New York LGBT Coalition
March 3, 2017
To date, seven trans women of color have lost their lives this year. All but one was under 35. Violence towards transgender women of color is an epidemic and one that must be addressed immediately. The New York LGBT coalition would like to express our condolences to the families and friends of Ms. Chyna Gibson of New Orleans, Ms. Ciara McElveen of New Orleans, Ms. Keke Collier of Chicago and Ms. Jaquarrius Holland of Monroe, Louisiana. Ms. Gibson, a well-known performer and part of the House and Ballroom community, was gunned down while visiting her family in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. We also express our condolences to the family and friends of Ciara McElveen. Ms. McElveen was stabbed in New Orleans hours after the murder of Ms. Gibson by a man in an automobile, who fled the scene. Ms. Keke Collier was shot dead in Chicago on February 21, 2017. Ms. Holland was killed on February 19th, 2017. Her homicide is only coming to light now, due to local press mis-gendering the victim.
We must be tireless in raising awareness of the ongoing epidemic of physical violence being perpetrated against transgender women of color, even as we are also engaged in protesting the political assault on the protections for transgender youth by the federal administration and other transgender rights. We call for solidarity with our transgender sisters of color. We call attention to the prejudice and discrimination many transgender women, especially those of color, experience on a daily basis, and we especially call on our allies to raise awareness by standing in solidarity with us. We seek to begin a national discussion about concrete actions we can take to protect our sisters most basic of all human rights: the right to exist.
A rally will be held at Jackie Robinson park in Harlem on March 26, 2017 from 1pm-5pm. We seek to raise awareness of this epidemic, making our elected officials and community members aware of this crisis while seeking to educate and build allies. We are committed to finding solutions in:
- Law—The need for further legal protections for transgender women to keep them safe from violence and discrimination.
- Housing—Addressing homelessness and the cofactors that exist that lead to transgender women facing a lack of safe, affordable housing.
- Job training—Preparing transgender women of color for employment by offering free skills-building workshops/courses.
- Education—Making education a reality for those who wish to attend school free from harassment and bullying.
- Social Media—A nationwide campaign to educate and raise awareness about transgender communities of color.
- Funding—A recognition that securing funding is essential in order to move our agenda forward. It is essential to put funding dollars behind these goals if we are to succeed.
We sign this letter in solidarity with and for our transgender sisters of color. Our goal is to show that they are not alone in this fight. We will mourn for the lives lost, but fight like hell for the living.
Bronx Trans Collective (BTC)
Community Kinship Life (CK Life)
New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG)
The NYC Equality Coalition
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Ali Forney Center
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Make the Road NY (MRNY)
NYC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
Public Advocate Letitia James
NYS Senator Squadron
NYS Senator Brad Hoylman
Assembly Member Richard Gottfried
Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick
Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Ritchie Torres
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer
Council Member Daniel Dromm
Council Member James Vacca
Council Member Carlos Menchaca
Council Member Rosie Mendez
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA)
Human Rights Campaign, GNY
Transgender Liberation Project
Equality New York
The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL)
Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC (SDNYC)
Black Lesbian Conference 2018
Black Trans Advocacy – NY
Circle of Voices, Inc
Depressed Black Gay Men
Global Network of Black Pride
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent
NYC Black Pride
NYC Pride & Power
LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent
Rivers of Living Water Ministries
Under Our Umbrella
Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats
Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens
GLSEN New York City
The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP)