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NBJC on transgender deaths, "How Can We Celebrate Pride If We Keep Dying?"
2019-05-21

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WASHINGTON — This past weekend, Muhlaysia Booker, a young Black Transgender woman, was found murdered in Dallas, Texas. In April of this year, she was filmed being horribly beaten in public. Another Black Trans woman, Tamika Michelle Simone, was pronounced dead this weekend after suffering gunshot wounds in north Philadelphia.

In response to the tragic news, David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ), released the following statement:

"Her name is Muhlaysia Booker. She was 23 years young, living her best life in Dallas, Texas. The video of her being brutally beaten went viral last month. This weekend, she was found dead in the street in Dallas. This violence happens far too often to Black Transgender women and too often goes without discussion or justice. As we mourn Muhlaysia's death, we also call the name of another sister, Tamika Michelle Simone, another Black Transgender woman, who was shot to death in North Philly. Muhlaysia and Tamika join the long list of Black Transgender women who have been murdered, and we should all be alarmed and moved to act to stop this specific form of violence against Black women and girls.

"In just a few weeks people across the country will kick off a series of Pride events that will last throughout the Summer, including the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Around the country, people will attend parades, red carpet events, social gatherings and fireside chats to celebrate the many gains we've made towards equality for LGBTQ and same gender loving ( SGL ) people. However, it is important to understand that we cannot truly celebrate being free until each of us is safe. Right now, hate crimes, state-sanctioned violence and discrimination are killing many members of our community. There would be no anniversary of the Stonewall Riot without Marsha P. Johnson, a Black Transgender woman who remained at the forefront of the fight for the rights and respect that LGBTQ/SGL people deserve. How can we celebrate Pride if we keep dying?

"The time is now to create a world in which all Black women and girls can live full, healthy, and happy lives. And when we say "women and girls" we must account for all women and girls, including Black transgender women and girls. Our Black Transgender siblings face gender-based violence simply for existing as themselves: higher rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, sexual assault, police violence, and healthcare disparities than both the general U.S. population and the Black U.S. population.

"Our call to action is gender justice. This is essential to ensuring equity, to ensuring that our country lives up to its founding principles. We are all created equally and deserve to live in our truths. NBJC pauses to call the name of our sisters, Muhlaysia Booker and Tamika Michelle Simone; fearless and beautiful. We invite you to join in the work to support our Trans Sisters and Brothers."

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 26 Trans Americans that we know of were murdered last year. The vast majority of them were Black Trans women. To learn more about NBJC's work, please bookmark this page in anticipation of the release of our Gender Justice Toolkit, nbjc.org/words-matter-gender-justice-toolkit .

—From a press release


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