Lift Every Voice By: Raven Gillus
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Over the past couple of months, protests have erupted all over the U.S. demanding justice for black lives that have been lost at the hands of systemic racism and police brutality. Although black women are at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement fighting for the protection of others, often black women are not protected in other spaces. We must demand justice to lift up the voices of those who are constantly suppressed and hopefully inspire others to do even more necessary work.
As we are going through a global pandemic with COVID-19, America has been suffering with a longstanding endemic called racism. During this time, we have seen increased exposure of the inequalities within the justice system, education system, healthcare system, and the list goes on. The Black Lives Matter movement and other efforts have been rising as we have seen more Black people being killed, due to systematic racism and police brutality. However, black women are often less visible within the movement. We have also seen a rise in violence against transgender women. Yet, it’s evident that black women do not get the same level of outcry when one of us is murdered. It is necessary to give voice to the communities that are often ignored, oppressed and suffering.
Protests erupted in every single state in the U.S. after the murder of George Floyd. Thousands of protestors took to the streets to call for justice for the murders of Floyd, and other black men like Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain and Rayshard Brooks. Although Black women are at the forefront of these movements, black women are left out of the conversation when it comes to the violence inflicted on them.
It has been four months since Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home by police, who entered her home in the middle of the night with a no-knock warrant. Police were in search of a male suspect who didn’t live in the apartment complex Taylor lived in and was already in police custody. Taylor was an EMT working on becoming a nurse and an essential worker on the frontlines helping to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
In Louisville, Kentucky, ‘Breonna’s Law’ was passed, which no bans no-knock warrants. However, only a detective involved in the raid, Brett Hankison, was fired. No further consequences have been enacted for any other officers involved.
Breonna Taylor is among several women who deserved so much better. Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, was a Black Lives Matter activist at just 19 years old, who was found dead one week after she went missing at the hands of Aaron Glee Jr. Many activists are fighting for the visibility of these women and so many other women.
In the same week Salau went missing, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a 27-year-old Black transgender woman, was found in a river in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector told WPVI that Fells’ body was found with trauma to the head and face, stab wounds, and both legs severed. One day earlier, Riah Milton, a 25-year-old University of Cincinnati student and home health aide, was shot and killed in a robbery in Ohio.
CBS News reported, at least 21 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed so far in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The intersectionality of being a black transgender woman comes with an unfortunate vulnerability to transphobia, racism and sexism.
Laya Monarez, DC artist and LGBTQ advocate, said, “As a Trans Latinx woman who’s survived many acts of violence, my survival was dependent on the help for allies and those who work in solidary to fight for my rights, housing, dignity,” according to HRC.
If we say we support Black Lives Matter, we have to align our efforts with all black lives.
Here are some resources for black women and transwomen of color.
Therapy for Black Girls
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The Audre Lorde Project
Legal Network for Gender Equity
We stand in solidarity all women, all marginalized communities, and all black lives. Centering our focus on protecting our sisters in our workplace, in religious places and various other spaces is not an option. We all have to make it our personal responsibility to ensure transgender women are safe and supported in every community and concentrate our efforts to create inclusive spaces where they are fully accepted and valued. We must demand justice to lift up the voices of those who are constantly suppressed and hopefully inspire others to do even more necessary work!