Voices 4

Voices 4 Adam Eli Russia Queer Liberation Activism

VOICES 4

Voices 4 is the non violent activist collective advocating global queer liberation.

If you’re anything like us and your ambivalence towards Instagram is the result of time lost in a blackhole of thirst traps, commoditising teens making more than you and sponsored ads that prove Google Home and Alexa know you better than your best friends…then let activist and Co-Founder of Voices 4, Adam Eli Werner reconstitute your relationship with social media and humanity…

Adam is leading a new wave of activism whilst redefining how we interact with social media. Harnessing social platforms’ potential to reach 1000s of profiles, Werner and his team are providing a safe gateway for socially conscious individuals with little to no activism experience to march hand in hand in non-violent protests. Preceding their most recent march for the murder of Stephen Clark, Voices 4 assembled crowds at Stonewall Inn one year ago for the Voices 4 Chechnya March.

 

 

Congregating outside the Trump World Tower the uniformed activists demanded humanitarian visas and donations for asylum seeking queer Chechens at risk of abduction, torturing or death at the hands of Russian authorities. Money raised via the march was donated to RUSA LGBT, the Russian-Speaking American LGBT Association who along with the Human Rights Campaign have partnered with Voices 4.

“To use non-violent direct action activism, as inspired by ACT UP and Gays Against Guns, to achieve global queer liberation.”

Eli reflects on the instance when he decided that action needed to be taken for queer victims in Chechnya and around the world, lending to the unintentional inauguration of Voices 4. “In that moment I just read Masha Gessen’s article in The New Yorker about what was happening in Chechnya and I just knew that I couldn’t stand by anymore and then that is when I had the idea to do that first big march which eventually turned into Voices 4.” Read Adam’s full interview in our Bent on Rolemodellin’ series.

 

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Meeting this Wednesday @lgbtcenternyc ! 8 - 10pm NO activism experience required! Photo by @ryanmcginleystudios We are often asked why our group places such an emphasis on social media. @adameli explained to @garage_magazine "One goal for the kiss-in was to broadcast to queer people in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan that they are not alone, and that the global queer community is fighting for them. Another aim was to draw attention to the issue of state-sponsored violence against LGBTQIA+ people and hold these governments accountable. When these countries abuse their queer citizens with impunity and the international community remains silent, it ensures that the violence will continue to spread. Without online visibility, our protest would have accomplished very little. The only people that saw the event in person were a few quick-walking New Yorkers trying to escape the downpour, and one very confused doorman. However, the response on social media was swift. Words about and images of our protest spread rapidly, and our inbox was flooded with messages from queer people all over the world, refugees currently living in America as well as persecuted people abroad, some of whom we were able to connect with resources they needed. The visibility of our protests have paid off: we have been covered by publications all over the world, including the Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s main opposition newspaper, and Radio Free Europe Tajikistan." Link in bio for more and special thanks to @guiducci for making it happen.

A post shared by Voices 4 (@voices4_) on

 

In a Trumpolytic age of extreme nationalism and hate crimes on the rise, Chechnya is only one example of Voices 4’s activity. A mass queer kiss in opposing the exiling of queer individuals in other Eastern European countries Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan took place outside the Uzbek Consulate in New York City rallying more than a crowd, igniting a burst of media attention condoning the act of defiance, and applauding the agency of a community with a common goal.

Much like social media, Voices 4 is built on the foundations of community, connection and conversation. The activist collective encourages you to join them in their New York based community meetings which consist of informative queer news, inspiring narratives and topped off with affirming team snaps.

“To cultivate and promote the idea that queer people are responsible for helping queer people everywhere, simply because they are part of the same global community. We refer to this concept and principle as a “gay global consciousness”. Voices 4 seeks to make this queer global consciousness a bedrock of all queer communities.”

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