15,000 people gathered in Brooklyn to remind the world that when we say Black lives matter, Black trans lives are to be included in that.
Following the deaths of several Black trans men and women — Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, and more — whose families and loved ones deserve justice, several organizations came together to mobilize this weekend’s rally in support of the trans community.
“’I want to speak to my Black trans folks first,’ said Raquel Willis, a transgender rights activist. ‘We’ve been told we’re not enough [by]…parents, lovers, johns, schools, and institutions. But the truth is, we’re more than enough.’ Her words went out to a historic crowd: a sea of 15,000 people (an estimate delivered by the NYPD over police scanners), all clad in white, all assembled outside of the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Heights to mourn and celebrate Black trans lives—and to demand human rights for Black trans people,” GQ writes, adding “Organizers addressed the plight of people burdened by doubly marginalized identities—people of Black and trans experience—and emphasized their important roles in liberating all Black people from the reign of white supremacy.”
“If you have an organization that has no Black people in leadership, if your organization has no funding or programs specifically for Black trans people, you are obsolete,” Raquel Willis continued.
The rally comes as Black Lives Matters protests continue around the country, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and just last week, Rayshard Brooks. It was reportedly coordinated by “organizations dedicated to supporting and advocating for Black trans people—including the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Okra Project, For the Gworls, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts.”