In a bold and unapologetic proclamation, Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter, a social justice campaign that draws attention to violence against African American trans* girls and women, is holding a vigil and “call for peace” outside the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Conference to honor the Black and Latina women murdered in 2014 and to call attention to this ongoing epidemic. On Saturday, September 27, 4:00 – 5:30pm, community members will convene in front of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. — home to the CBC’s annual legislative conference, which gathers nearly 10,000 subject experts, industry leaders, elected officials, and concerned citizens to explore issues from an African-American perspective.

“In reality, Stonewall was a revolutionary riot in response to extreme brutality, not a whitewashed basket of happy rainbows or vanilla flavored wedding cake. Jim Crow is not dead; it just has a new mask.” – Miss Major

“All too often the media ignores or belittles the epidemic of violence against Black women in the United States, even more so when the victims are women of transsexual or transgender experience,” says Ashley Love, Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter organizer and journalist. “Most elected officials are reluctant to publically join the trans* community’s plea for justice. Does the newly popular slogan ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ mean all Black lives, or just some? Are the murders of our trans* sisters less worthy of tears, of outrage — their humanity ‘less than’? We hold this vigil outside the CBC Conference not to be confrontational, but so that those who we elected to serve and protect us may feel more comfortable, and inclined, to join us in honoring our fallen and in a Prayer for Peace to end the hate crimes against Black and Latina women in the trans* communities.”

Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter aims to defend trans* women from the misogynistic, transphobic and racist forces that fuel their oppression and to challenge the discriminatory laws and unjust courts that often fail them. They seek solidarity and authentic support from the mainstream Black social justice movement, elected officials, and the progressive media in addressing and then resolving this crisis.

“As an elder in the Black trans community I have befriended, loved and then buried too many of my trans sisters over the decades due to hate based violence,” says Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, community icon and Executive Director of the TGI Justice Project. Miss Major was inside the famed Stonewall Inn the night the historical riots of 1969 erupted, which launched a global revolution for human rights.

“Half of us are unjustly gone and yet we still can’t get the powers that be to call out this terrorism for what it is,” she adds. “In reality, Stonewall was a revolutionary riot in response to extreme brutality, not a whitewashed basket of happy rainbows or vanilla flavored wedding cake. Jim Crow is not dead; it just has a new mask.”

Veronika Fimbres, a Black trans* woman who was the first ever trans* person to hold office in the City and County of San Francisco, and is currently a San Francisco Pride board member also voices her support of Black Trans* Women Lives Matter:

“Elected officials have an ethical responsibility to work in the best interests of all their constituents, even those who have less social acceptance and privilege than others. After the Trayvon Martin tragedy, and now with Ferguson, many Black politicians and activists spoke out and rallied for justice. Yet why do we generally hear silence from them when it’s Black trans women who are murdered? #AllBlackLivesMatter!”

To learn more about the campaign, visit blacktranswomenslivesmatter.blogspot.com.

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