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.
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:
- EDUCATE YOURSELF: Find out more about organizations where you live like TGIJP, BreakOUT!, Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SNaPCo), TAKE, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, El/La Para Translatinas, Audre Lorde Project and more to support organizations that center the leadership of trans and gender non-conforming people of color.
- LEVEL UP: Donate, volunteer, spread the good word about these organizations & urge those around you to do the same.
- GET YOUR COUSIN: It’s been a long time coming, but for change to really come we need to gather our folks. Having those uncomfortable conversations with loved ones about how they support a transphobic culture can be hard. Here’s a video to help you think about how to respond to some common instances of transphobia.
- IMAGINE ALTERNATIVES: We know that courts, cops, cages & surveillance are tools of the state meant to control, dehumanize, isolate & repress us, not keep us safe. Learn more about community accountability, transformative justice & other alternatives to policing that can respond to the root causes of harm & violence in our communities. Imagine ways that you can contribute to the safety of Black trans women & our communities as a whole without depending on the Prison Industrial Complex.
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