Last week, Housing Works celebrated the life of Tracy Bumpus, a former staffer and a champion for transgender rights who died in June.
Gathered in the cafeteria at Housing Works' East New York Health Center, friends danced, laughed and spoke of a woman known both for her compassion and her no-holds-barred attitude.
Here's what they had to say:
"Tracy was one of those people who could be both one of the fiercest advocates and warriors you could ever care to meet -- and at the same time the most loving person you could ever care to meet."
-- Ken Robinson, Vice President of Housing Operations, Housing Works
"She gave true meaning to the word 'advocacy' ... And she could wear a bustier like nobody's business!"
-- Sunshine Brooks, former Housing Works staffer
"Tracy didn't want no tears, but it was still painful to hear [that she had passed]. She taught me about being a trans woman. Every time we went somewhere there were people staring. We had to fight. But she was strong."
-- Rose McFarlane, Substance Use Counselor, Housing Works
"Tracy was the first trans woman I met in New York City. She encouraged me to reach for my goals, to finish school. She would proof my papers -- she was always there, and so supportive."
-- Lourdes Hunter, former Housing Works staffer
"Tracy opened my eyes to what it was like to be trans. She took me on a trip to the Museum of Sex -- we had a good time! -- and after we went to dinner and Tracy began to explain what it was like being trans. I couldn't do anything but have respect."
-- James Stewart, former Housing Works client
"Tracy was following in the footsteps of other people who paved the way ... Who here is gonna pick up that torch? Who is gonna fight to make sure that everyone has a place at the table? Tracy wanted us to have a party, but I think she'd like us to make a commitment to take up that torch."
-- Charles King, President & CEO, Housing Works