Black Lives Matter means Black Trans Lives Matter.
On Sunday, June 14, about 15,000 people took to the streets of NYC to protest violence against Black trans people and stand in solidarity with the community.
The event was titled “Brooklyn Liberation,” and according to its website many groups joined to organize the rally, including the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Okra Project, Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, For the Gworls, and G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society).
The group met outside the Brooklyn Museum, in the plaza which is a public space (the museum was not part of the event). Participants were asked to wear white, a historical nod to the 1917 “Silent Protest Parade” organized by the NAACP where 10,000 people wore white to stand against anti-Black violence, according to GQ.
Speakers included activist and writer Raquel Willis, Founder/CEO of G.L.I.T.S Ceyenne Doroshow, Ianne Fields Stewart from The Okra Project, and more. The gathering was organized as a call for justice for the violent deaths of Black trans people, as well as a march against recent obstructions of civil rights. Willis wrote on Instagram, “WE WILL RALLY because jail officials at Rikers Island laughed at an AfroLatina trans woman minutes before she died. Two Black trans women were reported murdered in the last 48 hours. A trans man was killed by Tallahassee police. And the Trump administration has repealed protections for our access to healthcare.”
The day after the rally (Monday), news broke of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that will protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in the workplace.
See these powerful moments and the sheer number of those marching for Black trans rights this weekend here:
Ten days ago, West Dakota called me with idea. A Brooklyn-based protest creating space and action for Black trans lives. She referenced a New York protest in 1917 when the NAACP assembled 10,000 all wearing white standing up against anti-Black violence. #brooklynliberation pic.twitter.com/NlzecJrolU
— Fran Tirado (@fransquishco) June 15, 2020
— Julie Ann Pietrangelo (@JulieAnnPie) June 14, 2020
— NYC Protest Updates 2020 (@protest_nyc) June 14, 2020
Huge crowd gathering for today’s action for Black trans lives in front of the Brooklyn Museum pic.twitter.com/m779by6tbL
— Shannon Keating (@skeatings) June 14, 2020
— mugatu zoolander (@alexqarbuckle) June 14, 2020
— Ayanna P. (@AyannaPrescod) June 14, 2020
— Jason Rosenberg (@mynameisjro) June 14, 2020
I just want to emphasize how big a deal the rally for Black trans lives in Brooklyn is:
The first photo is from a June 12, 2019 rally, held shortly after Layleen Polanco died at Rikers Island–crowd estimated at a few hundred.
The second photo is today–estimated at 12,000. pic.twitter.com/THmBCcU4O5
— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) June 14, 2020
featured image source: Instagram / @julieannpietra