Photo credit: Andrea Alexis Join us on April 1!! Join us on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 for a rally and advocacy day at the State House in Boston. The

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Photo credit: Andrea Alexis

Join us on April 1!!

Join us on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 for a rally and advocacy day at the State House in Boston.

The Rally is from 11am to 12pm on the State House steps (Beacon Street)

The advocacy day will take place shortly thereafter (following a brief meeting in a room TBA) and until 3pm.


For more information, contact us at 413.539.5941 x 301 or

For more details on the budget cuts, click HERE.

For a flyer for April 1, click HERE.


A Personal Story

Andrea is a part of the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC). In September of 2014, she received a grant to pursue her dream of becoming a photographer. Below, accompanied by a slideshow of her photography, is her story of how she was impacted by the RLC. The story is intense in parts (there are brief descriptions of abuse that some might find difficult to read), but carries a powerful message of the potential we have to impact one another and change the course of each other's lives through community, acceptance and space to discover and be who we truly are.

The Reason I Am Alive Today. (Or, Why Cutting the RLC Budget in Half is a Bad Idea)

When I met Marty and Sean [RLC Community Bridgers], I was a shaking and scared child of 22 years old who had never felt the love of her parents, carelessly tossed out into the wind. My mother apologized to me and said, "Sorry, I forgot to mention we were getting evicted. Pack your shit and leave." "When are we getting evicted?" "Oh, today." So I packed my things and left. I didn't have a father to run to, so I wandered the streets and begged for couches to sleep on and scraps off of other people's plates to eat. My camera phone was the only thing that kept me sane.

But things started to unravel. I couldn't continue to live the life that I had been forced into. Working in factories, slaving away, for minimum wage 56 hours a week in the dead of night, while dreaming of being myself. So I started my transition, and went to job corp.

It was still very early in the stages of my transition and I wasn't out as a female yet. Yet somehow they found out about my transition and told an entire auditorium of people about the medications I was taking while completely breaking my consent and the very HIPAA laws that were supposed to protect me.

I was called a faggot.

I was laughed at.

I was threatened to be beat.

So I left in an ambulance,


Trying to kill myself.

In the hospitals, it finally happened. I grew attached to a boy who saw me for who I really was and called me she. We laughed. We joked and stood by the window and talked about life. I played guitar while he watched me and smiled. Then one day, I was listening to his ipod and singing a love song that we both knew.

And you know what he did to me?

He bashed my head into a f*ing table.

Then, they found me.

I was brought out from the dark dimly flickering room I had been kept in by myself ("trannies" aren't allowed to have bunkmates, because you know, we're just "its") and told to attend a group.

We sat in a circle and introduced ourselves while Marty and Sean talked about the things the RLC had to offer.

Marty and Sean believed in me, and they gave me a chance. While I was being stuck with needles and my blood sucked for excessive testing to the point I felt ill, forcibly medicated on anti-pyschotics people are SUING the makers over, that had no business being in my body, (I'm not psychotic, I've just got f*ing aspergers) and threatened with forced injections, segregated from the population, sedated, told I was making a mistake with my life and called "sir".They gave me a chance. They gave me a grant and instead of being a homeless person under a bridge in the pouring rain- THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION, I instead was able to pursue my passions in life.

To have a real camera to show the beauty in the world with (even when going through hell and back), was the one thing I wanted my entire life, and the one thing I thought I could never have. I am now a successful photographer who shares her love of life with all those around her, freely, with no ulterior motivations. Simply because I am glad to be alive.Because I had never thought I would have the opportunity to be. Because even my own father had never bought me a winter jacket or a bed to sleep on, yet these complete strangers saw me at my worst, and instead thought the best of me.

The RLC showed me what love is. Taught me how to meditate. Gave me new friends. Gave me a cheap vacuum that was stuck in the closet that I couldn't afford, that they didn't need, so I could clean the dust and dirt out of my life.

The RLC taught me how to knit so my hands wouldn't scratch and bleed at my wrists while I was restless and depressed.

The RLC taught me to care, not just about myself, but others, and to become passionate about making the world a better place.

And believe it or not, while I'm writing this speech I am crying my eyes out because just now I realize that this is all true.

This isn't an impassioned speech.

This is the reason I am alive today.

You cut their budget in half,

You'll see twice the number of suicides.

This isn't speculation.

This is economics 101.

I owe the RLC my very life.

I swear to God. (Whatever Higher Power there is)

And that's something I never believed in before.

andrea image

Click image for accompanying slideshow!

Click image above for accompanying slideshow