ebony. Her work has also been chronicled by several outlets including Time, CNN, MTV, The New York Times, Alternet, Democracy Now, The Daily Dot, Fusion, Essence Magazine, and The Washington Post.  For more information, visit:

Wriply Bennet

Wriply Bennet is an artist, illustrator, actor, writer, and singer born and raised in Ohio. She uses her art to uplift her sisters in the black lives/ black transgender lives movement. She works in ink, watercolor and other mediums, and her art comes from an untrained perspective. She never aspired to attend college to study art, and there are no degrees to speak of other than a high school diploma. Her art is proudly self-taught. Her organizing work started with the Trans Women of Color Coalition, and she has been an activist since Ferguson, where she as a freedom rider traveling to stand with the family and community of Mike Brown. Wriply’s work expresses the power, strength, and resilience that trans women of color have to persevere, and the grace and beauty of her culture. Her work uplifts the young black trans women we’ve lost and continue to lose every year, and sheds light on the fact that there has been no national outcry. Wriply’s art has been used in countless social justice flyers and made its first film debut in MAJOR! at the 2015 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. Wriply is much more than a visual artist; she’s also a singer/song writer, actress, screenplay writer, story teller, cartoonist, and fashion designer. She continues to work and fight for justice! For art will travel. For more information, visit: