One episode of YouTube’s new Fundamental documentary series opens with a group of people in Madison, Wisconsin chanting “Black Lives Matter” and carrying a banner that says “no cops in school.” They're protesting the posting of "school resources officers" in the city's four main high schools. M. Adams is one of the people chanting, trying to make a difference.
This kind of change-making isn't unusual for Adams, who identifies as gender nonconforming and uses all pronouns. They are the co-director of Freedom Inc., an organization that focuses in on “people-based” causes, rather than issue-based ones. That means they don't focus on advocating for one specific topic. Their work touches on everything from helping Black, queer people find homes to asking school boards to remove police from educational institutions.
“Being 'people based' means we center around the needs of people — the complete and whole needs of people,” Adams tells Refinery29. “As a result, although someone may join us while we are fighting for housing justice, we are able to teach and train them on issues such as intimate partner violence and sexual violence, or justice for queer, trans, and intersex people.”
Adams makes these points and more in an episode of a new YouTube docu-series, Fundamental, which will premiere on March 4. It was produced in conjunction with the Global Fund For Women, an international organization that advocates for gender equality and the human rights of women and girls.
In the short, there’s a scene in which Adams explains the differences between gender expression and gender identity to a group of people at a Freedom Inc. meeting.
“I know that there is a difference between people not knowing and those who are intending to harm,” Adams says. “I always think of myself and remember that I too had to learn these things, and that I am where I am, because others taught me and loved me along the way. As a result, I always approach education and the teachings of queer radical Black feminism as such.”