Closing out a week that saw the murders of two Black trans women and regressive legislation from the Trump administration, thousands across the United States marched on Saturday and Sunday (June 13 and 14) to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter.
The rallies came, reports CNN, “after two Black trans women—Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, 27, of Philadelphia, and Riah Milton, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio— were murdered last week.” According to the Human Rights Campaign, there have been 14 reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming people in 2020—though this number is likely undercounted. CNN continues:
Like Fells and Milton, the majority of trans people killed are black women. Ninety-one percent of the reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming people in 2019 were black women, and 81% were under the age of 30, according to the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks reported killings.
There has been no meaningful movement in our lifetime that has not been led and/or informed by queer and trans people. #BlackTransLivesMatter— ColorOfChange (@ColorOfChange) June 12, 2020
Rest in Power to our sisters Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Riah Milton, two Black trans women taken too soon. pic.twitter.com/tU3KOPJBLj
The rallies also came following the June 12th announcement—on the four-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse—that the federal government will no longer recognize gender identity as a reason for discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies.
Critics say the rule would further harm an already vulnerable group—trans people—amid a pandemic.— NPR (@NPR) June 12, 2020
“I can’t help but wonder if the timing is by design so that this is something people won’t pay attention to,” says one political science professor. https://t.co/AcZSFNnoQP
Against the backdrop of these atrocities, people came out and spoke up across the country for Black trans lives. In Brooklyn, the largest rally, an estimated 15,000 gathered by the Brooklyn Museum. Activist Raquel Willis led the crowd in the chant, ”I believe in my power. I believe in your power. I believe in our power. I believe in Black trans power.”
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
A reported 25,000 marched through Hollywood on Sunday for an All Black Lives Matter protest. The march, reports CNN affiliate KTLA, was to honor Tony McDade, a Black transgender man killed by a Tallahassee, Florida police officer on May 27.
Chicago’s Drag March for Change, held June 14, brought out thousands to protest against racial Injustice. Organizer Joe Lewis told the Chicago Sun-Times, “All black lives matter, and that includes queer black lives, and trans black lives. We just had to get out there and make sure that was part of the conversation.”
Marching on Halsted for Dominique Rem’mie Fells and Riah Milton.#SayHerName #BlackTransLivesMatter #TransRightsAreHumanRights #DominiqueRemmieFells #RiahMilton #DragMarch4Change pic.twitter.com/BiP5Eljxd5— BLMChicago (@BLMChi) June 14, 2020
Bostonians came out on Saturday chanting ”no justice, no peace, no anti-trans violence on our streets.”
Out in the Roxbury, MA streets for Black Trans Lives— Carl Williams (@carltonwilliams) June 13, 2020
One day after the Brooklyn march, on June 15, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a massive legal victory for LGBT rights, ruling that the 1964 civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination.