Across the US tens of thousands of people gathered at public demonstrations wearing white in solidarity with black trans people last weekend, June 13-14.
Demonstrations were organised in response to the murder of Dominique ‘Rem’Mie’ Fells, 27, and Riah Milton, 25, who were both killed last week.
Two Black trans women have been reported dead this week. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells of Philadelphia, PA and Riah Milton of Liberty Township, Ohio. #RestInPower #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/2djG4i3U6c
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) June 12, 2020
The murder of Fells and Milton are the latest in a long string of violence against the black transgender community in the US.
Last year the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported that at least 26 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States alone, although the exact number is thought to be higher.
Of these reported 26 victims, 22 were found to be killed by fatal violence, with all but one of these victims being black. So far this year, it has been reported that 14 members of the LGBT+ community have been murdered in the US, with eight of these victims being transgender women of colour.
Demonstrators showed up in their thousands to protest the murders holding signs reading “All Black Lives Matter” and “Black Trans Lives Matter”.
— whembley (@whembleysewell) June 14, 2020
Following the murder of 46 year-old George Floyd by police outside a shop in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, protests over police brutality and systematic racism erupted in cities across the United States, followed by worldwide demonstrations in solidarity.
Black Lives Matter were urged by LGBT+ activists to use their platform to bring attention to a large number of missing and murdered black transgender women in the US who face disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence.
Last weekends demonstrations were co-organised by trans-led organisations including the Marsha P Johnson Institute, The Okra Project and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts.
In New York City where thousands of protesters wore white and marched in silence to the Brooklyn Museum.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) June 14, 2020
“We felt that was a really powerful way to think about our action in relation to a lot of others and how thinking on the metaphor of like silence equals death and how everything comes together,” Fran Tirado, a queer writer and producer who co-organised the rally, told CNN.
Chicago saw similar-sized crowds on Sunday gather to call for justice for the black trans community and for police reforms.
“What people don’t seem to understand is that trans humans are in crisis right now,” said Jo Mama, a Chicago drag queen and activist who organised Sunday’s Drag March for Change.
“They are a top attacked minority. Their death rate is more than alarming and they are glossed over in every page of society.”
Over 30,000 people lined the streets of Los Angeles to demand racial justice and LGBT+ rights at an All Black Lives Matter demonstration.
— OnceUponATimeOnTheBlock (@GameRecGame) June 14, 2020
Similar demonstrations were also held in San Antonio, Texas and Boston.
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