2020 Brooklyn March for Black Trans Lives: One Year Later

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One year ago today, Brooklyn Liberation’s silent protest amassed a crowd of an estimated 15,000, all marching in solidarity to end violence against queer and trans people of color (QTPOC).

The mobilizing effort began with an idea from Brooklyn Drag Queen West Dakota and her drag mother Merrie Cherry to organize a silent march that paralleled the Silent Parade—a 1917 NAACP-organized protest in which 10,000 Black Americans, all wearing white, marched in response to anti-Black violence in East St. Louis.

A widely-circulated poster caught attention on social media with simple instructions and a striking illustration by Mohammed Fayaz, art director of Papi Juice—an art collective which uplifts and celebrates QTPOC.

By the month of the protest, over 44 transgender and gender-nonconforming people lost their lives to violence in 2020 alone, according to data from the Human Rights Campaign.

Black and Latinx transgender women are most affected by anti-transgender violence. Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, Nina Pop, Riah Milton, and many more were among the lives taken in the two years leading up to the protest.

A Twitter thread posted by protest organizer and host of the “Food 4 Thot” podcast Fran Tirado documents the sheer size of the protest and the people who made it possible.

“All in the name of people who have been forgotten and erased by this movement over and over again,” tweeted Tirado. “This is the largest trans-based protest in history. Grateful, grateful, grateful.”

 

In a video posted by Protest Organizer Eliel Cruz, Ianne Fields Stewart, founder of The Okra Project, delivers a chilling opening speech.

 “Transphobia ends today,” said Stewart. “Because if you ain’t with us, you are going to learn today what it means to be against us.”

In the year following the protest, more anti-transgender legislation has been filed than in any other previous year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. anti-transgender violence continues to affect the community with at least 28 transgender and gender-nonconforming people killed in 2021 so far.

So, Brooklyn Liberation is coming back to host the second silent march for Black Trans Lives.

A message on the group’s website reads, “Listen to trans youth. Defend trans youth. Empower trans youth.”

As the moral panic around transgender women and girls participating in sports and transgender youth having access to necessary medical care continues to run rampant, Brooklyn Liberation is returning in silence and power.

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