“Every day is a journey, and each day I have to pick back up a piece of me from where I left off two years ago,” shared transgender hate crime survivor CeCe McDonald in an interview with Democracy Now!. McDonald was released from prison earlier this month after serving 19 months in prison. In 2011, after being verbally and physically assaulted, McDonald fatally stabbed her attacker in self-defense. She accepted a plea deal for second-degree manslaughter.
Actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox later chimed into the provocative discussion. Cox is helping produce a documentary on McDonald’s life called Free CeCe.
“So often our lives are treated as if they don’t matter,” she stated. “And I think that’s why CeCe’s case has meant so much to me.”
The segment goes on to unpack the high rates of incarceration of Black trans people, the transphobic murder of Harlem’s Islan Nettles and more.
“The answer is to keep people out of prison and to provide safe spaces, safe access to healthcare, to employment, to education,” explained Alisha Williams, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Director of Prisoner Justice.
“How do we begin to create spaces where we accept trans people on trans people’s own terms, and really listen and let trans people lead the discussions in terms of who we are and what the discussion about our lives should be?” Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox asked.
Watch part 1 and part 2 of the interview below.