LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14: Protesters raise their fists in solidarity at the All Black Lives Matter Solidarity March on June 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
Thousands of Protesters Rallied Nationwide for Black Trans Lives This Weekend
Attendees marched in support of Black trans lives in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Chicago this weekend.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside of Brooklyn Museum and on the Eastern Parkway on Sunday in support of Black trans lives on Sunday.
Additional marches took place nationwide in Los Angeles and Chicago. According to NBC, the rally in Brooklyn began at about 1 p.m. in front of the museum and activists emphasized why human rights must also be a part of Black trans lives in speeches. Two hours after the start of the gathering, protesters started marching north. The march was led by event organizers and Black trans women were reportedly in the front.
Numerous organizations including The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Okra Project and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts co-organized Sunday’s rally and the march. Though there’s not an official count of the attendees, the estimate is in the thousands.
Speakers included former Out executive editor and activist Raquel Willis, the Okra Project founder, Ianne Fields Stewart, Ceyenne Doroshow, the founder and executive director of Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society. The sister of Layleen Polanco, Melania Brown also spoke at the rally, reports Out. Polanco, a trans woman, died in June 2019 after suffering from an epileptic seizure while in solitary confinement at Rikers Island jail.
In the wake of the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police, the nationwide protests urge the public to pay attention to the violence inflicted upon the Black trans community. Last week two Black trans women were killed in Ohio and Pennsylvania. At the moment, their deaths are being investigated as homicides. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 91 percent of the reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming people in 2019 were Black women, 81 percent were under the age of 30. The "violence against the trans community often goes unreported or misreported," per CNN.
Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells' body was found Monday in the Schuylkill River in southwest Philadelphia, reports NBC Philadelphia. She was bruised and both of her legs were severed according to police.
Philadelphia's LGBT Office of Affairs released the following statement on Fells' death:
"We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses — especially within our transgender communities — that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all."
A day after Fell's body was found, Riah Milton, 25, was allegedly shot to death in Liberty Township, Ohio. An NBC report notes Milton was a Black trans woman from Cincinnati who was reportedly lured to the township in an attempt to rob her. At the moment, a 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old man have been arrested and charged in Milton's death.