Impact and Inspiration: The Life of James Zappalorti
This timely discussion centers on the memory of Staten Islander James Zappalorti and the ways in which his unfortunate death created and continues to inspire social change. It also addresses the current alarming trends of violence against LGBTQ+ people specifically impacting transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York City and across the country.
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Join Yes, And artists Terry S. Hardy (who created the James Zappalorti Memorial Mandala) and Paul Moakley (who is working on a documentary short about James to be released in 2023), James’ brother Robert Zappalorti, and NYC Anti-Violence Executive Director Beverly Tillery – in conversation with selection panelist Ed Woodham – followed by a Q&A.
About James Zappalorti:
James “Jimmy” Zappalorti (1945-1990) was a disabled Vietnam War veteran who grew up in the neighborhood of Charleston on Staten Island’s South Shore. On January 22, 1990, he was murdered near his home because he was gay. This highly publicized crime led to increased efforts to pass a statewide hate crime law, which was ultimately enacted in 2000.
About the panelists:
Terry S. Hardy addresses themes of identity, human rights, sexuality, and religion, examining social concerns through painting, sculpture, performance, and installations. His most recent work focuses on the intimacy of loss and memorializing those who are forgotten. His work has been included in over 80 exhibitions in venues throughout the US and abroad, including the Lincoln Center in New York, The Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC, and The Historic Freedom Riders Museum in Montgomery, AL. Hardy has presented large-scale public works at the Art Prospect Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the National Center for Contemporary Art in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, The Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta, GA, and in Art in Odd Places in New York and Sydney, Australia.
Paul Moakley is an award-winning journalist who is currently an editor at large, special projects at TIME. His work stems from a passion for photography and storytelling and takes shape in collaborative documentary projects using his skills as a photo editor, producer, director, and writer. He is currently working on a documentary around the life of James Zappalorti and the hate crime law to be released in 2023. He’s earned numerous awards, including an Emmy for the interactive, multi-platform project and HBO film Beyond 9/11, an ASME award for the short film Life after addiction, first place in World Press Photo for the short film Behind the Video of Eric Garner’s Deadly Confrontation With New York Police among many others. Moakley has worked as an educator at the School of Visual Arts. He contributes to his community as the caretaker and curator of the Alice Austen House museum and contributor to the community news site Pleaforthefifth.com.
Beverly Tillery is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, an organization that empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. She is an experienced social justice thought leader, advocate, and national organizer.
Ed Woodham (moderator) is an elder queer who has been active in community art, education, and civic interventions across media and culture for over forty-five years. A visual and performance artist, curator, and educator Woodham employs humor, irony, subtle detournement, and a striking visual style in order to encourage greater consideration of – and provoke deeper critical engagement with – the urban environment. In 2005 he founded New York City’s only artist-run independent public art project, Art in Odd Places (AiOP), produced annually each autumn on 14th Street in Manhattan. AiOP has also been produced in Los Angeles CA, Boston MA, Indianapolis IN, Greensboro NC, and Orlando, FL in the U.S.; Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Sydney, Australia.
Robert T. Zappalorti is the older brother of James “Jimmy” Zappalorti. In 2014, he wrote Stained Glass Windows: The Life and Death of Jimmy Zappalorti: The hate crime that shocked a city and changed the law. In this book, Robert tells Jimmy’s story in his own voice: that of a brother who was Jimmy’s protector in life and champion after his death, whose efforts continue to keep his legacy alive and help maintain the fight for LGBT rights.
Robert T. Zappalorti founded Herpetological Associates, Inc. (HA) in the spring of 1977. The firm specializes in the conservation and ecology of threatened and endangered amphibians and reptiles. He specializes in conservation and mitigation plans and was the first herpetologist to build hibernacula for snakes and other wildlife in natural habitat areas. Robert has also conducted wildlife inventories, intensive herpetological studies, and the presence or absence surveys for a variety of clients.