Did you see the Made For Flight Kites on display in our lobby on the first floor of Joel D. Valdez Main library or at other libraries? The kites are on display to honor Transgender Awareness Month, which is celebrated in November.
The kites were created by Made For Flight, a project that was started by TC Tolbert (Tucson's current Poet Laureate) in 2010, and each one represents a transgender person who was a murder victim in a hate crime in the United States. Tolbert felt there needed to be more done to memorialize the people we've lost beyond an annual quiet vigil and also wanted to raise awareness about the travesty of the hundreds of those murdered every year for being trans-identified – especially transgender women of color.
Since 2010, Tolbert and several volunteers have created the memorial kites as community crafting events, and every year the resulting kites are mounted on long staffs and walked through the annual All Souls Procession. On November 20, the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, they are also on display to demonstrate the vigilance, awareness, and solidarity within Pima County for the transgender community.
The Made For Flight Kites are symbolic – a simple construction of wood, string, and cloth that can soar into the sky. They are our response to horror and tragedy. Through the kites, we hope to assure members of our transgender community that they have respect, support, and love. By raising awareness of the life-and-death challenges that the Transgender community faces, we strengthen our entire community one symbolic step - or flight - at a time. Together we soar.
The now over 100 kites will be displayed throughout the month of November at the following libraries: