Since our last statement in Spring 2017 we are deeply saddened & enraged to acknowledge that the onslaught of murders of Black trans women continues.
As of today, there have been 22 murders in the U.S. of trans & gender non-conforming people in 2018, 16 of them Black trans women & gender non-conforming people. The latest being Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier in Chicago just this past Wednesday.
The constant attack on the bodies & lives of Black trans women must come to an end! In this time of openly racist, sexist, transphobic & homophobic sentiment not only by the general public but also those in political office we have to ask one another: What is your commitment to the lives, safety & liberation of Black trans women? How do you support their leadership & livelihoods? How do you check & challenge microaggressions & instances of outright transphobia from those in your home, workplace, classroom or broader community?
As abolitionists we know that we cannot depend on police or prisons to ensure safety for our communities. We MUST look to each other— family, friends, comrades & accomplices—to create the solutions we need so that a Black trans woman living past the age of 35 is no longer an anomaly. What privileges or resources are you willing to leverage to ensure that Black trans women have safe spaces to sleep at night? To keep them from being pushed out of the neighborhoods they have helped to shape & sustain like in the Compton’s Trans Cultural District? These are not asks for a handout—this is simply a request for the receipts from all who say they love & support Black trans women as they continue to be slain in the streets across the country.
WE are the ones that keep each other safe. WE are the experts in our own experiences & know exactly what we need. This is a time to listen to our Black trans sisters & siblings that are at the epicenter of this violence & ensure that their voices are amplified while centering their basic needs & healing. This is a time to expand our understandings of what safety & justice look like beyond police, courts & cages. This is a time to have those uncomfortable conversations with our loved ones that have been shaped by & support a culture that allows for gender-based & transphobic violence against Black trans women.
What you can do:
Nothing about this work is simple. Nothing about this work is easy. When it comes to matters of life & death we have to dig deep, fight hard & love even harder to create a world where Black trans women can truly thrive. We have to be clear & concrete about our commitment to Black trans liberation & push ourselves to embody that commitment every single day. If you can’t name what your commitment is, if you haven’t taken action to bring us closer to the safety & liberation we are fighting for--now is the time, because our sisters can’t wait.
As always, be safe & stay strong!
Janetta Johnson & the TGIJP Family