Jah Elyse Sayers is a third-year doctoral student in Environmental Psychology. Their research centers on the ways queer and trans people of color make and maintain place and the factors that support QTPoC spacemaking. They frequently work with ideas of belonging, disposability, and temporality whether they are crafting clocks from scrap metal or researching the ways queer people of color turn pathologized and discarded geographies into sites of home, dreaming, scheming and liberation.
Prior to starting at the Graduate Center, Jah earned their B.A. in urban studies, specializing in anthropology, at Columbia University. Their undergraduate thesis focused on spatial contestation between residential and non-residential members of communities, specifically examining use of Greenwich Village public space by queer and transgender youth of color and the ways gay-identified spaces in the neighborhood often exclude the most vulnerable of queer-identified people.
Jah has worked in editing and grant-writing for New Village Press, most recently conducting rigorous oral history interviews with author Carl C. Anthony in order to complete The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race (2017). They now serve on the board of New Village Press. From 2016-2017, Jah was the inaugural Equitable Public Space Fellow at the Design Trust for Public Space, where they worked to center equity and meaningful engagement in the many facets of Design Trust’s work. Jah is also an active member of the Audre Lorde Project.
Jah can be reached at jsayers (at) gradcenter (dot) cuny (dot) edu.