Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience

There is a movement to add resilience to the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Union Institute & University Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies student, AC Panella, is one of them.

“The Transgender community is strong and self-reliant,” Panella said. “We are making strides in understanding and visibility. Everyone’s path is different but what is important is we offer support and community. We offer family if the family of origin won’t.”

The professor of communications studies at Santa Rosa Junior College is also the project coordinator of the Georgia Transgender Oral History Project at Georgia State University (GSU).

“This project is forever preserving stories, memories, and histories with transgender and gender non-conforming people and allies who live or have lived in Georgia, or who have participated in activities that affect Georgia,” Panella said.

In addition to his humanities concentration, he is also obtaining graduate certificates in museum studies and educational leadership.

“The museum studies certificate requires an internship. I live in California and all of the museums closed during the pandemic,” Panella explains. “Dr. Anu Mitra, facilitator of the Museum Studies certificate turned to alumna Deborah Richardson for help. Richardson had a contact at GSU and I was hired.”

His Ph.D. research is focused on trans collective memory and history as it’s represented in visual and material culture. This year, he will defend his dissertation on the role San Francisco’s Compton Cafeteria Uprising has on trans memory.

The self-described lifelong learner is glad he chose Union for his Ph.D. studies.

“I’m a California kid. Union pushed me out of my California comfort zone. I have received intellectual support and scholarships. I have met wonderful people with different ways of thinking I never would have met without Union.”

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience commemorates the transgender people lost to violence. Panella asks that we also remember the resiliency of the Transgender community.


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