Center Black trans lives.

Happy weekend, and Day 10 of the Anti-Racism Daily 🎉

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1. Raise awareness about today's subject using the hashtag #BlackTransLivesMatter

2. Donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Black trans people, hosted by the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
This cover is the forthcoming issue of Time magazine. Photo taken by photographer Devin Allen showing people lying on the street during a Black Trans Lives Matter protest in Baltimore.
Via Axios

Since the protests began there's been significant shifts in protecting Black lives. But as the Black Lives Matter movement takes hold across the country (and around the world) the narrative about the violence against Black trans people often gets left behind. We touched on this briefly when we discussed Breonna Taylor in an email from last week.

In just this past week alone, two Black transgender women were reported dead: 25-year-old Riah Milton was murdered in an attempted robbery in Ohio, and Dominique “Rem'mie” Fells was killed in Philadelphia. According to the HRC, this marks at least the 13th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S., but because violence against this community is systemically underreported, that number is believed to be much larger.

And throughout the protests the stories Black trans people who were victims of police violence, like Tony McDade, got lost in the larger conversation around Black Lives Matter. Remember that centering those that are most vulnerable is critically important in movement work, because a specific community's distinct pain can be minimized when lumped in with others. 

And that's clear when we look at our political system as a whole. Although there's been significant political progress to protect Black lives over the past few weeks, there's still very few legal protections for the transgender community. The HRC, reflecting on the death of Dominique “Rem'mie” Fells, note that "at the state level, transgender and gender non-conforming people in Pennsylvania are not explicitly protected in employment, housing or in public spaces. They are also not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation". Read more in their 2019 report >

And as all of this unfolds, Trump chose yesterday to erase transgender civil rights protections in health care. By narrowing the legal definition of sex discrimination so that it does not include protections for transgender people, Trump has reversed part of the Affordable Care Act from 2010, which bans discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in “any health program or activity".

June is Pride Month in the U.S. so it's all the more critical to center the needs for our LGBTQ+ community during the movement for Black lives – especially because their liberation are so closely intertwined. No one defines that more distinctly than Marsha P. Johnson, a black, transgender leader that paved the way for both Black and LGBTQ+ rights in America. Known as a self-identified drag queen, performer, and survivor, she was a prominent figure in the Stonewall Uprising of June 1969, one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement. She, alongside her friend Sylvia Rivera, a legendary transgender activist of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican descent, centered the lives of Black and brown transgender lives throughout their work for decades. Now, as the Black Lives Matter movement forges on, we must too.

What happens is that black trans people are erased and made invisible in society, but then we actually disappear in our deaths.

Kei Williams,  a founding member of the Black Lives Matter global network and a national organizer at the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, in an interview with The Lily
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