FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GROUPS TO MARCH TO CITY HALL TO LET NEW ORLEANS KNOW BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER
CALL ON CITY TO BECOME “SAFE CITY” FOR TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY
BreakOUT!, a community-based organization that seeks to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans, along with local and national partners, will take to the streets on November 20th, 2015 to honor the lives of 22 trans women murdered and countless other trans and gender non-conforming youth lost to deportation, suicide, interpersonal, and state violence this year, most of whom were women of color.
Led by trans and gender non-conforming youth of color, the march, known as the National Trans March of Resilience (TMOR), will start at Louis Armstrong Park with a rally and gathering at 11am and end with a press conference and “die-in” at City Hall. Marchers will carry signs, puppets, and coffins to represent the lives lost this year and will present a Platform for a Safer City to city officials. The platform is also supported by over 26 local and national organizations, including the Congress of Day Laborers, Women With a Vision, The Hite Law Group, Kids ReThink New Orleans Schools, Black Youth Project 100, GSA Network, Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center, and the National LGBTQ Taskforce.
The National Trans March of Resilience coincides with the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), an annual day of observance to honor those who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence, as well as other marches in 10 cities across the country, from New York to Little Rock, Arkansas, all led by transgender people of color. The march also coincides with the Not1More Week of Action to end detention and deportation of transgender individuals and is coordinated with several other events happening around the city the same week, including a panel discussion, fundraiser and healing drum circle at Congo Square.
“Many individuals outside of the LGBTQIA community have never heard of Trans Day of Rememberance, which is problematic because every year the number of trans murders and suicides increase,” expressed Christian Lovehall, Co-Creator of the National Trans March of Resilience, who recently relocated from Philadelphia to New Orleans. “Trans March of Resilience is a time to publicly let it be known that Black Trans lives matter…the lives lost, as well as the lives of those still surviving today.”
Milan Sherry, Organizer with BreakOUT! and Co-Creator of TMOR, states, “In February 2015, BreakOUT! mourned the loss of Penny Proud, a Black transgender young woman murdered in New Orleans and installed a billboard in her honor near the Broad St. bridge that reads, ’10 transgender women have been murdered so far this year. Invest in jobs, housing, and education to keep us safe.’ But already, the number has more than doubled, with the body count currently at 22. We can’t wait any longer for city officials to take action.”
The organization is updating their billboard, located on top of Art Egg Studios at 1001 S. Broad St., to the new death toll during the week of action.
BreakOUT! is a proud member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which found that in 2013, transgender women of color were the majority (72%) of victims of reported hate violence and also 7 times more likely to experience police violence and physical violence from law enforcement. Undocumented transgender people are also routinely detained in inhumane conditions in immigration detention centers across the country, often after fleeing unsafe conditions in their home countries.
Responding to the call from activists and organizers around the country, the House LGBT Equality Caucus announced last week that they will hold the first-ever congressional forum on violence against transgender people and will officially launch a Transgender Equality Task Force.
“Transgender women of color, including undocumented trans people, need to feel safe in our communities. The next step is for New Orleans to move from being a ‘welcome city’ to truly becoming a safe city for Black trans and gender non-conforming youth and undocumented communities,” said Ja’Leah Shavers, Organizer at BreakOUT!