Osimiri Sprowal is Building Tech-Based Solutions to Youth Homelessness

Aug 2019

Osimiri Sprowal

Meet Osimiri Sprowal: The 2019 True Colors Innovation Fellow.

“Maybe I have a cane, because I was born to part seas.”- “Sacred Illness,” a Poem by me

My name is Osimiri Sprowal, and I am the 2019 True Colors Innovation Fellow. Some fun facts about me: I’m Afro-Indigenous, Genderfluid, Queer, and have Cerebral Palsy (among other disabilities). I’m an internationally award-winning poet, and the recent found of deadname.arts, an all trans arts collective. A lot of the poetry I write focuses on my identity as a QueerCrip- a person who is both LGBT+ and Disabled, and the trials and beauty of that experience.

The True Colors Innovation Fellowship focuses on technology. Over the past six months, I’ve been helping to rebuild an online interface that collects data and resources from housing service providers nationwide, and beta testing this interface. Technology has been so instrumental for many Disabled people (myself included) in making about there is always more work to be done! 

Due to these experiences, the word that anchors my True Colors Fellowship project is “Accessibility.” Accessibility cannot be limited to alleviating the dehumanization I experience as a neurodivergent, chronically ill, mobility impaired person, but must be intentionally building space and community through art for all bodies, be they Black/Brown, Trans/Queer, or anything else.

I was awarded this amazing fellowship during my third time being homeless. My most recent experiences at homelessness have not been a result of familial issues (though I’ve experienced that as well), but the dearth of Accessible housing in my home city of Philadelphia. Getting accessible housing for all Disabled people is even more greatly exacerbated by the intersections of Blackness/Indiginy, Queerness, and Transness. 

Let’s innovate together at the True Colors Impact Summit.

The capstone of the True Colors Fellowship is our Impact Summit this September 4th-5th in Washington, DC. Each of us Fellows will be presenting and leading our own breakout session together. I’ll also be performing poems! 

Registering for this event would be an amazing show of support; not just for myself and my communities but the ethos of the entire Fellowship: to put Trans/Queer youth at the forefront of creating the change our communities desperately need. Innovation is a communal act. I hope to meet you all this September!