My Dearest Feministas,
This is very special WCW post for International Womxn’s Day, dedicated to 7 womxn who can’t celebrate with us today, 7 womxn whose lives need to honored and whose deaths need to be remembered.
Violence against womxn of color is far from a new phenomenon and amongst the record high of 27 trans womxn killed in 2016, almost all of the victims were womxn of color. We are 11 weeks into 2017 and 7 transgender womxn of color have been murdered.
Mesha Caldwell, 41
Mesha was found shot to death on January 4th in Canton, Mississippi. She was a hairstylist and makeup artist in Canton, who friends describe as always smiling.
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28
Jamie’s body was discovered in her apartment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on January 6th. She belonged to the Oglala Lakota tribe and was part of the group Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies.
JoJo Striker, 23
JoJo’s body was discovered in an abandoned garage on February 8th in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio. It took over a week for her death and true identity to be brought to light because of misgendering and focusing on the victim’s history with law enforcement.
Keke Collier, 24
Keke also known as Tiara Richmond was shot and killed in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on February 21st. She studied medical assistance in college and worked at Hollister.
Chyna Gibson, 31
Chyna was gunned down on February 25th outside the Bella Plaza shopping center in New Orleans East. Chyna performed in drag shows across the country and was visiting New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras with her friends and family.
Ciara McElveen, 21
On February 27th, Ciara was found on a street in the 7th Ward in New Orleans, suffering multiple stab wounds and a head injury. She was a New Orleans native, a graduate of Dutchtown High School and had studied at Dillard University.
Jaquarrius Holland, 18
Jaquarrius was shot and killed in Monroe, Louisiana on February 19. Her friends described her as a young woman who worked fiercely to live her authentic life. She was newly transitioning and had support from her family, she went by the name #PrettyBrown.
Violence against trans people — especially womxn of color — is compounded by the fact that it’s mostly ignored. So today we learn these 7 womxns names, we remember their faces and we acknowledge that trans womxn of color need to be included in the conversation about transphobia.
With the rolled back federal Title IX protections for trans students, the issue of safe spaces has taken center stage, focusing on the bathroom. But we need to listen to trans womxn of color when they share their experiences beyond the bathroom. Trans womxn of color can experience violence anywhere, in public or private.
“We’re not fighting for protections for trans people if we’re not creating opportunities [for] trans people of color…to have access to resources,” Lourdes Ashley Hunter, the executive director of the Trans Women of Color Collective in Washington, D.C said. “Bathrooms are important, but how important are they if you’re dead?”
The devastating truth is, in light of the current fascist administration running our country, hate crimes against trans people will likely continue. With the latest victims in mind, trans advocates say listening and responding to the needs of people most impacted by violence and discrimination is critical.
So Happy International Womxn’s Day Feministas, thanks for listening and stay angry!